It's been 50 years since JFK’s assassination and nearly 20 since Ronald Reagan disappeared from public life. While they never ran head-to-head, they developed their legacies in competing ways and those legacies battle each other even today. The story of one illuminates the other, and explains our expectations for the presidency and whom we elect. Even though one is the model Democrat and the other the model Republican, their appeal is now bipartisan. Republicans quote Kennedy to justify tax cuts or aggressive national defense; Democrats use Reagan’s pragmatism to shame Republicans into supporting tax increases and compromise. Partly a "comparative biography" that explores John F. Kennedy’s and Ronald Reagan’s contemporaneous lives from birth until 1960, Scott Farris's follow-up to his widely praised Almost President shows how the experiences, attitudes, and skills developed by each man later impacted his presidency. Farris also tackles the key issues - civil rights, foreign affairs, etc. - that impacted each man’s time in office. How did previous life experiences form their views on these issues, and how do their dealings around each issue compare and contrast? Bookended by an examination of their standing in public opinion and how that has influenced subsequent politicians, plus an exploration of how the assassination of Kennedy and attempted assassination of Reagan colored our memories, this book also shows how aides, friends and families of each man have burnished their reputations long after their presidencies ended.
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The author could have actually analyzed the two men and their impact on politics. Instead the book was just more distorted facts about Reagan, making him an america hero who rose from nothing and Kennedy a spoiled rich kid. Both views may be accurate at one level but it is not the complete truth. I expected a deeper look.
I am not a fan of Reagan or Kennedy. I did not want to read myths about "Camelot" or how Reagan signal handedly ended the cold war.
The book compares Kennedy's and Reagan's war records. Kennedy served in WWII, Reagan never served, he was making training films while Kennedy actually served. However, the author makes Reagan out to be more patriotic because he had a idealized vision of the military. Reagan never criticized it where as Kennedy was critical of it because he lived it.
Whether you are REP or DEM, analysis trumps fantasy and blindly following dogma is not patriotic.
At the risk sounding pedantic: "It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority,” Ben Franklin
I didn't want to just read about the myths of these two men. I wanted more. Thats why I read to learn about history and politics and I don't just watch TV.
The narrator was great.
- Jason "I have been listing to audio books for 10 years. I have difficulty reading ( dyslexic) and audiobooks have helped a lot. Non-fic, Lit, Hist."