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Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero Audio CD – Audiobook, 6 Dec 2011


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 12 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (6 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442350458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442350458
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 14.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,825,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

If history at its best is about telling storiesthat bring the past to life, then Chris Matthews is a master storyteller, forthis fascinating portrait brings Jack Kennedy more vividly to life than anyrecent work. Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of "Team of Rivals" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JFK fan on 17 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Chris Matthews, a self confessed JFK fan, in 'Elusive Hero' writes a highly engaging and fresh account of the life of John F. Kennedy. It is a highly personal book, in which Matthews searches for the real JFK.

I've read most recent books on JFK, and so it was hard to see what new could emerge in this volume. Indeed, after the great historians, such as Dallek, had dissected his life and record with such forensic accuracy, you could ask why bother producing yet another book on JFK, which seems to be an industry in itself.

But 'elusive Hero' really does deserve its place on the Kennedy bookshelf. It is high engaging, draws on first-hand rsearch and takes a fresh look Matthew's hero.

What Matthews does so well is share his passion for JFK, and build a strong case for why Kennedy's short-lived administration became a defining moment in history.

The book's only slight failing was in not spending longer discussing the thousand days administration - the reader was left wanting more.

I was though glad that Matthews didn't dwell on the events of 22nd November 1963, a subject quite literally done to death and so often a distraction in the examination of the JFK's life and record.

The other danger Matthews avoids could have been in repeating too much of the work from his previous book `Kennedy and Nixon', one of the most fascinating books available on either subject.

Some great stories emerge in the book. One I hadn't picked up previously is the election night during his first Senate campaign where Henry Cabot Lodge had his HQ opposite Kennedy's, and could be seen becoming increasingly dejected as the results came in. Also new to me was the final motorcade in New York at the very end of the 1960 campaign, where the candidate had reached the end of his tolerance and tired and hungry even shut Lyndon Johnson out of his hotel room.

A fantastic and enjoyable read.

Follow me twitter at @AmPresHist
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chris Matthews is a huge Jack Kennedy supporter - that's obvious from the title. And there's little doubt that Kennedy was a great president. Matthews highlights Kennedy's successes and how he learnt from his weaknesses. He draws extensively from close Kennedy aides, particularly Kenneth O'Donnell, which allows you to feel part of Kennedy's inner circle.

Look no further for a candid, personal account of the life of John F. Kennedy, pre-presidency. However, 1961-1963 are surprisingly vague, considering they were the busiest and most important years of Kennedy's life.

Matthews, however, overlooks certain, less heroic aspects of the man's personality. Matthews pays very little attention to Kennedy's notorious womanizing (Marilyn Monroe is missing entirely).

Matthews writes at the beginning this book is an account of how the events in Kennedy's life shaped him to become the leader that prevented nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yet when we reach the segment on the crisis there is no real evaluation or analysis assessing how any of the events made "Kennedy the president". The end chapter called "Legacy" doesn't assess Kennedy's legacy, instead it gives a few, short quotes from Jackie Kennedy's interview to Theodore White a week after Dallas, and some more from Kennedy's best friends. Kennedy has left a huge political legacy - the civil rights laws, relations with the Soviet Union, a whole manner of things to be judged.

The book's presentation is also irritating. Some quotes aren't sourced, and the photographs are low quality because they are printed on plain paper, sometimes cropped, and badly positioned on the page. At least the text is a good size.

Overall, good but far from the best.
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By Tracy Aitken on 8 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After the assassination of his brother President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy wrote that there wasn't a day when JFK wasn't in pain or sick. JFK's brothers and sisters used to joke that if a mosquito bit Jack Kennedy then the mosquito would die.
They weren't kidding.
From birth JFK had been seriously sickly, had undergone frequent and lengthy hospitalisations, humiliating treatments that never worked and was neglected by his family. Neither parent would ever vist him in hospital. A football injury to his back deteriorated through further injury until he was facing life in a wheelchair. Two corrective surgeries left him facing death. He survived but his back was a constant agony. Prescribed a permanent back brace only those VERY close to him knew how serious the pain he endured was. He complained to no one else. The man's stoicism through illness and pain are truly amazing and arouse feelings of admiration.
Mr Matthews books tries to examine the influences and inciden's in JFK's life that led him to make the choices he did in public and private. An entire lifetime of illness, an experience of constant raging pain, the birth oh his children, the death of other siblings - all of these appear (as they should) and are treated sensitively and with a genuine attempt to examine and relate them to his subject.
Well worth a read.
Just a sot of information - the photograph on the front was actually JFK's favourite. In his book about the Kennedy Administration, Hugh Sidey (journalist) writing after the assassination noted this fact. He wrote that the President liked the photo, the idea of " Being a part of infinity"
Well, wrote Sidey with some emotion
"Now he was there".
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