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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb, but slightly robotic, account of President Kennedy's life, 8 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: John F Kennedy: An Unfinished Life (Paperback)
Robert Dallek, a distinguished historian and biographer, has written what many consider the definitive biography of President John F. Kennedy. Although it may not be the greatest account of JFK's life, it is certainly close.

Dallek's epic chronicles the life of JFK from birth to death, before remaining true to the title and delving slightly into what a 2nd term Kennedy presidency might have achieved and how Kennedy would have been perceived by historians today - forever in the mists of Camelot, the great social reformer or a disastrous president scared by failed legislation and sex scandals?

The information Dallek provides is solid, concise and extremely interesting. However, Dallek references so many sources and abbreviates too many quotes from Kennedy and his associates that it distorts the reading and at times appears blotchy. At times it felt more like a fact-file than a smooth-running biography.

But all-in-all a fantastic account of one of the greatest American presidents. One that encourages debate, conversation and a further hunger for knowledge of the era.
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Initial post: 26 Nov 2012 11:15:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Nov 2012 11:20:56 GMT
Good - concise - review. I Have just finished Caro's "Passage of Power" the latest part of his massive biography on LBJ. I'd - given your interest - recommend it.

As for "delving slightly into what a 2nd term Kennedy presidency" that for me is the fascinating aspect largely ignored by almost everyone.

JFK's pristine image is locked forever on the man who died, not where he might of taken America. Would he have a) won a second term in 1964 and b) if so - and it is far from certain - where would it have taken us? JFK was an enormous risk taker and a cold war hawk, I find him a far more uncomfortable politician than most seem to.

Extrapolate, make your own mind up (it also works for Caesar and Bonaparte) but if a fraction of the speculation on the assassination was devoted to " what might have been," we would have i) a clearer understanding of American politics and ii) some genuine insight on who killed him.
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