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Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History Hardcover – 1 May 2008
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- Publisher : Harper; First Edition First Printing (1 May 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 576 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060798718
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060798710
- Dimensions : 4.45 x 15.88 x 23.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 764,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
“Ted Sorensen’s Counselor is that rare gift to history: an account of mighty events by a participant who stood at their heart, and a writer masterful enough to make us understand them as well.” (Robert Caro)
“Ted Sorensen’s words inspired a generation, and his counsel and judgment helped steer our nation through some of its most difficult hours. This gripping, candid memoir illuminates a revered era in American history. Sorensen has written a book that will be cherished for generations.” (Barack Obama)
“Ted Sorensen has given us a very welcome up close and personal view of life and politics at the side of John F. Kennedy. There are fresh insights and enduring lessons for this and future generations to study and embrace. And painful memories of what we lost.” (Tom Brokaw)
“With eloquence and honesty, Sorensen takes us on a tour of many of the most important moments of the second half of the American Century, from who wrote ‘Profiles in Courage’ to the Cuban Missile Crisis to Dallas and its terrible aftermath. This is an illuminating and engaging book.” (Jon Meacham)
About the Author
Ted Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and after law school moved to Washington, D.C., where he would ultimately work for John F. Kennedy. He left the White House soon after JFK's death, and in 1966 joined a New York City law firm, where, as a prominent international lawyer, he advised governments, multinational organizations, and major corporations around the world. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. Sorensen remained active in political and international issues until his death in 2010.
Top reviews from United Kingdom
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As JFK's main policy adviser and the man who wrote many of JFK's most famous and memorable speeches, Sorensen had a hugely important role in the brief JFK administration, and it's fascinating to read about such momentous events from his perspective. He comes across as incredibly humble, even after so long not willing to take any credit away from his beloved President. His hero-worship of JFK shines from every page, but this is no hagiography - Sorensen doesn't excuse or erase JFK's flaws, and where he feels with hindsight JFK was wrong, he says so quite clearly.
My one criticism is that this book could have done with being edited a little better. It's quite disjointed - Sorensen opted for a thematic rather than chronological approach, which does mean that you end reading about events, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, broken up over several different sections, rather than as a linear narrative. But it's a fascinating read and well-worth the effort.
Imagine what it would have been like to talk to JFK every day and to see him most days. Imagine, even more, if you were walking on history's stage in your role: You weren't just pouring him coffee.
You could re-title this book as "Dream Job" and you wouldn't be far off.
In Counselor, Mr. Sorensen reveals more than in the past about his personal relationship with President Kennedy, who did what and when, his views about Kennedy's decisions and legacy, and what the lessons for historians are from that era. In letting down his hair, Mr. Sorensen is a loyal heir to the Kennedy legend: He doesn't criticize more than an independent observer would who knew the surface facts. Naturally, he also defends where many would not (he's gentle on Kennedy for increasing the number of military advisors in South Vietnam and letting the military leaders there murder the country's political leader). Further, he seems to have amnesia about what any president did before Kennedy who was not a Democrat (he writes as though there was no space program before Kennedy took office).
One of the most interesting episodes in the book comes long after President Kennedy was killed in the description of Mr. Sorensen's nomination to be CIA head by President Carter. The contrast between Kennedy and Carter could not be clearer in reading how this was handled.
I think we should be generous with Mr. Sorensen. It's been many years. He's almost the last of those who served in those years who knows the inside stories. He also suffered a substantial stroke that affected his vision and made writing this book extremely difficult. I commend Mr. Sorensen for making the effort. There are many lessons here that new administrations can learn from.
I also honor him for his service to the nation, to John F. Kennedy, and to my youthful idealistic dreams by inspiring them with his timeless words. Many will always remember him as a speech writer, but he was truly more . . . especially during those potentially deadly days during the Cuban missile crisis.
Thank you, Mr. Sorensen.
The author chronicles his professional, public and private life from his earliest years in Washington up until recent times.
The book is very well written as one would expect. The author was (and still is) - first and foremost - a fine wordsmith, after all.
The reader should not be surprised to find that Sorensen's loyalty to and admiration for John Kennedy permeates most of the author's writing. JFK's influence can still be felt here long after his murder in '63.
About half of the book is devoted to the JFK period - from his early days as a senator, through his election, the Bay Of Pigs, the missile crisis, Viet Nam, Diem, Dallas and much more.
The author's proximity to and involvement in some of the most pivotal moments in 20th century history makes for a very satisfying read.