by Logevall, Fredrik, 1963-

Format: Print Book 2020
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NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE * A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in this revelatory biography of the iconic, yet still elusive, thirty-fifth president.

"An utterly incandescent study of one of the most consequential figures of the twentieth century."--Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Sunday Times * New Statesman * The Daily Telegraph * Kirkus Reviews

By the time of his assassination in 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at the helm of the greatest power the world had ever seen, a booming American nation that he had steered through some of the most perilous diplomatic standoffs of the Cold War. Born in 1917 to a striving Irish American family that had become among Boston's wealthiest, Kennedy knew political ambition from an early age, and his meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president cemented his status as one of the most mythologized figures in American history. And while hagiographic portrayals of his dazzling charisma, reports of his extramarital affairs, and disagreements over his political legacy have come and gone in the decades since his untimely death, these accounts all fail to capture the full person.

Beckoned by this gap in our historical knowledge, Fredrik Logevall has spent much of the last decade searching for the "real" JFK. The result of this prodigious effort is a sweeping two-volume biography that properly contextualizes Kennedy amidst the roiling American Century. This volume spans the first thirty-nine years of JFK's life--from birth through his decision to run for president--to reveal his early relationships, his formative experiences during World War II, his ideas, his writings, his political aspirations. In examining these pre-White House years, Logevall shows us a more serious, independently minded Kennedy than we've previously known, whose distinct international sensibility would prepare him to enter national politics at a critical moment in modern U.S. history.

Along the way, Logevall tells the parallel story of America's midcentury rise. As Kennedy comes of age, we see the charged debate between isolationists and interventionists in the years before Pearl Harbor; the tumult of the Second World War, through which the United States emerged as a global colossus; the outbreak and spread of the Cold War; the domestic politics of anti-Communism and the attendant scourge of McCarthyism; the growth of television's influence on politics; and more.

JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 is a sweeping history of the United States in the middle decades of the twentieth century, as well as the clearest portrait we have of this enigmatic American icon.
[vol. 1] Coming of age in the American century, 1917-1956
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Pulitzer Prize--winning author (for Embers of War, 2012), professor, and historian Logevall presents the first in a comprehensive, two-book biography of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in which he portrays his subject as an embodiment of two of the twentieth century's defining events. Born during the First World War, John Kennedy came of age during the Second, the son of a wealthy and politically ambitious father whose zeal to succeed was as much for himself as for his sons. By concentrating on JFK's place within the larger Kennedy clan--his relationships with his parents, siblings, and friends--as well as on his uneven academic career, his myriad and mysterious ailments, his service in WWII, and his early political successes, Logevall takes advantage of recently released archival material, including personal correspondence, to follow the trajectory of a political career that was launched almost in childhood. Episode by episode, tragedy by tragedy, challenge after challenge, young Kennedy's worldview evolves with stunning maturation. With impressive vision and flawless execution, Logevall bores down to a molecular level to put JFK's life and achievements within the context of the history of the times, while simultaneously exposing the truths obscured by the most popular JFK misconceptions. Expansive in scope yet detailed in implementation, this is a boon to serious Kennedy enthusiasts and readers attuned to twentieth-century American history."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The young John F. Kennedy was no callow playboy but a serious and self-directed man, according to this sweeping first installment in a planned two-volume biography by Harvard history professor Logevall (Embers of War). Covering Kennedy's life up to his Thanksgiving 1956 decision to run for president, Logevall writes that though Kennedy may have resented his parents' favoritism for his older brother, Joseph Kennedy Jr., he also "treasured the space and relative anonymity his status as the second son provided." Logevall's JFK is still a charming, detached ironist and womanizer, as in other accounts, but he was also possessed of a determined character and a sophisticated intellect, capable in his early 20s of making penetrating analyses of fascism and the strength of the German-Italian alliance while traveling through Europe before WWII. The author also emphasizes Kennedy's independent-mindedness as he outgrew his father's isolationist politics and frequently rejected his advice (though not his money) during later political campaigns. Logevall writes vividly of the hothouse Kennedy family culture, but also widens his lens to take in the forces of war, politics, and television that shaped JFK's worldview and career. This richly detailed portrait sometimes feels romanticized in its evocations of Kennedy's charisma, but Logevall helpfully reminds readers of the considerable substance beneath the glamour. Political history buffs will be enthralled. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins and Assoc. (Sept.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Kennedy, John F. -- (John Fitzgerald), -- 1917-1963.
Kennedy, John F. -- (John Fitzgerald), -- 1917-1963 -- Family.
United States. -- Congress. -- Senate -- Biography.
Legislators -- Massachusetts -- Biography.
Presidents -- United States -- Biography.
New England -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.
Massachusetts -- Biography.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First edition.
Other Titles JFK, coming of age in the American century, 1917-1956.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Language English
Description volumes : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9780812997132
Other Classic View