'A powerful, provocative, and above all compelling book' Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of The Soul of America
The 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.
By the time of his assassination in 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at the helm of the greatest power the world had ever seen. 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 modern 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, Harvard professor Fredrik Logevall has spent much of the last decade combing through material unseen or unused by previous biographers, searching for and piecing together the 'real' John F. Kennedy. The result of this prodigious effort is a sweeping two-volume biography that for the first time properly contextualizes Kennedy's role in the international events of the twentieth 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 and heroic experiences during World War II, his ideas, his bestselling writings, his political aspirations, and the role of his father, wartime ambassador to Britain. In examining these pre-White House years, Logevall shows us a more serious, independently minded Kennedy than we've previously known.
In chronicling Kennedy's extraordinary life and times, with authority and novelistic sensibility, putting the reader in every room where it happened, this landmark work offers the clearest portrait we have of a remarkable figure who still inspires individuals around the world.
'A brisk, authoritative, and candid biography, and a wonderfully compelling history of America's heady and troubled mid-century rise' Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States
'[Fredrik Logevall] makes JFK as alive and compelling as if you were reading about him for the first time' George Packer, author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
'In his utterly absorbing JFK, Fred Logevall reconstructs not only a great man, but also his entire age' Brendan Simms, author of Hitler: A Global Biography
In this magisterial biography, Fredrik Logevall has deftly peeled away the many layers of myth surrounding John F. Kennedy to reveal a complex and surprisingly vulnerable human being. This first installment of his Kennedy biography is also the story of the rise of the United States to world power in a turbulent age. It's an essential read for anyone interested in the life and the times
Our best Vietnam War historian now turns to another subject you thought you already knew, and he makes JFK as alive and compelling as if you were reading about him for the first time.Fredrik Logevall portrays the young Kennedy with the masterful intimacy and sympathy that only a great scholar and writer could achieve
Fredrik Logevall's brilliant biography rescues JFK from the myths that have long surrounded his early life without in any way obscuring the complexities of his character. There could be no more poignant reminder of what we were-far too soon-to lose
An utterly incandescent study of one of the most consequential figures of the twentieth century. With JFK, Fredrik Logevall has re-invented the genre of presidential biography, casting new light on the man and, far more profoundly, on the times. A brisk, authoritative, and candid biography, and a wonderfully compelling history of America's heady and troubled mid-century rise
Superb . . . a product of formidable international research
A monumental history . . . widely researched and eloquently written
Fascinating, beautifully written
John F. Kennedy was a man before he was a monument, and among the great achievements of this wonderful book is how brilliantly Fredrik Logevall conveys both JFK's humanity and the history of the age.With precision and with grace, Logevall has given us a memorable portrait of a man and of the world that, before he shaped it, shaped him. A powerful, provocative, and above all compelling book
In his utterly absorbing JFK, Fred Logevall reconstructs not only a great man, but also his entire age. The author's sense of place and context merits comparison with Robert Caro