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JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in the first truly definitive biography of the elusive 35th 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, a booming American nation he had steered through some of the most perilous diplo A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in the first truly definitive biography of the elusive 35th 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, a booming American nation he had steered through some of the most perilous diplomatic standoffs of the Cold War era. Born in 1917 to a striving Irish American family that had ascended the ranks of Boston's labyrinthine political machine, Kennedy was bred for government, and his meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president ever cemented his status as one of the most mythologized political figures in American history. And yet, in the decades since his untimely death, hagiographic portrayals of his dazzling charisma, reports of his extramarital affairs, and disagreements over his political legacy have made our 35th president more mysterious than ever--a problem further exacerbated by the fact that no genuinely comprehensive account of his life has yet been attempted. Beckoned by this gap in our historical knowledge, Fredrik Logevall has spent seven years searching for the "real" JFK. The result of this prodigious effort is a sweeping two-volume biography that, for the first time, properly contextualizes Kennedy amidst the roiling American Century. Beginning with the three generations of Kennedy men and women who transformed the clan from working-class Irish immigrants to members of Boston's political elite, Volume One spans the first thirty-nine years of JFK's life, from sickly second son to restless Harvard undergraduate and World War II hero, through his ascendance on Capitol Hill and, finally, his decision to run for president. In chronicling Kennedy's extraordinary life and times, Logevall offers the clearest portrait we have of an iconic, yet still elusive, American president.


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A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in the first truly definitive biography of the elusive 35th 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, a booming American nation he had steered through some of the most perilous diplo A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in the first truly definitive biography of the elusive 35th 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, a booming American nation he had steered through some of the most perilous diplomatic standoffs of the Cold War era. Born in 1917 to a striving Irish American family that had ascended the ranks of Boston's labyrinthine political machine, Kennedy was bred for government, and his meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president ever cemented his status as one of the most mythologized political figures in American history. And yet, in the decades since his untimely death, hagiographic portrayals of his dazzling charisma, reports of his extramarital affairs, and disagreements over his political legacy have made our 35th president more mysterious than ever--a problem further exacerbated by the fact that no genuinely comprehensive account of his life has yet been attempted. Beckoned by this gap in our historical knowledge, Fredrik Logevall has spent seven years searching for the "real" JFK. The result of this prodigious effort is a sweeping two-volume biography that, for the first time, properly contextualizes Kennedy amidst the roiling American Century. Beginning with the three generations of Kennedy men and women who transformed the clan from working-class Irish immigrants to members of Boston's political elite, Volume One spans the first thirty-nine years of JFK's life, from sickly second son to restless Harvard undergraduate and World War II hero, through his ascendance on Capitol Hill and, finally, his decision to run for president. In chronicling Kennedy's extraordinary life and times, Logevall offers the clearest portrait we have of an iconic, yet still elusive, American president.

30 review for JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    It's probably more like 4.5 because JFK is one of the few areas in which my scattered reading tends to converge so often that I'm developing something between familiarity and expertise. This means I've heard a good bit of what the author says before, but that's not his fault. Still, JFK jumps off the page. The author seems careful not to render him simply as a means to what he will become. The reader really gets to know the boy, the adolescent, the young man as he is without overly obtrusive link It's probably more like 4.5 because JFK is one of the few areas in which my scattered reading tends to converge so often that I'm developing something between familiarity and expertise. This means I've heard a good bit of what the author says before, but that's not his fault. Still, JFK jumps off the page. The author seems careful not to render him simply as a means to what he will become. The reader really gets to know the boy, the adolescent, the young man as he is without overly obtrusive links to what's coming. As promised, we get to know him as he connects to the cultural influences around him. I could have experienced some more of this, but the author lived up to the title. Decidedly worth reading.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

    This is the first book of a two book biography of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The first book covers the background of his parents, especially the controlling Joe Kennedy. and shows how “Jack” alongside his brother Joe Jr., was groomed for politics from the time he was a child., Kennedy’s childhood, education, and romance with Jackie, as well as his military service and the death of his older brother, are covered in-depth. The book ends just as he is deciding whether to run for President. This excel This is the first book of a two book biography of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The first book covers the background of his parents, especially the controlling Joe Kennedy. and shows how “Jack” alongside his brother Joe Jr., was groomed for politics from the time he was a child., Kennedy’s childhood, education, and romance with Jackie, as well as his military service and the death of his older brother, are covered in-depth. The book ends just as he is deciding whether to run for President. This excellent work really sheds light on the whole man by looking at his early life and not just his presidency. It looks at the stressors in his life as well as the accomplishments. And it introduces Kennedy in a personal way to those of us who were born after his lifetime. Those interested in US history and presidential biographies will enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Literary Soirée

    I’ve read many books on the charismatic but enigmatic Jack Kennedy. Yet none reveal him as “fully fleshed” as he appears in Fredrick Logevall’s brilliant new bio. This first of two volumes spans Kennedy’s life from birth ‘til his decision to run for President. The Pulitzer Prize winning Logevall also weaves in Midcentury history with skill and insight. Well-written, finely researched and totally engaging, JFK is highly recommended for Kennedy buffs, political junkies and lovers of the 20th Centur I’ve read many books on the charismatic but enigmatic Jack Kennedy. Yet none reveal him as “fully fleshed” as he appears in Fredrick Logevall’s brilliant new bio. This first of two volumes spans Kennedy’s life from birth ‘til his decision to run for President. The Pulitzer Prize winning Logevall also weaves in Midcentury history with skill and insight. Well-written, finely researched and totally engaging, JFK is highly recommended for Kennedy buffs, political junkies and lovers of the 20th Century. 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 08 Sep 2020 Thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Random House and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #JFK #NetGalley

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    My first biography of John F. Kennedy was a comic book. One image that has always remained in my memory is of the Kennedy family at the dinner table, father Joe quizzing his children on current events. My family never talked about current events or politics at the dinner table. When my school friend Christine asked if my family was going to vote for Kennedy I was clueless. I had never heard of him. Then she asked if we were Democrats, but I had never heard of them either. Finally, in exasperation My first biography of John F. Kennedy was a comic book. One image that has always remained in my memory is of the Kennedy family at the dinner table, father Joe quizzing his children on current events. My family never talked about current events or politics at the dinner table. When my school friend Christine asked if my family was going to vote for Kennedy I was clueless. I had never heard of him. Then she asked if we were Democrats, but I had never heard of them either. Finally, in exasperation, she asked if we were Catholic or Protestant, because if we were Catholic we were voting for Kennedy, and if we were Protestant we were going to hell. In great duress, I ran home to ask mom these vital questions. In one moment I learned of our politics, our religion, and eternal damnation. I was in sixth grade when my teacher took told us the president had been shot and sent us directly home. All those long blocks I fretted, feeling vulnerable, wondering if the Soviets could take over since we had no president to protect us. I remember gathering in my grandparents' living room, watching the black horse and carriage as it passed Carolyn and John and black-veiled Jackie. Every home had Kennedy souvenirs, a book, a photograph. Over the years his image was tarnished. We doubted his authoring of his Pulitzer Prize winning book Profiles in Courage (which I unsuccessfully tried to read as an early teen). There was his multitude of affairs before and after marriage. We heard that his daddy bought his political offices. We doubted his leadership, blamed him for Vietnam. Who was the real John F. Kennedy? I opened volume one of Fredrik Logevall's biography JFK hoping to understand this man, this icon, this American president. It is a marvelous study of the man in context of his times and his family, from his childhood to his decision to seek the presidency. Plagued with health problems, careless about his person, a man of great intelligence and inquisitiveness and charm, a womanizer, a workaholic, a man of unquestionable courage, a family man who did not hesitate to veer from his father's beliefs, the real Jack Kennedy was complicated and everything you thought he was and somehow more than what you thought he was. Believe the hype about this book. I enjoyed it as a biography and as an exploration of the times and the political process. I look forward to reading the next part. I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    While the subject of JFK is John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the life of his father, Joe Kennedy, is also covered in detail. Both accomplishments and fallacies are covered. Ain depth genealogy of the Kennedy opens the work. There is also an extensive bibliography for this volume 1 of a projected two volume set. This is a free advance review copy through Goodreads.com.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    JFK by Frederick Logevall is the first part of a two-part volume set chronicling the life and times of John F. Kennedy from his birth to just before his quest for presidency. Being a huge history fan, as well as a huge fan of the Kennedy family, I have read a great many books (fiction and nonfiction) on this fascinating group of individuals, so of course I was excited to tackle this gem. I enjoyed being reintroduced to a few facts and exploits that I had somehow forgotten in past readings, but w JFK by Frederick Logevall is the first part of a two-part volume set chronicling the life and times of John F. Kennedy from his birth to just before his quest for presidency. Being a huge history fan, as well as a huge fan of the Kennedy family, I have read a great many books (fiction and nonfiction) on this fascinating group of individuals, so of course I was excited to tackle this gem. I enjoyed being reintroduced to a few facts and exploits that I had somehow forgotten in past readings, but what makes this book special is the inclusion of the world and current events that occurred during each of these milestones that frame and influence the thoughts, ideals, and actions of JFK. Being able to see these really place a lot of things that we already know in a new light. It was a great, and unique, perspective that really makes this book special. Obviously, I am impressed with this book and the author’s immense research that makes it the great read that it is. I truly look forward to the second book. 5/5 stars Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    This is the first of a two part biography. There is not much new here if you are an avid student of the Kennedys. This book covers the history of the family prior to JKF's birth and afterwards along with being a biography of the primary subject. Large sections of the book focus on current events taking place during the time periods covered in this biography. I found these to be a little tedious at times as I am a history buff, but those not exposed to a great deal about the Kennedy family and JF This is the first of a two part biography. There is not much new here if you are an avid student of the Kennedys. This book covers the history of the family prior to JKF's birth and afterwards along with being a biography of the primary subject. Large sections of the book focus on current events taking place during the time periods covered in this biography. I found these to be a little tedious at times as I am a history buff, but those not exposed to a great deal about the Kennedy family and JFK in particular will find this book to be pretty interesting. I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my nonfiction book review blog. 

  8. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Lanigan

    Yes, there have been many biographies on JFK and yes, I have read them all but this deep dive by Pulitzer Prize winner Logevall added some new insight into the picture of our 35th president. He tells the story of American history and how it directly corresponds to JFK’s life and his rise to power. . We are in the middle of an election cycle and I just got done the last few weeks watching the Democratic and Republican Conventions. Logevall went in depth about JFK’s first visit to the convention and Yes, there have been many biographies on JFK and yes, I have read them all but this deep dive by Pulitzer Prize winner Logevall added some new insight into the picture of our 35th president. He tells the story of American history and how it directly corresponds to JFK’s life and his rise to power. . We are in the middle of an election cycle and I just got done the last few weeks watching the Democratic and Republican Conventions. Logevall went in depth about JFK’s first visit to the convention and it’s what originally made him a political rising ✰. The convention information fascinated me, especially with it being so timely. . I always find information about the Kennedy Family fascinating. The political dynasty that our country has known is more then that. They are a close knit family that was competitive in the political field and in sports with each other but had each other’s backs always. What always impressed me is the Matriarch Rose. How does a mother have so many kids, keep them all engaged and raise them to do so many important things? Rose kept an index card system with pertinent information for each child (which I got that idea from her and I think is brilliant) she would leave our current events articles that she thought was important for the kids to read and set up reading areas through the house to encourage reading. Family time was above all important to the Kennedys and I think as the years have gone by that hasn’t changed. . This book also included beautiful pictures and some written letters. One I found so interesting was a letter he wrote home from Choate asking if he could be the new baby Teddy’s Godfather. Swipe to see. . This book is available This Tuesday, September 8. Thank you to #NetGalley and #Randomhouse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. . #quarantine#foffimreading#bookclub#bookblog#bookreviewblog#bookaddict#bookcommunity#goodreads#bookishbounds#sept2020#netgalley#randomhouse#jfk#fredriklogevall

  9. 5 out of 5

    Louisa Xu

    I thought this was going to be a book how how American dynasties are built, instead, I came away learning more about how broken these prominent families are. This book weaves a rich tapestry from the quirks and shortcomings of the Kennedy clan: - PJ Kennedy and John Fitzgerald were first generation businessmen / budding local politicians, reinforcing the notion that money comes before power (mostly). - Joe Sr. was a cunning businessman with average intellect, little knowledge of history, and ten I thought this was going to be a book how how American dynasties are built, instead, I came away learning more about how broken these prominent families are. This book weaves a rich tapestry from the quirks and shortcomings of the Kennedy clan: - PJ Kennedy and John Fitzgerald were first generation businessmen / budding local politicians, reinforcing the notion that money comes before power (mostly). - Joe Sr. was a cunning businessman with average intellect, little knowledge of history, and tendency to act mostly out of self-interest/preservation during WWII - Joe Jr. was a lesson on how not to parent - imbued with pressure of becoming a president when he was still in the womb, he unfortunately also possessed average intellect and closely followed his father's political narrow-mindednes - Jack was able to think for himself on political matters, definitely having benefited from being the ambassador's son and sitting in the room with Churchill and other world leaders as a young boy in some of the most pivotal historical moments, leading to him becoming a published author of a successful book in college. His bravery during the war is most commendable out of anything he had done up until this point. He has a lot of strong attributes, but one thing on which he unfortunately did not diverge from his father was his incurable infidelity - Kick, Robert, and the others seemed admirable for the most part, as they made the most of their extreme privilege by doing something with it. The family gatherings, incessant competitive activities, dinner table conversations were ingredients, no doubt, to generations of relentless ambition. Ambition can be a dangerous thing though, when not properly applied.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Absolutely fantastic. This is a look at JFK that gives us a sense of who he truly was, good and bad. The book is exhaustively researched, dedicated to going beyond rumor and folklore. He develops Kennedy as a multifaceted and flawed individual whose life was at times heroic and at others, unscrupulous. He presents the complex individual that JFK was with accuracy and depth. I sensed reading this that the author was more so on a personal journey, entirely dedicated to creating a mosaic of Kennedy Absolutely fantastic. This is a look at JFK that gives us a sense of who he truly was, good and bad. The book is exhaustively researched, dedicated to going beyond rumor and folklore. He develops Kennedy as a multifaceted and flawed individual whose life was at times heroic and at others, unscrupulous. He presents the complex individual that JFK was with accuracy and depth. I sensed reading this that the author was more so on a personal journey, entirely dedicated to creating a mosaic of Kennedy that revealed his dichotomous life: that of his public and personal lives. JFK was dedicated to a more hopeful and just country yet continuously betrayed those closest to him. The author manages to reveal these aspects of Kennedy without bias or conjecture. This is a meticulously researched book dedicated to truth while maintaining a sense of honor and respect. Can't wait for the next one to come out!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kavan

    Jack Kennedy is such an elusive figure. I read my very first junior biography of him in middle school. And here it is thirty odd years later and I’m still reading JFK biographies. I doubt I’ve ever passed a year of my adult life when I didn’t read at least one Kennedy biography. The more I learn about JFK the more questions I have. He is an enigmatic riddle. Now with his JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, Fredrik Logevall becomes the latest biographer to explore the 35th U.S. Jack Kennedy is such an elusive figure. I read my very first junior biography of him in middle school. And here it is thirty odd years later and I’m still reading JFK biographies. I doubt I’ve ever passed a year of my adult life when I didn’t read at least one Kennedy biography. The more I learn about JFK the more questions I have. He is an enigmatic riddle. Now with his JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, Fredrik Logevall becomes the latest biographer to explore the 35th U.S. president. Logevall approaches the Kennedy story from a slightly different angle-setting JFK within the confines of the time he lived on. I’ve long felt anyone who wants to study the 20th century would do well to ground themselves in the Kennedys. Want to learn about the New Deal-Joe Kennedy promoted and later worked for Roosevelt, want to understand appeasement and pre-WWII England Joe Kennedy was the ambassador at the court of Saint James which brought JFK and his siblings to the continent during that time. JFK was wounded in WWII and lost his eldest brother in the war. Post-war JFK was among the first to recognize the value of television and used it to usher in the modern political campaign. Thus, Logevall’s approach is to create a biography of JFK while also charting the larger currents of early to mid-20th century through the world Kennedy inhabited. In terms of biography Logevall has done a stellar job. He’s avoided the evil Joe and Rose trap that has subsumed some Kennedy books (Reckless Youth being a textbook example) to examine how Kennedy was influenced by his parents in both positive and negative fashions. Logevall is the first Kennedy author in my readings to argue Jack’s personality was far more akin to Rose than his father save the issue of chronic infidelity. He also explores JFK’s illness as well as how that influence strengthened and sobered him toward a real engagement in his legislative work. Further, he avoids the minefield of telegraphing Kennedy’s future. For much of the work Kennedy is as he must have been a work in progress, navigating the process of growing up amid war and illness. The book closes with his decision to pursue the presidency. The concluding volume will cover Kennedy’s race for and White House years. When the book stays close to JFK it soars. However, at times Logevall seems to strain to link JFK to larger events. And even at 757 pages the book seems straining sketching in significant figures and events in brief summarization. Significant figures like Adlai Ewing Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey get very slight introductions. For anyone who has not extensively studied the era the political sections seem wanting. Also while Kennedy was clearly more interested in foreign issues, the lack of exploration of his work in housing is a bit disappointing. Still while these deficits exist I still enjoyed reading the work and I am anxiously awaiting the concluding volume.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 Author: Fredrik Logevall Publisher: Random House Publication Date: September 8, 2020 Review Date: August 24, 2020 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb: “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. By the time of his assassination Book Review: JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 Author: Fredrik Logevall Publisher: Random House Publication Date: September 8, 2020 Review Date: August 24, 2020 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb: “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. 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. This was an utterly fascinating look at the life in minute detail of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I was alive during his presidency, and felt the uplift of the county beginning with his inauguration. This book does not get that far. That will be detailed in Logevall’s Volume 2. This is 1st class history writing. I grew up in a proud Kennedy household. Profiles In Courage had it place on our coffee table. My mother threw herself into Kennedy’s campaign, in the medium size Midwest city I grew up in. So, this was an extraordinary book to read, to find out about the real JFK, and every nuanced detail of his life, and his family’s life, up through 1956. There was a multitude of things about his upbringing and family that I had not known. If you read this book, you must like a history book written by a true, accomplished historian like Logevall. Since I am not a historian, I don’t know where he got all the facts, in retrospect, as he has done in this book. I am in awe at the research and studiousness of the writing. If you are interested in the life of JFK, and in history, this is a must-read. I can’t wait for the second volume to be published. 5 Stars. I very highly recommend this book! Thank you to Random House for allowing me an early look at this fantastic history book. Best continued luck to Logevall, a Pulitzer Prize winner. This review will be posted on NetGalley,Goodreads and Amazon. #netgalley #jfk #fredriklogevall #randomhouse #americanhistory

  13. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    I have read a lot of books about JFK but Fredrick Logevall’s work provided me numerous insights into the man who became President in 1961 as the first Roman Catholic. This book only covered JFK from birth to his failed attempt to become democratic VP nominee in 1956. I eagerly look forward to the second volume. The thing that makes this book so well done is that it provides great depth into the development of Kennedy as a person with all his great attributes ( soldier, author, politician, brothe I have read a lot of books about JFK but Fredrick Logevall’s work provided me numerous insights into the man who became President in 1961 as the first Roman Catholic. This book only covered JFK from birth to his failed attempt to become democratic VP nominee in 1956. I eagerly look forward to the second volume. The thing that makes this book so well done is that it provides great depth into the development of Kennedy as a person with all his great attributes ( soldier, author, politician, brother) and his faults (playboy, unfaithful husband). It also covers his medical history which could be a book in itself. What is so interesting about JFK is that even though he was born into wealth he was able to relate to people in all walks of life. Another aspect of the book that is so enriching is that the author describes in adequate depth what is happening historically during this period of Kennedy’s life so the reader can understand how the tide of historical events was another key element in the person JFK became.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Scott Wozniak

    This biography focused on the early years of JFK, ending at the point where he had reached national fame and decided to run for President, so its focus is on his development as a man and as a politician. It's very well written, with a great balance of facts and feelings. In short, he was always gifted, but wasn't motivated to fully apply himself to anything (except girl chasing) until he went through a near death experience in World War 2. His family experience was very international (not just t This biography focused on the early years of JFK, ending at the point where he had reached national fame and decided to run for President, so its focus is on his development as a man and as a politician. It's very well written, with a great balance of facts and feelings. In short, he was always gifted, but wasn't motivated to fully apply himself to anything (except girl chasing) until he went through a near death experience in World War 2. His family experience was very international (not just travel, but also living in London as the son of an ambassador for years) and the only fields he was interested in were writing and politics--so he ended up doing both. Also, he was raised in a home that taught men were users of women and cheaters always. So he embraced that fully and his horrible treatment of women, including his wife, serves as a tragic subplot to his national rise. I don't think he would have been able to do politics today because his many affairs would have been too hard to hide. If you're into history and politics, it's a good read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    W. Whalin

    A Different Look at John F. Kennedy’s Life Subtitled, A Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, this biography is well-written and researched. Fredrik Logevall uses letters, journals and other resources to create a fascinating perspective about the growing up years of JFK and his family. At first I was hesitant to listen to this audiobook but from the early pages, I was hooked on the storytelling and unique aspects. It is worthwhile listening and I recommend this audiobook. W. Terry Whal A Different Look at John F. Kennedy’s Life Subtitled, A Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, this biography is well-written and researched. Fredrik Logevall uses letters, journals and other resources to create a fascinating perspective about the growing up years of JFK and his family. At first I was hesitant to listen to this audiobook but from the early pages, I was hooked on the storytelling and unique aspects. It is worthwhile listening and I recommend this audiobook. W. Terry Whalin is an editor and the author of more than 60 books including his latest 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed .

  16. 5 out of 5

    Justin Gatt

    Incredibly well-written and researched biography. Cannot wait for second part.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Runner10

    I learned so much about JFK and his family by reading this book. If you find the Kennedy family fascinating, this is the perfect book for you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lovely Loveday

    JFK by Fredrik Logevall is an absolutely fantastic read. Logevall gives you an inside look at JFK that provides us with a sense of who he truly was, good and bad. A well-researched book dedicated to truth while maintaining a sense of honor and respect.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melody Robinson

    A lot of information I didn’t know.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    JFK Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 by Fredrik Logevall Random House Publishing Group - Random House Random House Biographies & Memoirs | History Pub Date 08 Sep 2020 I am reviewing a copy of JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 through Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley: John F Kennedy was born on May.29.1917 and was assassinated November 22.1963. He was born in the midst of the First World War, and came of age during the Second World War. John F. Kennedy JFK Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 by Fredrik Logevall Random House Publishing Group - Random House Random House Biographies & Memoirs | History Pub Date 08 Sep 2020 I am reviewing a copy of JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 through Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley: John F Kennedy was born on May.29.1917 and was assassinated November 22.1963. He was born in the midst of the First World War, and came of age during the Second World War. 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. Kennedy knew political ambition from a young 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 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. John F Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, is today a national historic site. When the boys were Noble and Greenough Lower School The principal of the school, Miss Myra Fiske, had interviewed the boys in the spring of 1924 and liked what she saw. But soon the Kennedy boys would be taunted and bullied because most of the boys in the school were Protestant while they were Catholics. Being an Irish and Catholic caused a real stigma in those days. The Kennedy brothers did not have a room of their own at the family home, instead when they were home from school on the Holidays they would find a room that was available. At the age of seventeen Jack became sick which the doctors eventually attributed to allergies and likely collitis, he was sent home with the orders to follow a proper diet and to avoid emotional stress. When Joe graduated from Choate in 1933, there father sent him to the London School of Economics to study with Harold Laski, the distinguished socialist theorist and economist, before matriculating at Harvard. The recommendation for this came from the recommendation of Harvard Law School Professor Felix Frankfurter. On September.25.1935 John F Kennedy who was eighteen boarded the French ocean liner Normandie, along with his parents and his sister Kathleen (Kick). They were bound for England. The prior spring Jack had applied to both Harvard and Princeton and was accepted to both. He decided he would rather go to Princeton his Father did not disagree but insisted he too spend a year the London School of Economics, as his brother had, under the tutelage of the left-wing economist Harold Laski. But John F Kennedy once again became sick and was hospitalized for more tests. On January. 18, 1936: Kennedy wrote, “My blood count this morning was 3500. When I came it was 6,000. At 1500 you die. They call me ‘2,000 to go Kennedy.” He would go on to write again on January 27 “They haven’t told me anything, except that I have leukemia, and a rare blood disorder. John F Kennedy’s family connections got him into places and positions that he may not have otherwise gotten into Such was the case in October 1941, when he became an officer in the Navy Reserve and was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C., the same posting Joe Junior had turned down the previous spring. On January 3, 1947, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Eleventh District of Massachusetts. He was almost thirty and looked even younger With his boyish smile and big shock of hair. A few old hands on Capitol Hill mistook him for a college student on hiatus from his studies and working as an aide. Kennedy was not bothered or at least did not show that he was bothered by the lack of attention. In the Spring of 1951, John F Kennedy attended a dinner party in Georgetown where he met twenty Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, who at the time was just shy of being twenty two, and had just graduated college. on January 20, 1953, John F Kennedy attended Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Inaugural Ball with Jacqueline Bouvier on his arms. In June of that same year John and Jacque were engaged. The engagement was announced on June 23, 1953, and the announcement ran in newspapers all throughout the country. 1954 turned out to be John F Kennedy’s nightmare, the first major problem that year had been with him since his birth and had been made worse by injuries suffered in the South Pacific during the war. He had been in acute pain at various times during 1953, even entering George Washington University Hospital for a few days in mid-July for what were officially deemed “malaria” complications. At his wedding, in September, friends worried that he might not be able to kneel at the altar—or get back up if he did. The second problem had to deal with McCarthy. For four years, ever since the Wisconsin demagogue burst onto the scene with his notorious speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, Kennedy’s strategy had been to bob and weave, to keep private his misgivings about McCarthy’s charges and tactics and to say as little as possible publicly. JFK Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, not only talks about his political career, but talks of the health issues that plagued him throughout his life, as well as his indiscretions, but it also shows the human side of a president that set a new standard for what that means, a president who wanted to move our nation forward in a positive manner, which left him idealized by many, but hated by some too. I give JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews

    For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com I’ve read almost every John F. Kennedy biography out there, the serious ones, that is. Not the conspiracy theory ones involving his assassination, but the ones about his life. It’s been a while since an historian has tried to piece together JFK’s life, and with a wealth of documents released in recent years, it was time to take another look at the life of the 35th president. JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 is obvio For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com I’ve read almost every John F. Kennedy biography out there, the serious ones, that is. Not the conspiracy theory ones involving his assassination, but the ones about his life. It’s been a while since an historian has tried to piece together JFK’s life, and with a wealth of documents released in recent years, it was time to take another look at the life of the 35th president. JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 is obviously part one of a two-part series. This volume covers the ancestry of JFK, his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, and right up to that night in 1956 when Kennedy decided he was going for the White House in 1960. From the publisher: “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 he had steered through some of the most perilous diplomatic standoffs of the Cold War era. Born in 1917 to a striving Irish American family that had ascended the ranks of Boston’s labyrinthine political machine, Kennedy was bred for government, and his meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president ever cemented his status as one of the most mythologized political figures in American history. And yet, in the decades since his untimely death, hagiographic portrayals of his dazzling charisma, reports of his extramarital affairs, and disagreements over his political legacy have made our 35th president more mysterious than ever–a problem further exacerbated by the fact that no genuinely comprehensive account of his life has yet been attempted. Beckoned by this gap in our historical knowledge, Fredrik Logevall has spent seven years searching for the “real” JFK. The result of this prodigious effort is a sweeping two-volume biography that, for the first time, properly contextualizes Kennedy amidst the roiling American Century. Beginning with the three generations of Kennedy men and women who transformed the clan from working-class Irish immigrants to members of Boston’s political elite, Volume One spans the first thirty-nine years of JFK’s life, from sickly second son to restless Harvard undergraduate and World War II hero, through his ascendance on Capitol Hill and, finally, his decision to run for president.” Like I said, I’ve read every new John Kennedy biography when it comes out, looking for new information. Logevall provides some new information in the form of correspondence between Jack and various people, friends and family alike. Attention is paid to some of his former girlfriends, including the notorious Inga Arvid, the suspected Nazi spy who was no such thing. But this is a book about John F. Kennedy in the times in which he lived, and how those world events affected him and his actions. JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 has to have one of the most detailed descriptions of the PT-109 accident during World War II, which includes correspondence and reminiscences I hadn’t heard before. So yes, this book does offer new information on the life of John F. Kennedy. There’s even a more detailed account of his time in Congress, something most historians gloss over because Kennedy did very little in his time in the House. I also like the fact that it shows Kennedy always had an interest in politics, it wasn’t just thrust upon him simply because his older brother, Joe, died. It was also made clear time and time again how he often differed in opinion from his isolationist father, Joe Sr. I really think Logevall does a good job of letting us get to know Kennedy the man with his use of correspondence. He really nailed his relationship with his beloved sister, Kick, and how her death devastated him. And how, with his many ailments and injuries during his young life (including Addison’s disease, which has been known about for years, and his damage to his back because of it), Kennedy didn’t expect to live a long life, either. I don’t know how long it will take to get the second volume of this duology, but I hope it’s not another seven years.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bill Deef

    Those of us still remaining who remember the Kennedy years, especially his assassination, might not have been old enough to understand why we were so grieved at his passing. He has been buffeted by history and reputation, the latter of which has chosen in the popular mind to rest on his womanizing and style. There is some knowledge of his handling of the biggest crisis of modern times, the Cuban Missile Crisis, some superficial discussion of what he might have done in Vietnam and of course his u Those of us still remaining who remember the Kennedy years, especially his assassination, might not have been old enough to understand why we were so grieved at his passing. He has been buffeted by history and reputation, the latter of which has chosen in the popular mind to rest on his womanizing and style. There is some knowledge of his handling of the biggest crisis of modern times, the Cuban Missile Crisis, some superficial discussion of what he might have done in Vietnam and of course his untimely death. Reading this book will give those non-specialists of us a deeper insight into his actual politics and thoughts. Surprisingly, he was a very intelligent and mature man, maybe the last we’ve had since then. But he was also a political animal in the truest meaning of the word: he compromised and was swayed by the currents of the day. This biography, it should be emphasized ends with the election of 1956. A reader might be tempted to think that this was the unimportant, or even uninteresting part of JFK’s life, but that would be a mistake. You absolutely cannot understand JFK’s life unless you read about his pre-presidency. Some of the salient points that emerge are his internationalism. He was as home in Europe as he was in America, he travelled far and wide. He was a very sickly person, at least on two occasions almost dying of illness. He was a brave person as attested to the PT 109 episode and other decisions in his life. His womanizing is dealt with, but it emerges that he is somewhere between a heartless cad, as they used to say, and a man who was looking for love. He certainly didn’t disturb lower status females with his attentions, they being reserved for the jet set females he hung around with. Tragedy is always a part of the!enmesh family and those that befell his sister Rosemary, brother Joe, and sister, Eunice are well-told. All this makes the reading of the Kennedy saga always bittersweet. The book itself is beautifully and clearly written, and, despite its considerable heft, a pleasure to read. There are good photographs throughout, presented just at right point in narration. It helps, too, for the reader to know that some of the scenes described can now be revisited by films and documents on the Internet. Needless to say, from such an acclaimed historian, the documentation is exhaustive. This is the kind of book that colors your life and inhabits your dreams . The outgoing baby boom generation might need to reconsider Kennedy’s status in order to come to terms with our own lives which were indelibly stamped with this man’s imprint. He was, for many males at least, a template, if not a model. And he was certainly hard to measure up to. You can’t but help while reading this book wanting to see the next volume ASAP.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J Earl

    JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 by Fredrik Logevall is the first volume in what will be a two volume biography. This is an excellent example of what a biography of an iconic figure can be, a story of both the individual and of the world within which the person became an icon. Though a great deal of the "facts" here will be familiar to many readers who have made a point of reading about JFK and the Kennedys, there are still some new pieces of information (no matter what the s JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 by Fredrik Logevall is the first volume in what will be a two volume biography. This is an excellent example of what a biography of an iconic figure can be, a story of both the individual and of the world within which the person became an icon. Though a great deal of the "facts" here will be familiar to many readers who have made a point of reading about JFK and the Kennedys, there are still some new pieces of information (no matter what the self-proclaimed "history buffs" claim). The thing is that the new information is not really what makes this book essential reading, it is the style in which Kennedy is presented to the reader. This is about the many influences on him and his responses to those influences. The historical contextualizing here makes for a much more holistic view of why he became who he became. The family, especially his father, influence is of course prominent but the events taking place around him also played a vital role. His privilege allowed him to witness many things close up, thus giving him a more nuanced perspective at times. That said, he still was primarily motivated by personal gain, so some of his compromises and some of his silences can be irritating. That, however, is not unique to Kennedy, there are no altruistic politicians, especially those groomed from youth for higher office. The disconnect, then, is that the reader knows JFK was as human as any of us but we also know all of the mythology around what he represented and accomplished. If you read this primarily because you like to read about any or all of the Kennedy clan, you won't be disappointed. This is a wonderful read from that perspective. If you read this because you like history and the Kennedys are a major part of 20th century US and world history, you will be very well rewarded for you time. This places his actions within the bigger pictures both internationally and domestically. If you fall into this latter category of reader, I would also suggest two other recent books that dovetail nicely with this one (while we wait for the second volume of this biography). First is Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy by Larry Tye. The second is The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr and the Making of the Cold War by Luke A Nichter. It was particularly interesting to read the two different accounts of the senatorial race between Kennedy and Lodge. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 is a biography of John F. Kennedy (JFK), the thirty-fifth President of the United States. Fredrik Logevall is a Swedish-American historian and educator at Harvard University, wrote this biography. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was an American politician who served as the thirty-fifth President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War and the majority of his work as JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 is a biography of John F. Kennedy (JFK), the thirty-fifth President of the United States. Fredrik Logevall is a Swedish-American historian and educator at Harvard University, wrote this biography. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was an American politician who served as the thirty-fifth President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War and the majority of his work as President concerned relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Logevall explores the early years of John F. Kennedy in this sweeping first installment in a planned two-volume biography. It covers 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 portrayal of JFK as a charming, detached ironist and womanizer, but he was also possessed of a determined character and a sophisticated intellect, capable in his early twenties of making penetrating analyses of fascism and the strength of the German-Italian alliance while traveling through Europe before the Second World War. Logevall also emphasizes Kennedy's independent-mindedness as he outgrew his father's isolationist politics and frequently rejected his advice, albeit not his money, during later political campaigns. JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 is written and researched extremely well, it is far from perfect, but it is rather close. 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. All in all, JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 is a highly revealing, particularly for post-Camelot readers who wonder at the esteem in which JFK is held.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I cannot wait for Volume II. JFK has been a political "mentor" since I worked on his campaign as a senior in high school in 1960. Now, in 2020, I'm another kind of senior and my perception of him today is nothing like the one I had then. My respect for him has never wavered. He is still a "hero" but as one grows older the nature of "the heroic" changes, the flaws are much more part of the story, the errors jump out at you. But there is something else that endures, especially in these dark days. Fi I cannot wait for Volume II. JFK has been a political "mentor" since I worked on his campaign as a senior in high school in 1960. Now, in 2020, I'm another kind of senior and my perception of him today is nothing like the one I had then. My respect for him has never wavered. He is still a "hero" but as one grows older the nature of "the heroic" changes, the flaws are much more part of the story, the errors jump out at you. But there is something else that endures, especially in these dark days. First, he was literate. He read widely and absorbed that kind of learning into the fabric of his life. His lifelong personal, physical setbacks perhaps made him more prone to seize the moment in his erotic life (along with his father's unfortunate example) but in his political life the longer perspective that literacy brings was fundamental to his thinking, Second, he had the capacity to learn from every experience and to change. He evolved. This was especially true in the thousand days of his presidency. For me it all came together in his American University speech. Good lord...the contrast between this presidential address and the blathering of Donald Trump could not be greater. "... in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal." https://singjupost.com/full-transcrip... We carry our flaws with us throughout our lives. Often we cannot see them ourselves. Our regrets do not do away with them. But sometimes a person is lastingly heroic in ways that he or she may not even realize. This beautifully written book added depth and texture to my understanding of JFK. As I said at the beginning...I can't wait for Volume II but I suppose I'll have to.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Hoppe

    As I read this book, I kept hearing that line from Hamilton: "Immigrants, we get the job done." Frederik Logevall was born in Sweden and grew up in Canada, yet he gives us a highly accessible and nuanced portrait of an American icon and the American century. There is much about this book to admire. It gives us a three-dimensional portrait of a President who manages to be both familiar and elusive. JFK's trademark cool has its roots in his childhood. His parents lavished so much attention and so m As I read this book, I kept hearing that line from Hamilton: "Immigrants, we get the job done." Frederik Logevall was born in Sweden and grew up in Canada, yet he gives us a highly accessible and nuanced portrait of an American icon and the American century. There is much about this book to admire. It gives us a three-dimensional portrait of a President who manages to be both familiar and elusive. JFK's trademark cool has its roots in his childhood. His parents lavished so much attention and so many expectations on his older brother -- the taller, more handsome, healthier Joe, Jr. -- that Jack was able to develop his own ironic, detached, independent personality. During his long, solitary childhood/adolescent convalescences, he immersed himself in books and became smarter and more curious than his siblings. He was a sensitive boy who was first confused by and then grew to emulate his father's cavalier treatment of women. There seem to have been three he loved -- Frances Ann Cannon, Inga Arvad, and Jacqueline Bouvier -- and none that he was faithful to. He was sickly and weak, and yet capable of tremendous physical courage. He was brilliant about the political ramifications of his every move, and those of every officeholder around him, and yet he could never remember where he left his wristwatch or his passport. (That misplaced passport prevented him from going to England for the funeral of his much-loved sister, Kick.) Logevall gives us Kennedy's ability to recognize and seize opportunities -- for himself and for his constituents. The complex thought processes that came so easily to JFK are intimidating and awesome. Whether it's his attitude (so different from his powerful father's) toward US isolationism or domestic issues, like the race or the economy, I was impressed anew at his independence and originality. This book ends in 1956, when he is about to commit to the Presidential run of 1960. I eagerly await volume 2.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    How can anyone think that they can write a biography on JFK. Many people, really most people, view him as a Myth and a Legend. But Fredrik Logevall has captured the Man. This book starts with the background of JFK’s forefathers coming from Ireland and how they blended in with the non-catholic families all around them. It ends as he is almost selected to run as the Vice Presidential candidate along side Adlai Stevenson. Although he was not selected, the Convention was his springboard into greater How can anyone think that they can write a biography on JFK. Many people, really most people, view him as a Myth and a Legend. But Fredrik Logevall has captured the Man. This book starts with the background of JFK’s forefathers coming from Ireland and how they blended in with the non-catholic families all around them. It ends as he is almost selected to run as the Vice Presidential candidate along side Adlai Stevenson. Although he was not selected, the Convention was his springboard into greater political heights. Although, I have read a number of books on JFK each one of them presents him as either on a pedestal or down in the sewer. However, Mr. Logevall has been able to write an evenhanded book that does not shy away from the flaws nor does he try to hide the greatness that lead to the years of Camelot, which will be covered in the second volume. I think this is the most well rounded and complete biography of those early years that has been written. Anyone that has an interest in JFK’s life, both personal and political, should read this book. But it also covers other areas of US History during that time and how he was involved. His heroic actions in World War II or his reaction to the Red Scare and more. All of these times have been a major part of shaping this country. Kennedy was there for so much of it. The second volume, of course, will address issues like the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam war and more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with any interest, even a passing interest, about John Kennedy and his times. No matter if you love home, hate him or have not even thought about him this book will give everyone something to think about especially in today’s turmoil.

  28. 4 out of 5

    audrey oaks

    As I began reading, I felt like I already knew the story of JFK. I watched his funeral on TV, read many books about him, toured the Dallas Museum ( textbook deporitory) and also visited his Presidential Library in Boston. I was wrong. This very in-depth volume 1 of JFK, Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917- 1956 by Pulitzer Prize winning author Fredrick Logevall blew me away! This volume explains the first 39 years of the second Kennedy son, covering the time from his birth to when he dec As I began reading, I felt like I already knew the story of JFK. I watched his funeral on TV, read many books about him, toured the Dallas Museum ( textbook deporitory) and also visited his Presidential Library in Boston. I was wrong. This very in-depth volume 1 of JFK, Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917- 1956 by Pulitzer Prize winning author Fredrick Logevall blew me away! This volume explains the first 39 years of the second Kennedy son, covering the time from his birth to when he decided to run for president. It describes him from the sickly youngster that struggled with school to the more serious political leader. I don't believe I have ever read a more thorough or well-written biography. The book is filled with background information and interviews from family and friends. Joseph and Rose Kennedy's lives are described in full detail as well as some information about their parents. The Kennedy siblings are included as themselves and also their relationship with Jack. Photos from the Kennedy Presidential Library are also included, which I always appreciate. I enjoyed the later chapters where his adult life and friendships are detailed, but I think the boyhood years were my favorite, Any Kennedy buff will love this book and anyone interested in history will appreciate how Logevall weaves the history of the time into the telling of the story of one of our most famous US presidents.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christy Martin

    I have read many biographical accounts of the life of John F. Kennedy but this is by far the best that I have read. It is thorough, tells the backstory of the characters that effected his growing up years and of the world and the country throughout each time period in his life. I hadn't read many accounts of this most famous of presidents about his childhood and specifically about his time in schools from his younger years until his boarding school year. This one gives detailed account not just I have read many biographical accounts of the life of John F. Kennedy but this is by far the best that I have read. It is thorough, tells the backstory of the characters that effected his growing up years and of the world and the country throughout each time period in his life. I hadn't read many accounts of this most famous of presidents about his childhood and specifically about his time in schools from his younger years until his boarding school year. This one gives detailed account not just of Kennedy but of his friends and the relationships he had with them and the other adults in his life. It details how little his parents were involved in those years, their extreme wealth, the many houses they called home, and the intricacies of the complicated marriage of Joe and Rose. The complicated relationships in Kennedy's relationships with women is also included. In addition, there is a great deal about Joe Jr. and the competition John felt with him and how that helped shape his character and later life including his ambitions. For fans of Kennedy and this time period in history this is a great read and one you will not want to miss. It is the first in a series that you will enjoy. Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review #NetGalley#JFK by Fredik Logevall..

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scott Farris

    Logevall covers much the same ground as Nigel Hamilton's JFK: Feckless Youth. The difference is Logevall intends this book as the first of a two-volume biography of JFK, which suggests the Pulitzer-winning Logevall considers Kennedy a truly major leader of the 20th century. As recently as a decade ago, Kennedy was routinely ranked by Americans as one of our most admired presidents, despite having served less than three years before his assassination. The Kennedy mystique has dimmed a bit in rece Logevall covers much the same ground as Nigel Hamilton's JFK: Feckless Youth. The difference is Logevall intends this book as the first of a two-volume biography of JFK, which suggests the Pulitzer-winning Logevall considers Kennedy a truly major leader of the 20th century. As recently as a decade ago, Kennedy was routinely ranked by Americans as one of our most admired presidents, despite having served less than three years before his assassination. The Kennedy mystique has dimmed a bit in recent years, but Logevall is clearly betting on a comeback. I was gratified that Logevall cites my own work regarding the woman who was probably the great love of Kennedy's life, Inga Arvad. Logevall seems to agree (though with less fervor than I) that Arvad was pivotal Kennedy's life, maturation and political career. A dancer, actress, explorer, reporter and suspected Nazi spy who charmed Hitler, Arvad was a fascinating woman and if you want to learn more about her I recommend my book: Inga: Kennedy's Great Love, Hitler's Perfect Beauty and J. Edgar Hoover's Prime Suspect. Scott Farris, author, Freedom on Trial

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