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President Kennedy: Profile of Power by…
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President Kennedy: Profile of Power (1993)

by Richard Reeves

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I’ve been marching through bios of the U.S. Presidents in chronological order and of the 40+ read so far, Profile of Power is definitely one of the best. What sets it apart is that Reeves puts you right next to Kennedy to see government “being made” day-in and day-out during his presidency. Much more realistic than the usual “Camelot” fairy tale, it gives a clear portrait of JFK as the man — and politician — he was. I’ll definitely include his Nixon and Reagan books on my reading list. ( )
  mtbass | Dec 30, 2016 |
The narrative provided a significant addition to what one already knows or believed about John Kennedy. Insightful surrounding his use of power and influence. ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Sep 7, 2015 |
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Epigraph
John F. Kennedy's favorite book was Melbourne by David Cecil, the biography of William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne, who was prime minister of Great Britain for seven years, from 1834 to 1841, serving as the political mentor of Queen Victoria. The book was published in 1939 and this is part of Cecil's description of the young William Lamb:

"To be a thinker one must believe in the value of disinterested thought. William's education had destroyed his belief in this, along with all other absolute beliefs, and in doing so removed the motive force necessary to set his creative engery working. The spark that should have kindled his fire was unlit, with the result that he never felt moved to make the effort needed to discipline his intellectual process, to organize his sporadic reflections into a coherent system of thought. He had studied a great many subjects, but none thoroughly; his ideas were original, but they were fragmentary, scattered, unmatured. This lack of system meant further that he never overhauled his mind to set its contents in the light of a considered standard of value - so that the precious and the worthless jostled each other in its confused recesses; side by side with fresh and vivid thoughts lurked contradictions, commonplaces and relics of the conventional prejudices of this rank and station. Even his scepticism was not consistent; though he doubted the value of virtue, he never doubted the value of being a gentleman. Like so many aristocratic persons he was an amateur.

"His amateurishness was increased by his hedonism. For it led him to pursue his thought only in so far as the process was pleasant. He shirked intellectual drudgery. Besides, the life he lived was all too full of distracting delights. If he felt bored reading and cogitating, there was always a party for him to go to where he could be perfectly happy without having to make and effort. Such temptations were particularly hard to resist for a man brought up in the easygoing, disorderly atmosphere of Melbourne House, where no one was ever forced to be methodical or conscientious and where there was always something entertaining going one. If virtue was hard to acquire there, pleasure came all to easily."
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In the weeks between his election and inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, John F. Kennedy spent as much time as he could relaxing in the sun at his father's house in Palm Beach, Florida.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671892894, Paperback)

President Kennedy is the compelling, dramatic history of JFK's thousand days in office. It illuminates the presidential center of power by providing an indepth look at the day-by-day decisions and dilemmas of the thirty-fifth president as he faced everything from the threat of nuclear war abroad to racial unrest at home.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:06 -0400)

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