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An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 (2003)

– tekijä: Robert Dallek

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,439179,836 (3.8)35
"Robert Dallek's masterful John F. Kennedy : an unfinished life was a number one national bestseller, and it remains the most widely read one-volume biography of the 35th president. Now, in this marvelous short biography of John F. Kennedy, Dallek achieves a miracle of compression, capturing in a small space the essence of his renowned full-length masterpiece. Here readers will find the fascinating insights and groundbreaking revelations found in An unfinished life. The heart of the book focuses on Kennedy's political career, especially the presidency. The book sheds light on key foreign affairs issues such as the Bay of Pigs debacle, Khrushchev's misguided bullying of Kennedy in Vienna, the Cuban Missile crisis, the nuclear test ban, the race for space, and the initial dealings with Southeast Asia, especially Laos. It also highlights the difficulties Kennedy faced getting a domestic agenda passed, from a tax cut to spur the economy, to federal aid to education, Medicare, and civil rights. Dallek reveals the thinking behind Robert Kennedy's appointment as attorney general and convincingly argues that Kennedy would never have expanded the war in Vietnam the way that Lyndon Johnson did. The book also addresses questions about Kennedy's assassination and concludes with his presidential legacy and why he remains so popular despite serving only a thousand days in office. Based upon the definitive biography, John F. Kennedy offers readers a concise, authoritative, and highly readable life of one of our best-loved presidents"--Provided by publisher.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 17) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Kennedy doesn’t impress me; (I don’t hate him). Dallek didn’t stand over me as I typed this and tell me what to say.

..................

It’s moderately useful for intergenerational understanding, (“everybody my age can tell you where they were when he was shot”) which is why I read it. Not that I actually share the fan’s opinion, but I like to know what the people are thinking.

..........................

[I mean, part of the reason why JFK is more popular than LBJ is simply that the early 60s were a time of a more aristocratic liberalism than the late 60s, which were more counter-cultural and protest-driven.

.... He would have become a lot less popular if he had lived.

By thy blood dost thou buy thy fame.]

...........................

In retrospect “Killing Kennedy” is probably better at familiarizing you with American mythology; this is sorta what you’d remember about him if you were a news junkie, you know.

Not that it’s a better or a worse book, but it’s certainly different, indeed as it intended to be.

.........................

You do get a sense that the Cold War was a scary time in which to grow up; the White House was slightly paranoid about the communists (Khrushchev and his bombs) trying taking over the world, everybody was, (and some of them were) which can only have made it more difficult to deal with some of the challenges of the era.

.............................

Well, especially the public was paranoid; people are crazy. The government was paranoid, like, make little plans, do this do that; the public was paranoid like: go to war with Russia today—or next week?

And the communists were crazy too—maneuvers for power with nuclear risks.

.... So Kennedy managed the missile crisis successfully, which would have been a problem (most Soviet missiles couldn’t reach the US from Russia) if it been allowed to continue and fester.

But if Eisenhower or Truman had done the same thing it wouldn’t have created the same reputation.

Although it’s hard to put yourself inside the social mind of the previous century.

........................

It’s interesting to read about the perspective of the people who were in power at the time.

.........................

Although it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Dr. King was a black man in the South and that Jack was a Kennedy, and that that’s pretty much the way they acted—the prophet and the rich man’s son. JFK only manages to stand up to him because of the office and because he too was killed. (Any death is the end of something beautiful, but people are tiresome with the whole, “Don Corleone put an end to the Last American President”, etc. Conspiracy theories, you know. People get bored. I guess I get bored too, although I try not to take the grandiosity of boredom too seriously.)

Although it is perhaps possible for a rich man’s son to be something more than a poster boy, (though not so commonly in post-Victorian America), and many radicals aren’t really prophets, in this case the two, MLK and JFK, are pretty much that very contrast—the black prophet and the rich man’s son. What a country, where everything is money. If you can barely read, but you have money, you’re rich. “You think I should know something about anything. Let me check my bank account and see.” The deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this life say, “Money is the measure of life.” I suppose in a way it is, in the same sense that chicken thighs are the measure of life. Meat is an important part of life, but any free man would risk it all for his dignity. But for a Kennedy, meat and dignity and all the rest comes so easy that he can’t quite understand. And a hundred years before Lincoln was both president and prophet; a century later, we had both inherited his gifts, and regressed.

...............

Although I probably like my abstractions too much.

.....................

Again, I can’t step inside the mind of the previous century.

.... I suppose one begins to understand what one does not know.

.........................

Perhaps it would be better to forget the facts; “should we assassinate Diem”, etc.

He was king of America, right.

...........................

Dallek’s finishing the mostly narrative book with analytical epilogues is highly competent.
  smallself | Jul 14, 2019 |
One of the best biographies about JFK ( )
  mollygerry | Nov 19, 2018 |
I absolutely love biography. I love American history. I love studying presidents. And I loved this book.

Dallek did a nice job of balancing both President Kennedy's pre-presidential life (his time at Harvard, his WWII service, his time in the congress) with his time in office. The thing with JFK, and really the entire Kennedy family, is the personal stories are sometimes more interesting than the accounts of their public service. The accounts of Kennedy's womanizing are stuff of legend, and while the more salacious accounts make for fun reading, Dallek doesn't dive into those as much as he keeps to facts.

The presidential years are fascinating. The Bay of Pigs incident, the dealings with Kruschev and the U.S.S.R., Castro/Cuba, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, and Civil Rights are all covered as thorough as possible in a one volume biography. Certainly, there is much more to be said about all of these events and issues, but those have all received thorough treatment in other places. There is very little discussion of the assassination, so if that's what you're here for you'll need to look somewhere else.

An Unfinished Life is a wonderful biography for those looking for a thorough and accessible presentation of John F. Kennedy's life. I would recommend it highly. ( )
  mgalyon789 | May 29, 2018 |
An exhaustive...and sometimes exhausting...look at the political life of John F. Kennedy. If you are looking for a personal biography of the late president, this isn't it. This work recounts in minute detail almost every single political decision made by JFK. Missing from this are the personal details of his life. Granted the book made huge strides in telling of his medical conditions, there is almost a complete absence of family life within these pages. His marriage to Jackie, the births of their children, and the death of their son are barely talked about. One wonders why, as they were so important to Kennedy.

Maybe this should have been titled "An Unfinished Book". ( )
1 ääni briandrewz | Jan 25, 2015 |
A good biography of Kennedy. Gave it three stars. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst. I think I might just have read too many Kennedy books to give more stars unless the material is presented in more intriguing fashion.

If John Kennedy is one of your favorite historical figures, you won't be disappointed. ( )
1 ääni autumnturner76 | Sep 22, 2014 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 17) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

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To Len and Myra Dinnerstein, Larry Levine, and Dick Weiss - forty-seven years of fond memories - and to Jeff Kelman - my instructor in medicine
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Why another Kennedy book? (Preface)
In August 1947, John F. Kennedy traveled to Ireland.
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This work shares an ISBN with The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.
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"Robert Dallek's masterful John F. Kennedy : an unfinished life was a number one national bestseller, and it remains the most widely read one-volume biography of the 35th president. Now, in this marvelous short biography of John F. Kennedy, Dallek achieves a miracle of compression, capturing in a small space the essence of his renowned full-length masterpiece. Here readers will find the fascinating insights and groundbreaking revelations found in An unfinished life. The heart of the book focuses on Kennedy's political career, especially the presidency. The book sheds light on key foreign affairs issues such as the Bay of Pigs debacle, Khrushchev's misguided bullying of Kennedy in Vienna, the Cuban Missile crisis, the nuclear test ban, the race for space, and the initial dealings with Southeast Asia, especially Laos. It also highlights the difficulties Kennedy faced getting a domestic agenda passed, from a tax cut to spur the economy, to federal aid to education, Medicare, and civil rights. Dallek reveals the thinking behind Robert Kennedy's appointment as attorney general and convincingly argues that Kennedy would never have expanded the war in Vietnam the way that Lyndon Johnson did. The book also addresses questions about Kennedy's assassination and concludes with his presidential legacy and why he remains so popular despite serving only a thousand days in office. Based upon the definitive biography, John F. Kennedy offers readers a concise, authoritative, and highly readable life of one of our best-loved presidents"--Provided by publisher.

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