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John F. Kennedy - Portrait of a President - Hugh Sidey

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John F. Kennedy - Portrait of a President - Hugh Sidey

John F. Kennedy - Portrait of a President - Hugh Sidey

John F Kennedy: Potrait of a President - Hugh Sidey

Used hardback: .1965 edition  good condition

 

Hugh Sidey was White House Corrospondent for Time, and knew JFK over six years.

About the subject John F Kennedy


John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was the thirty-fifth President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. After Kennedy's military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during World War II in the South Pacific, his aspirations turned political, with the encouragement and grooming of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Kennedy represented the state of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat, and in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated then Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election, one of the closest in American history. He is the only practicing Roman Catholic to be president. He was the second youngest President (after T. Roosevelt), and the youngest elected to the office, at the age of 43. Kennedy is also the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize.Events during his administration include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African American Civil Rights Movement and early events of the Vietnam War.

Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime and was murdered two days later by Jack Ruby before he could be put on trial. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald had acted alone in killing the president; however, the House Select Committee on Assassinations declared in 1979 that there was more likely a conspiracy that included Oswald. The entire subject remains controversial, with multiple theories about the assassination still being debated. The event proved to be an important moment in U.S. history because of its impact on the nation and the ensuing political repercussions. Today, Kennedy continues to rank highly in public opinion ratings of former U.S. presidents.

Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts on Tuesday, May 29, 1917, at 3:00 p.m., the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr, and Rose Fitzgerald; Rose, in turn, was the eldest child of John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, a prominent Boston political figure who was the city's mayor and a three-term member of Congress. Kennedy, who was to be the first U.S. president born in the twentieth century, lived in Brookline for his first ten years of life. He attended Brookline's public Edward Devotion School from kindergarten through the beginning of 3rd grade, then Noble and Greenough Lower School and its successor, the Dexter School, a private school for boys, through 4th grade. In September 1927, Kennedy moved with his family to a rented 20-room mansion in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City, then two years later moved five miles (8 km) northeast to a 21-room mansion on a six-acre estate in Bronxville, New York, purchased in May 1929. He was a member of Scout Troop 2 at Bronxville from 1929 to 1931 and was to be the first Scout to become President. Kennedy spent summers with his family at their home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, also purchased in 1929, and Christmas and Easter holidays with his family at their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, purchased in 1933. In his primary school years, he attended Riverdale Country School, a private school for boys in Riverdale, for 5th through 7th grade.

For 8th grade in September 1930, the 13-year old Kennedy was sent fifty miles away to Canterbury School, a lay Roman Catholic boarding school for boys in New Milford, Connecticut. In late April 1931, he had appendicitis requiring an appendectomy, after which he withdrew from Canterbury and recuperated at home. In September 1931, Kennedy was sent over sixty miles away to The Choate School, an elite private university preparatory boarding school for boys in Wallingford, Connecticut for 9th through 12th grades, following his older brother, Joe Jr., who was two years ahead of him. In January 1934 during his junior year at Choate, he became ill, lost a lot of weight, was hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital until Easter, and spent most of June 1934 hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for evaluation of colitis.

He graduated from Choate in June 1935. Kennedy's superlative in his yearbook was "Most likely to become President". In September 1935, he sailed on the SS Normandie on his first trip abroad with his parents and his sister Kathleen to London with the intent of studying for a year with Professor Harold Laski at the London School of Economics (LSE) as his older brother Joe had done, but after a brief hospitalization with jaundice after less than a week at LSE, he sailed back to America only three weeks after he had arrived. In October 1935, Kennedy enrolled late and spent six weeks at Princeton University, but was then hospitalized for two months observation for possible leukemia at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston in January and February 1936. He recuperated at the Kennedy winter home in Palm Beach in March and April, spent May and June working as a ranch hand on a 40,000 acre (160 km²) cattle ranch outside Benson, Arizona, then July and August racing sailboats at the Kennedy summer home in Hyannisport.

In September 1936 he enrolled as a freshman at Harvard College, residing in Winthrop House during his sophomore through senior years, again following two years behind his older brother Joe. In early July 1937, Kennedy took his convertible, sailed on the SS Washington to France, and spent ten weeks driving with a friend through France, Italy, Germany, Holland and England. In late June 1938, Kennedy sailed with his father and his brother Joe on the SS Normandie to spend July working with his father, recently appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James by President Roosevelt, at the American embassy in London, and August with his family at a villa near Cannes. From February through September 1939, Kennedy toured Europe, the Soviet Union, the Balkans and the Middle East to gather background information for his Harvard senior honors thesis. He spent the last ten days of August in Czechoslovakia and Germany before returning to London on September 1, 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland. On September 3, 1939, Kennedy and his family were in attendance at the Strangers Gallery of the House of Commons to hear speeches in support of the United Kingdom's declaration of war on Germany. Kennedy was sent as his father's representative to help with arrangements for American survivors of the SS Athenia, before flying back to the U.S. on Pan Am's Dixie Clipper from Foynes, Ireland to Port Washington, New York on his first transatlantic flight at the end of September.

In 1940, Kennedy completed his thesis, "Appeasement in Munich," about British participation in the Munich Agreement. He initially intended his thesis to be private, but his father encouraged him to publish it as a book. He graduated cum laude from Harvard with a degree in international affairs in June 1940, and his thesis was published in July 1940 as a book entitled Why England Slept, and became a bestseller. From September to December 1940, Kennedy was enrolled and audited classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In early 1941, he helped his father complete the writing of a memoir of his three years as an American ambassador. In May and June 1941, Kennedy traveled throughout South America.

In the spring of 1941, Kennedy volunteered for the U.S. Army, but was rejected, mainly because of his troublesome back. Nevertheless, in September of that year, the U.S. Navy accepted him, because of the influence of the director of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), a former naval attaché to the Ambassador, his father. As an ensign, Kennedy served in the office which supplied bulletins and briefing information for the Secretary of the Navy. It was during this assignment that the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. He attended the Naval Reserve Officers Training School and Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center before being assigned for duty in Panama and eventually the Pacific theater. He participated in various commands in the Pacific theater and earned the rank of lieutenant, commanding a patrol torpedo (PT) boat. On August 2, 1943, Kennedy's boat, the PT-109, was taking part in a nighttime patrol near New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. It was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Kennedy was thrown across the deck, injuring his already-troubled back. Nonetheless, he swam, towing a wounded man, to an island and later to a second island where his crew was subsequently rescued. For these actions, Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal under the following citation:

For extremely heroic conduct as Commanding Officer of Motor Torpedo Boat 109 following the collision and sinking of that vessel in the Pacific War Theater on August 1-2, 1943. Unmindful of personal danger, Lieutenant (then Lieutenant, Junior Grade) Kennedy unhesitatingly braved the difficulties and hazards of darkness to direct rescue operations, swimming many hours to secure aid and food after he had succeeded in getting his crew ashore. His outstanding courage, endurance and leadership contributed to the saving of several lives and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Kennedy's other decorations in World War II included the Purple Heart, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged in early 1945, just a few months before Japan surrendered. The incident was popularized when he became president and would be the subject of several magazine articles, books, comic books, TV specials and a feature length movie, making the PT-109 one of the most famous U.S. Navy ships of the war. Scale models and even G.I. Joe figures based on the incident were still being produced in the 2000s. The coconut which was used to scrawl a rescue message given to Solomon Islander scouts who found him was kept on his presidential desk and is still at the John F. Kennedy Library.

During his presidency, Kennedy privately admitted to friends that he didn't feel that he deserved the medals he had received, because the PT-109 incident had been the result of a botched military operation that had cost the lives of two members of his crew. When later asked by a reporter how he became a war hero, Kennedy (known for a sense of humor) joked: "It was involuntary. They sank my boat." . In May 2002, a National Geographic expedition found what is believed to be the wreckage of the PT-109 in the Solomon Islands. After World War II, Kennedy had considered the option of becoming a journalist before deciding to run for political office. Prior to the war, he had not strongly considered becoming a politician as a career, because his family, especially his father, had already pinned its political hopes on his older brother. Joseph, however, was killed in World War II, giving John seniority. When in 1946 U.S. Representative James Michael Curley vacated his seat in an overwhelmingly Democratic district to become mayor of Boston, Kennedy ran for the seat, beating his Republican opponent by a large margin. He was a congressman for six years but had a mixed voting record, often diverging from President Harry S. Truman and the rest of the Democratic Party. In 1952, he defeated incumbent Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for the U.S. Senate. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12, 1953. He underwent several spinal operations over the following two years, nearly dying (in all he received the Roman Catholic Church's "last rites" four times during his life), and was often absent from the Senate. During his convalescence in 1956, he published Profiles in Courage, a book describing eight instances in which U.S. Senators risked their careers by standing by their personal beliefs. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. From the time of publication, there have been rumors that this work was actually coauthored by his close adviser Ted Sorensen, who had joined his Senate office staff in 1953 and would serve as a speechwriter for Kennedy until his death. In May 2008, Sorensen confirmed these rumors in his autobiography.

In the 1956 presidential election, presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson left the choice of a Vice Presidential nominee to the Democratic convention, and Kennedy finished second in that balloting to Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Despite this defeat, Kennedy received national exposure from that episode that would prove valuable in subsequent years. His father, Joseph Kennedy, Sr., pointed out that it was just as well that John did not get that nomination, as some people sought to blame anything they could on Roman Catholics, even though it was privately known that any Democrat would have trouble running against Eisenhower in 1956. John F. Kennedy voted for final passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 after having earlier voted for the "Jury Trial Amendment", which effectively rendered the Act toothless because convictions for violations could not be obtained. Staunch segregationists such as senators James Eastland and John McClellan and Mississippi Governor James P. Coleman were early supporters of Kennedy's presidential campaign. In 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the United States Senate, defeating his Republican opponent, Boston lawyer Vincent J. Celeste, by a wide margin.

Years later, it was revealed that in September 1947 when he was 30 years old and during his first term as a congressman, Kennedy had been diagnosed by Sir Daniel Davis at The London Clinic with Addison's disease, a rare endocrine disorder. The nature of this and other medical problems were kept secret from the press and public throughout Kennedy's lifetime and Presidential tenure. Senator Joseph McCarthy was a friend of the Kennedy family: Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was a leading McCarthy supporter; Robert F. Kennedy worked for McCarthy's subcommittee, and McCarthy dated Patricia Kennedy. In 1954, when the Senate was poised to condemn McCarthy, John Kennedy drafted a speech calling for McCarthy's censure, but never delivered it. When on December 2, 1954, the Senate rendered its highly publicized decision to censure McCarthy, Senator Kennedy was in the hospital. Though absent, Kennedy could have "paired" his vote against that of another senator, but chose not to; neither did he ever indicate then nor later how he would have voted. The episode seriously damaged Kennedy's support in the liberal community, especially with Eleanor Roosevelt, as late as the 1960 election.

John F Kennedy: Potrait of a President - Hugh Sidey

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