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Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero | [Chris Matthews]

Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero

In Chris Matthews’ extraordinary biography, we see this most beloved president in the company of friends. We see and feel him close-up, having fun and giving off that restlessness of his. We watch him navigate his life from privileged, rebellious youth to gutsy American president. We witness his bravery in war and selfless rescue of his PT boat crew. We watch JFK as a young politician learning to play hardball and watch him grow into the leader who averts a nuclear war.
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Publisher's Summary

“What was he like?”

Jack Kennedy said the reason people read biographies is to answer that basic question. With the verve of a novelist, Chris Matthews gives us just that. We see this most beloved president in the company of friends. We see and feel him close-up, having fun and giving off that restlessness of his. We watch him navigate his life from privileged, rebellious youth to gutsy American president. We witness his bravery in war and selfless rescue of his PT boat crew. We watch JFK as a young politician learning to play hardball and watch him grow into the leader who averts a nuclear war.

What was he like, this person whose own wife called him “that elusive, unforgettable man”? The Jack Kennedy you discover here wanted never to be alone, never to be bored. He loved courage, hated war, lived each day as if it were his last.

Chris Matthews’ extraordinary biography is based on personal interviews with those closest to JFK, oral histories by top political aide Kenneth O’Donnell and others, documents from his years as a student at Choate, and notes from Jacqueline Kennedy’s first interview after Dallas. You’ll learn the origins of his inaugural call to “Ask what you can do for your country.” You’ll discover his role in the genesis of the Peace Corps, his stand on civil rights, his push to put a man on the moon, his ban on nuclear-arms testing. You’ll get, more than ever before, to the root of the man, including the unsettling aspects of his personal life.

As Matthews writes, “I found a fighting prince never free of pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father’s son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.”

©2011 Chris Matthews (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

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  •  
    jill Reno, NV, United States 02-11-13
    jill Reno, NV, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A Must Read if you love the Kennedys"
    If you could sum up Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero in three words, what would they be?

    A Must Read


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero?

    New Information on the difficulty of an Irish Catholic becoming President in that period of US History


    What does Holter Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has just the right amount of Mass accent to bring the book alive


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ira S. Saposnik Wisconsin 08-02-12
    Ira S. Saposnik Wisconsin 08-02-12 Member Since 2006

    Mdattyphd

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    "tells it like it is"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. new information presented very well.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero?

    His poor treatment of his wife..while I can see his aspirations and growth away so that a second Cuban Missile Crisis never happened, he never got it right at home, and home is the foundation of the family.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His big wins in WI and WV where Jackie is virtually ignored.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Neither. Nothing funny about brains on a trunk of a car.


    Any additional comments?

    Good stories about the WW2 JFK. He DID do these things, he did not have to.
    His book While England Slept had it right.
    Profiles in Courage whether he or Francis Bacon wrote it, gets it right, also.
    As a physician, I cannot see that he would have lived out a second term.
    I think he knew he had limited time. Using Marilyn Monroe for some of it was just bad for his family, not for him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 06-09-12
    Lynn 06-09-12
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    "General Portrait of JFK"

    Chris Matthews has produced in Jack Kennedy a general overview of the President’s life, a broad stroke portrait of the man. The book is okay for what it is. Young people, for example, who did not live through Camelot may be superficially informed. Those looking for a true biography will be disappointed. Matthews is not the historian that – say - Robert Caro is (who is a well known and recognized Presidential biographer). The biographical detail needed is not present and the necessary, in depth, historical research is not evident. For me, the book reads as though Matthews is an admirer of JFK and wrote a short book to please the family and other admirers. He has a nice little book, but has not done JFK justice. The reading of Holter Graham is good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Kentfield, CA, USA 06-04-12
    Denise Kentfield, CA, USA 06-04-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Learned something about JFK"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend the book, it took a different view on history. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Chris Matthews perspective.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    More than just hype


    Any additional comments?

    I heard a different side of JFK, the book was well done and an easy listen for the car.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kurt Worcester, MA, United States 04-19-12
    Kurt Worcester, MA, United States 04-19-12
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    "The Jack Kennedy few ever knew - until now"
    Where does Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Despite over a thousand attempts, Matthews brings back Jack Kennedy's short life in stunning detail and with overwhelming empathetic appeal.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I urge you to research Lem Billings - always there for Jack - the most mysterious man in Jack's past..


    What about Holter Graham’s performance did you like?

    Graham took on and succeeded in bringing to life countless figures in John Kennedy's life.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Most motivating was Kennedy's ability to mask tortuously crippling pain for the benefit of a far greater good.


    Any additional comments?

    Despite the ever present trauma of death befelt by Kennedys, the solace of healing humor was never far away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GINA ORANGE, CA, United States 04-16-12
    GINA ORANGE, CA, United States 04-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "GREAT but WAY TOO LONG!"
    What did you love best about Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero?

    TOO political, not enough meat


    What other book might you compare Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero to and why?

    I can't say, I don't read that many political books


    What about Holter Graham’s performance did you like?

    He did the dialects well and I felt like he knew the era very well, as well as the president!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No - and NO WAY could I do that.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed learning the history very much! I just wish there was more detail about the LIFE of the Kennedy's and not SO much politics!!! That got rather draining! I wanted to leave it, but hoped that right around the corner I would get more 'juice'....never did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Chapel Hill, NC, United States 04-10-12
    Thomas Chapel Hill, NC, United States 04-10-12 Member Since 2006
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    "not a biography..."

    in the traditional sense. Yes this told a different viewpoint, but this is mostly an attempt to give a picture of his character, and there is little on objective history, events, and I found it to be pretty boring and also a condemnation of the very character Matthews seems to love so much...he is basically a ruthless politician who bought his way to the presidency. I guess thats the reality of politics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    MS Plymouth, MA, United States 03-19-12
    MS Plymouth, MA, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Good insight on JFK - Well-written book."

    I've read many books on JFK, and this one is a favorite. Great detail and well-researched. Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Sterling, VA, United States 02-04-12
    Beth Sterling, VA, United States 02-04-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Extremely interesting"

    The 1960 presidential election was the first one I remember. This book is an excellent biography of John F. Kennedy -- full of information I did not know. For example, I had no idea how sickly he was as a child and how many times he almost died from illness. Wonderful poliltical analysis. His early friendhip with Richard Nixon was unexpected as well. I highly recommend this book -- very well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Irma 02-04-12
    Irma 02-04-12
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    "Nothing new here."
    Would you try another book from Chris Matthews and/or Holter Graham?

    Absolutely.


    If you’ve listened to books by Chris Matthews before, how does this one compare?

    First time listener to his books.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Fast spaced, but accents were fake and some were ridiculous sounding.


    Did Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I should have known that Matthwes was too awed by his subject to write an honest biography. He could not help editing out the unpleasant side of his subject. Much information was left out to protect Kennedy. For example, it would have been interesting to learn more about the serious disagreement betweeen Kennedy and his co-author, Ted Anderson, over the authorship of Kennedy's famous book during his illness when he was still a senator. I am glad Matthews didn't go into the womanizing--we've all hard enough about that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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