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An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 | [Robert Dallek]

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

An Unfinished Life is the first authoritative single-volume life of John F. Kennedy to be written by a historian in nearly four decades. Drawing upon firsthand sources, freshly unearthed documents, and never-before-opened archives, prizewinning historian Robert Dallek reveals more than we ever knew about Jack Kennedy forever changing the way we think about his life, his presidency, and his legacy.
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Publisher's Summary

An Unfinished Life describes the birth of the Kennedy dynasty, the complexity of Jack's early years, and the mixture of adulation and resentment that tangled his relationships with his mother, Rose, and his father, Joseph. Forced into the shadow of his older brother, Joe, Jack struggled to find a place for himself until World War II, when he became a national hero and launched his career. Dallek reveals for the first time the full story of Kennedy's wartime actions and the true details of how Joe was killed, opening the door to Jack's ascendancy.

Here is the gripping story of Jack's transformation from an awkward speaker into a brilliant politician with irresistible charm. The audiobook carries us from Jack's work as a senator from Massachusetts, through the fiercely contested 1960 campaign against Nixon, and takes us on to the White House itself.

An Unfinished Life also discloses for the very first time that Kennedy was far sicker than we ever knew. While laboring to present an image of robust good health, Kennedy was secretly in and out of hospitals through-out his life, so ill that he was administered last rites on several different occasions. Here is a vivid portrait of a man who, because he knew how close he was to death, lived as much as he could - sometimes hurting others in the process.

Never shying away from Kennedy's weaknesses, Dallek also brilliantly explores his strengths. The result is a portrait of a bold, brave, human Kennedy, once again a hero.

©2003 Robert Dallek; (P)2003 Time Warner AudioBooks. A division of the AOL Time Warner Book Group.

What the Critics Say

"Sets the historical record straight...pitch-perfect prose...hands-down the best biography of JFK...a truly remarkable achievement." (Douglas Brinkley, author of The Unfinished Presidency)
"In this riveting tour de force...Dallek delivers what will most assuredly become the benchmark JFK biography for this generation...[He] is to be thanked for providing this thoroughly researched, well-sourced, responsible and readable biography that has for so long been wanting in Kennedy scholarship." (Publishers Weekly)
"...riveting and well-documented biography." (New Yorker)
"Richard McGonagle brings the president to life, mimicking the famous accents so well that his renditions of Kennedy speeches compare favorably to Kennedy's own renderings." (AudioFile)

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    Karen Braintree, MA, USA 03-04-04
    Karen Braintree, MA, USA 03-04-04
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    "too much history, not enough of the man"

    I had selected this book hoping to learn more about JFK the person, not get a history lesson about civil rights, the Cuban missile crisis, back-channel letters between the US/JFK and Kruschev and secretly installed microphones taping Kennedy's talks with his advisors. Definitely not something that holds your attention for long periods of time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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