Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

John F. Kennedy

Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

John F. Kennedy

Article excerpt

John F. Kennedy. By Robert Dallek. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003. 78 pages. $12.95 (hardcover).

Common queries greet a new biography about historical icons such as Washington, Lincoln, or JFK-is this book really necessary? Does it bring new insights? Present a new view? Make us think any differently about the subject? Unfortunately, in the case of John F. Kennedy by Robert Dallek, the answer is "no" on all counts.

The book is clear, precise, and well written. In seventy-three short pages (five pages of the book are reserved for the Source list) Dallek presents a concise overview of the life of JFK, focusing mostly on the pursuit and management of his presidency. For someone unfamiliar with that life, this book would make a fine introduction. However, anyone already familiar with the story would be far better off reading any number of JFK biographies, including the author's own, John F. Kennedy, An Unfinished Life, which this volume was distilled from. One can only think that the smaller book was written as a teaser for the larger tome, enticing readers to later editions. …

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