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Kennedy: The Classic Biography: Deluxe Modern Classic [Séquence inédite] [Anglais] [Broché]

Ted Sorensen

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Description de l'ouvrage

10 septembre 2013

The classic, intimate, and magisterial biography of JFK

In January 1953, freshman senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts hired a twenty-four-year-old from Nebraska as his Number Two legislative assistant—on a trial basis. Despite the differences in their backgrounds, in the eleven years that followed Sorensen became known as Kennedy's intellectual blood bank, top policy aide, and alter ego.

Sorensen knew Kennedy the man, the senator, the candidate, and the president as no other associate did throughout these eleven years. He was with him during the key crises and turning points—including the spectacular race for the vice presidency at the 1956 convention, the launching of Kennedy's presi-dential candidacy, the speech to the Protestant clergy of Houston, the TV debates with Nixon, and election night at Hyannis Port. The first appointment that Kennedy made as a new president was Ted Sorensen as his Special Counsel.

Kennedy is an account of this president's failures as well as successes, told with surprising candor and objectivity. Sorensen relates the role of the White House staff and evaluates Kennedy's relations with his Cabinet and other appointees, reveals Kennedy's errors on the Bay of Pigs and his attitudes toward the press, Congress, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and details his actions in the Cuban missile crises and the evolution of his beliefs on civil rights and arms control.

Three months to the day after Dallas, Sorensen left the White House to write the account of those eleven years that only he could write. First published in 1965, Kennedy is an intimate biography of an extraordinary man, and one of the most important sources of history in this century.

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Quatrième de couverture

Ted Sorensen knew Kennedy the man, the senator, the candidate, and the president as no other associate did. From his hiring as a legislative assistant to Kennedy's death in 1963, Sorensen was with him during the key crises and turning points—including the spectacular race for the vice presidency at the 1956 convention, the launching of Kennedy's presidential candidacy, the TV debates with Nixon, and election night at Hyannis Port. The first appointment made by the new president was to name Ted Sorensen his Special Counsel.

In Kennedy, Sorensen recounts failures as well as successes with surprising candor and objectivity. He reveals Kennedy's errors on the Bay of Pigs, and his attitudes toward the press, Congress, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sorensen saw firsthand Kennedy's actions in the Cuban missile crises, and the evolution of his beliefs on civil rights and arms control. First published in 1965 and reissued here with a new preface, Kennedy is an intimate biography of an extraordinary man, and one of the most important historical accounts of the twentieth century.

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Biographie de l'auteur

Ted Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and after law school moved to Washington, D.C., where he would ultimately work for John F. Kennedy. He left the White House soon after JFK's death, and in 1966 joined a New York City law firm, where, as a prominent international lawyer, he advised governments, multinational organizations, and major corporations around the world. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. Sorensen remained active in political and international issues until his death in 2010.

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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  26 commentaires
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Very good coverage of Cuba 21 novembre 2004
Par Toby Scammell - Publié sur
Sorensen's account deals briefly with Kennedy's background, and then dives deeper into his campaign and years in office. I used the book as research for a paper on the Bay of Pigs and found that Sorensen's analysis is concise yet thorough. His reliance on Kennedy's speeches and on the progression of the drafts (many that he wrote or co-wrote) provides a very interesting picture of the incident and the man that I couldn't find elsewhere.

A very good background, reference, or research piece from insider Ted Sorensen.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Kennedy; The Classic Biography 3 décembre 2010
Par Leeni Balogh - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Written by John F. Kennedy's longtime aide, Ted Sorensen. An insider's view of one of the greatest American presidents. A reminder of Kennedy's leadership in areas such as: civil rights, environmental rights, consumer rights, Peace Corps, and space exploration. Half a century ago Kennedy warned against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and he took the first serious step toward arms control by ratifying the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It has been 47 years since the death of President Kennedy, but his legacy lives. When JFK was president, I was very young and did not live in the United States. So, it was interesting to read about the 1960 presidential campaign climate: the difficulties Kennedy faced running as a Roman Catholic and the very narrow margin by which he won the election.
Sorensen"s book is 758 pages long and exhaustive. I recommend it for anyone who has serious interest in John F. Kennedy, the man and the political climate in late "50s and early 60's.
18 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Research Classic 30 mars 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
Although Sorenson's book might have taken a beating since Camelot's golden days, it remains an invaluable classic for those interested in Presidential biographies. Sorenson doccuments what he felt made Kennedy a leader....and what ultimately impacted us when he was assasinated.
5 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Who will pray for JFK? 1 mars 2013
Par Hugh O'Neill - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié

“Arma Virumque Cano” (Virgil’s Aeneid)

November 22nd 2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. It would seem that there are two distinct versions of this man, since the mythology that has accrued ever since has been contradictory at best. How can one man be so different from what we thought we knew? Indeed, so much has been written that many people now switch-off: unable to separate the truth from the myth, they drown in the brown tsunami of disinformation perpetrated by his murderers who make our world so dysfunctional. Confusion becomes apathy.

George Orwell wrote of the rationale behind propaganda: “Who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future”. It is the duty of every historian to challenge propaganda, no matter how politically dangerous that may be. American soldier (and whistle-blower) Bradley Manning is under trial now because he told the truth about the slaughter of unarmed civilians. Orwell again: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”. Hitler too knew that deceiving people was quite simply a matter of constant repetition until the lie becomes the fact. The historian JFK’s first book “Why England Slept” was published in 1940 when he was only 23 and became a best-seller: he donated the royalties to recently-bombed Plymouth. (Interestingly, the BBC insinuates that the book was only a success because his father bought so many copies, or that he himself did not write it etc. This is the same BBC that warned us about WMD in Iraq). JFK wrote: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic’. Once again, his words ring resoundingly true.

The real JFK is to be found in his own words, his writing, speeches and his press conferences; there one finds the voice of wisdom, courage, candour, empathy and above all, great good humour. If ever in need of an inspiring quote, try him first. From the very start, one discerns the deepest compassion and abhorrence of violence: he remained true to those values throughout his life. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles (not least his health) he was elected President in November 1960. His Inaugural Speech of 20th January 1961 still inspires - but there is prescience there too: in his reference to the road to justice not being completed in 1,000 days – sadly the duration of his last days on Earth. (Ted Sorensen’s biography of 1965 is a most reliable primary source.)

James W. Douglass’ 2008 book “JFK & The Unspeakable” is the key to understanding who killed JFK and why. The story begins with his predecessor (Eisenhower) giving his Farewell Address on TV (watch it on YouTube). Eisenhower warned the American public of the unwarranted power of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) because it was in their interests that war (and the fear of war) must continue. The whole American economy is built upon the manufacture and sale of armaments. JFK came to power to change all that and to make the world a better place. Twice, the world came to the brink of major confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia: Berlin in 1961 but most dangerously in 1962 when Russia based nuclear missiles in Cuba. Most of his advisers - political, intelligence and all the military - were pushing him to attack Cuba but he knew that to do so would only throw petrol onto the flames and a nuclear holocaust would be the ultimate outcome. Using every available channel of communication, JFK and Khrushchev stepped back from the abyss – to the consternation of their own military. JFK knew that his own life was now in danger from his own side: on the conclusion of the Crisis, he remarked to his brother Bobby that “…tonight would be a good night to go the theater” (a reference to the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865). Bobby replied that if Jack was going, he was going with him. These were prescient remarks for both men. (See Bobby Kennedy’s “Thirteen Days”).

The major reason that Russia had based its nuclear missiles in Cuba was that Fidel Castro had every reason to fear an American invasion, after the CIA’s abortive covert invasion – the 1961 Bay of Pigs Fiasco. JFK had inherited this mess from the previous administration, but had been lied to by the CIA who were trying to trick him into ordering a full-scale military invasion. JFK would not be bullied into escalation then, but later publically accepted full responsibility for the disaster. When the subsequent inquiry by General Maxwell-Taylor revealed that the CIA had lied to the President, he sacked the CIA chief, Allen Dulles and swore to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces”.

Because the world had come so close to annihilation, both Kennedy and Khrushchev worked together to agree and implement a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. As part of his selling the idea, JFK gave yet another wonderful address, this time to the American University (June 10th 1963) which speech was barely mentioned in the US Media, though broadcast in full throughout Russia. Kennedy later mounted a campaign to persuade the public to write to Congress and Senate to achieve Ratification of the Treaty on 5th August.

Exactly one month after JFK’s assassination, former president Truman (the post-WWII founder of the CIA) wrote to the Washington Post that the CIA had strayed too far from its original remit [of collating intelligence] and into the sinister world of disinformation and assassination. Allen Dulles tried to force Truman to withdraw his remarks and when Truman refused, Dulles forged a retraction and published it. The final irony is that Allen Dulles was appointed by JFK’s successor Lyndon Johnston to manage the Warren Investigation into the assassination: their only brief was to prove that Lee Harvey Oswald was a ‘lone- nut’ assassin and that there was no conspiracy. Dulles concealed the fact that Oswald was a longtime CIA asset.

The quote at the beginning aptly translates: “It is of arms and the man I sing”. Virgil wrote his epic poem as propaganda to ‘deify’ Julius Caesar who likewise met his end at the hands of ‘honourable men’. Propaganda (like assassination) is almost a part of the Human Condition, hence the Commandment against bearing false witness. As Shakespeare’s Antony says of Caesar: “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interr’d within their bones”. Is it not fitting that - as we approach the 50th anniversary of his death - we remember the best part of JFK: his courage, intellect and compassion? Do we not believe in Redemption? Who will say a prayer for JFK?

Hugh O’Neill, M.A.
1st March 2013
5 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 sadly, this was a bit of a yawner 15 septembre 2013
Par Clem - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
After reading two of Robert Caro's brilliant volumes on the life of LBJ, I wanted to learn more about his boss, the nation's 35 president. What was it that made him tick? And how did he come from relative obscurity in the late 1950's to be, arguably, the most popular president of the 20th century?

To be fair, this book has several, what I would call, disadvantages from the start. First, the piece was written in 1964, shortly after Kennedy was tragically murdered. Also, the book was written by one of his closest insiders and speechmakers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but this book is horribly biased.

Oh how it's biased. It doesn't help when Sorenson includes a ridiculous weak forward to a 2009 reissue of this book that could have been better written by a high school sophomore. In this new puerile forward, Sorenson essentially says that Kennedy was a great, flawless president, and every other president we've had since (and he goes through them in detail) has sucked. Well, this ridiculous rant is almost enough to turn you off from the main body of work immediately, but fortunately the main piece isn't as juvenile. Perhaps the author was getting senile. Sadly, though, the book is simply too one-sided. Sorenson was obviously a disciple that thought Kennedy was some sort of god, and would probably gladly drink the man's bathwater if it was asked of him. Some of the syrupy praise that he lauds on the man over and over again is simply too much to stomach.

It's not that you really want the book to be a slinger of mud, I'm not sure a book such as that could have been released and/or accepted so shortly after the abrupt end of Camelot. The public really didn't want to read about stolen elections, Carlos Marcello and the mafia, nor Marilyn Monroe at this point, so it's perfectly acceptable that Sorenson stays clear of the darker side of the man's life. It's simply that every event in the man's presidency tries to show that Kennedy was simply infallible, and even The Bay of Pigs disaster is blamed on everyone else except Kennedy himself (to JFK's credit, he takes much of the blame for the fiasco in this retrospective, but Sorenson will hear nothing of it.)

Then there's the shear volume of this work. Since I read it on a Kindle, I can't accurately state the page length, but I believe the printed work was over 900 pages. Sorenson could have easily trimmed this by about one third. He simply goes into too much detail. Speaking of detail, this book really isn't about the life of Kennedy, but rather the life of President Kennedy. There's very little about the man's past here, which makes the length more unbearable. I don't think anyone could successfully write a book over 900 pages detailing only three years of a presidency.

I have to concede, though, that maybe this is how books were written back in 1964. I'm guessing that authors didn't have to necessarily have their printed words singing and dancing in front of a reader keeping their attention. In other words, people were more content reading a long, drawn out volume, simply because there wasn't much else to do back in 1964, so news sources and books like this didn't have to be too concerned with keeping the reader's undivided focus.

At times, I didn't feel like I was reading a biography, I felt like I was reading a 900 page Wikipedia article. It's amazing just how bored a reader can be trying to digest entire, drawn out chapters that discuss Kennedy's influence and involvement in the U.S. Steel industry. This brings new meaning to the word "dull".

And everything is covered here that the man had his hand in from 1960-1963. Everything. Some of the more newsworthy events, such as The Cuban Missile Crises, actually do make a refreshing read. Perhaps because this event is so predominant in people's minds, even 50 years after the fact. Since Sorenson goes into so much detail, this would be an excellent source for a student's research paper.

It's interesting to read about the involvement and references to Vietnam. Remember, no one really knew what or where Vietnam was in 1964,and it certainly didn't bring up the same connotations as it does now, so I found these portions a good read as well. Again, it's very clear that Kennedy was not as "Dove-ish" as some would have you believe, and he was well prepared to do whatever it took to keep the communists out of South Vietnam. Still, although there are some that don't like to entertain such a notion, we simply don't know what Kennedy would have done in Southeast Asia had he lived.

Another interesting thing about this book is that since Ted Sorenson was a professional speechwriter, there are many portions of Kennedy's actual speeches sprinkled through the pages - as well as some of his entire speeches. This doesn't really hinder the book, it just seems a bit strange since this is not a norm in historical biographies such as this. In fact, many of Kennedy's amusing anecdotes that he would quip during his presidency are included here, and the man simply had a strong way with words when illustrating key points, or responding to criticism from an opponent.

Overall, I didn't think this book was that great, and thought it could have been much better. This is, however, a great compendium of Kennedy's accomplishments and overall comings and goings of the three years in his office. I just wish the author would have practicing the art of summarizing a bit more.
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