Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: The Kennedy Half-Century by Larry J. Sabato

Title: The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy
Author: Larry J. Sabato
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publish Date: October 15, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a non-fiction fan.
  • You're a history buff.
  • You're a politico.
What's the Story?:

From "John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago—yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato—himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency—explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.

A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn’t died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK’s assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public’s view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK’s presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions—often in surprising ways—of every president since.

Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half-Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK’s short presidency has had on our national psyche."

My Two Cents:

John F. Kennedy is still considered one of the most well-known and beloved American Presidents. His influence has lasted for 50 years. With the 50th anniversary of his untimely assassination coming up later in November, well known political scientist, Larry J. Sabato, explores Kennedy's presidency, his death, and his long lasting legacy and influence on American politics. This book is absolutely fascinating and a great book for lovers of politics and history!

The book opens with Kennedy's death. Yes, there has been many books on the subject but what I appreciated about this book is that Sabato uses a lot of detail from primary sources, which really helped to bring me into the thick of the action as a reader. Sabato explores some of the conspiracies around Kennedy's death. This isn't new territory for those who have read any of the many books about JFK but the detail that Sabato adds again serves to make this book a little bit new and different.

The second half of the book is made up of chapters on how JFK and his legacy affected the subsequent Presidents. This was new territory to me as I had never really thought about how much our Presidents still draw on JFK's memory. For example, just look at what Caroline Kennedy and Ted Kennedy's endorsement of presidential candidate, Barack Obama, did for his campaign. The Kennedy name still has the power to excite. It was fascinating to see how politicians from both sides of the aisle have continued to embrace JFK's power.

I really enjoyed this book and know that it will be a great reference book for me in the future. This will definitely be the next book that I make my dear husband read! We don't agree on a lot about books we like but I know that this one fits both of our bills.



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