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Book: Jack Kennedy: The Making of a President
Author: Barbara Leaming
Publisher: Orion Books
Reviewer: Lindi Obose
This book takes you back into a very different era of US politics and culture, and I polished it off in a day.
I enjoyed reading and was profoundly influenced by this milestone work which helped popularise the narrative historical approach - merging the character-building drama of a great novel with the march of history. I found it infinitely preferable to the dry, fact-oriented textbooks I was frequently compelled to wade through as a student.
Barbara Leaming knows how to get a story and to flesh out the fascinating aspects of people.
The Making of a President is a colourful narrative of friendships and family, tragedy and victory; a biography that will radically alter our understanding of both the man and his presidency.
Jack or John Kennedy had a great deal of charisma that lent itself to positive press coverage. This ground-breaking biography of the most charismatic of all 20th century American presidents reveals the deep, lifelong impact on John F Kennedy of British history, literature and values.
Drawing on extensive new and amazingly intimate primary materials and original interviews, Leaming has uncovered the dramatic line that runs through Kennedy's complicated life, the route of the friendships and forces that led to the White House, and shaped his actions there.
Here is the childhood reading of a sickly boy; Jack's blissful engagement at the age of 15 with the writings of Winston Churchill; and his transforming experiences as a member of the Second Sons' Club of young aristocrats in pre-war London, where his father was the American ambassador and where his sister introduced him to a group of friends who would have a deep and lasting influence on Jack.
It is extremely readable and most informative.