Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (9)

Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

“…in the last seven days…, he [Nixon] has called me an ignoramus, a liar, a pied piper…. I just confine myself to calling him a Republican and he says that is really getting low.” p. 234. ………. “He asked me [Sorenson] to read all the past inaugural addresses (which I discovered to be a largely undistinguished lot, with some of the best eloquence emanating from some of our worst Presidents).” p. 270. ………. “He asked me [Sorenson] to study the secret of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (my conclusion, which his inaugural applied, was that Lincoln never used a two-or- three-syllable word where a one-syllable word would do, and never used two or three words where one word would do).” p. 270. ………. “From Billy Graham he obtained a list of biblical quotations….” p. 270. ………. “He wanted it [the Inaugural Address] to be the shortest in the twentieth century…..” p. 272. ………. “And yet the same revolutionary belief for which our forebears fought is still at issue around the globe, the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but the hand of God.” p. 275. ……… “…an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace.” p. 276.

To be continued.

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