Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (17)

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.


JFK: “The Constitution has served us extremely well…but…all its clauses had to be interpreted by men and had to be made to work by men, and it has to be made to work today in an entirely different world from the day in which it was written.” p. 437. ………. “Within the Executive Branch he accepted responsibility for every major decision, delegating work but never responsibility to Cabinet, National Security Council, Joint Chiefs of Staff, White House aides or other advisers.” p. 437. ………. “The Joint Chiefs of Staff… ‘advise you the way a man advises another one about whether he should marry a girl…he doesn’t have to live with her.’ ” p. 438. ………. “…he liked hearing alternatives and assumptions challenged before he made up his mind.” p. 438. ……….”As his months in office increased, however, he talked more and more about the limitations of power.” p. 439.

To be continued.

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