Monday, April 12, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (22).

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: “…those who make a peaceful revolution impossible will make a violent revolution inevitable” p. 602. ………. “…a world made safe for diversity.” p. 606. ………. “…believed that the most relevant contributions from his own country’s experience were not its concepts of private property or political parties but its traditions of human dignity and liberty.” p. 607. ………. JFK: “I think it is a very dangerous untidy world…we will have to live with it.” p. 608. ………. “While such a conference [summit meeting]…might be necessary when war threatened, or useful as ‘a place where agreements…achieved at a lower level could be finally, officially approved…a summit is not a place to carry on negotiations which involve details.” p. 610.

JFK: “The Soviets and ourselves give wholly different meanings to the same words—war, peace, democracy, and popular will.” P. 614. ………. “…the President picked out points in Khrushchev’s letter with which he could agree…. p. 623. ………. “What Izvestia had to print was Kennedy’s statement that the great threat to peace ‘is the effort by the Soviet Union to communize…the entire world…and to impose Communism by force’; that the Soviet Union had resumed nuclear tests even while its representatives were at the bargaining table; that if it would look ‘only to its national interests and to providing a better life for its people,’ all would be well.” p. 626. ………. “He prepared for each of those meetings—whether it was the President of France or Togo—with a searching inquiry into all available facts about the other country, its politics, its problems and its personalities.” p. 649.

To be continued.

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