Special Counsel to the Late President.
: Bantam Books. 1966. New York
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: “A man does what he must…in spite of personal consequences, in spite of…dangers—and that is the basis of all human morality.” Profiles in Courage. p. 843. ………. “Life for him [JFK] had always been dangerous and uncertain, but he was too interested in its opportunities and obligations to be intimidated by its risks.” p. 843. ………. “H had so much more to do and to give that no religion or philosophy can rationalize his premature death as though it served some purpose….” p. 846. ………. “The world’s loss is the loss of what might have been.” p. 847. ………. “He had learned so much from the first and second Cuban crises, from his travels and talks with foreign leaders, from his successes and failures.” p. 849. ………. “Prime Minister Macmillan once wrote: ‘It is not the things that one did in one’s life that one regrets, bur rather the opportunities missed.’ ”
Jacqueline Kennedy: “He believed that one man can make a difference and that every man should try.” p. 852. ………. “He stood for excellence in an era of indifference—for hope in an era of doubt—for placing public service ahead of private interests—for reconciliation between East and West, black and white, labor and management.” p. 852. ………. “He had confidence in men and gave men confidence in the future.” p. 852. ………. “The public complacency…was partly due to a sense of hopelessness—that wars and recessions and poverty and political mediocrity could not be avoided, and that all the problems of the modern world were too complex to be understood, let alone unraveled.” p. 852. ………. “Customarily [history and posterity] reserve the mantle of greatness for those who win wars, not for those who prevent them.” p. 853.
The end. My next book for this blog, Books and Ideas, is entitled Memoirs by Harry S. Truman.