Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero

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The critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling biography of John F. Kennedy, by Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball.

“What was he like?”

Jack Kennedy said the reason people read biography is to answer that basic question. What was he like, this man whose own wife called him “that elusive, unforgettable man?” In this New York Times bestselling biography, Chris Matthews answers that question with the verve of a novelist. We see this most beloved president in the company of friends. We see and feel him close-up, having fun and giving off that restlessness of his. We watch him navigate his life from privileged, rebellious youth to gutsy American president. We witness his bravery in war and selfless rescue of his PT boat crew. We watch JFK as a young politician learning to play hardball and watch him grow into the leader who averts a nuclear war. Matthews’s extraordinary biography is based on personal interviews with those closest to JFK, oral histories by top political aide Kenneth O’Donnell and others, documents from his years as a student at Choate, and notes from Jacqueline Kennedy’s first interview after Dallas. As Matthews writes: “I found a fighting prince never free of pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father’s son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.”

“Filled with the vitality and spirit that made Jack Kennedy such a magical figure. Chris Matthews shows the cunning and determination beneath that magic. It’s an awesome and delightful book.” —Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
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About the author

Chris Matthews is the host of MSNBC’s Hardball. He is the author of Jack Kennedy—Elusive Hero; Tip and the Gipper—When Politics Worked; Kennedy and Nixon; Hardball; and now Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Nov 1, 2011
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Pages
496
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ISBN
9781451635102
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
History / General
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The New York Times bestseller about the historic dealings between Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill—“A superb tribute to the neglected art of compromise” (Daily News (New York)).

Tip and the Gipper is an “entertaining and insightful” (The Wall Street Journal) history of a time when two great political opponents served together for the benefit of the country. Chris Matthews was an eyewitness to this story as top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who waged a principled war of political ideals with President Ronald Reagan from 1980 to 1986. Together, the two men became one of history’s most celebrated political pairings—the epitome of how ideological opposites can get things done.

When Reagan was elected to the presidency in a landslide victory over Jimmy Carter, Speaker O’Neill was thrust into the national spotlight as the highest-ranking leader of the Democratic Party—the most visible and respected challenger to President Reagan’s agenda of cutting the size of government programs and lowering tax rates. Together, the two leaders fought over the major issues of the day—welfare, taxes, covert military operations, and social security—but found their way to agreements that reformed taxes, saved Social Security, and, their common cause, set a course toward peace in Northern Ireland. Through it all they maintained respect for each other’s positions and worked to advance the country rather than obstruct progress.

At the time of congressional gridlock, Tip and the Gipper stands as model behavior worthy of study by journalists, academics, and students of the political process for years to come. “This book is an invitation to join Tip and the Gipper in tall tales about how grand it was in the old country” (The Washington Post).
The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir by Clint Hill that Kirkus Reviews called “clear and honest prose free from salaciousness and gossip,” Jackie Kennedy’s personal Secret Service agent details his very close relationship with the First Lady during the four years leading up to and following President John F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination.

In those four years, Hill was by Mrs. Kennedy’s side for some of the happiest moments as well as the darkest. He was there for the birth of John, Jr. on November 25, 1960, as well as for the birth and sudden death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy on August 8, 1963. Three and a half months later, the unthinkable happened.

Forty-seven years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the one vivid image that never leaves Clint Hill’s mind is that of President Kennedy’s head lying on Mrs. Kennedy’s lap in the back seat of the limousine, his eyes fixed, blood splattered all over the back of the car, Mrs. Kennedy, and Hill as well. Sprawled on the trunk of the car as it sped away from Dealey Plaza, Hill clung to the sides of the car, his feet wedged in so his body was as high as possible.

Clint Hill jumped on the car too late to save the president, but all he knew after that first shot was that if more shots were coming, the bullets had to hit him instead of the First Lady.

Mrs. Kennedy’s strength, class, and dignity over those tragic four days in November 1963 held the country together.

This is the story, told for the first time, of the man who perhaps held her together.
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