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Archive for the category “J K Elusive Hero (0) PREFACE”


January 22, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) In yesterday’s mail I received my copy of Chris Matthews new book Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.*

*Chris’s book is published by Simon & Schuster (2011) Retail Price: $27.50.

I have been on the wait list for 6 weeks at my local library to check out one of their 4 copies, but as of yet have not received a call.

Thanks to EBAY seller ED in Rhode Island, I was able to get a copy at half-price with free shipping.

Last night I read the Preface & Chapter 1.  Today, I will discuss the Preface.

Right off the bat, I found it interesting to learn that, like me, Chris Matthews “grew up in a Republican family” & when KENNEDY “came out of nowhere”….”we’d never heard of him.”

For Chris that was in 1956 when JFK sought the Vice-Presidential nomination, but for me it was in 1960 when JFK won the Presidential nomination.

Chris goes on to write that while he supported NIXON in 1960, he was “entranced” by “the glamorous JFK.”  So it was for me.

Another difference, I learned, was that Chris “was overwhelmed & cried” when Nixon lost.  I don’t think I was that upset, but everyone in my family, all who had voted for Nixon, was surprised.

But we both “found JFK the most interesting political figure of the day…(&) wanted to meet him, be in the same room with him, study him.”

It is Chris’s last statement in the Preface which I find the most intriguing:

“In searching for Jack Kennedy, I found a fighting prince (who) was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.”**

**Chris was born on Dec 17, 1945 in Philadelphia while I was born on June 15, 1948 in Knoxville.  Like JFK Chris’s ancestry is Irish Catholic while mine is English Protestant.

                    Chris Matthews
        Host of Hardball on MSNBC
        Photo by chetlyzarko (2007)


“Chris Matthews sets the nation’s 1st Roman Catholic president in the context of his family (&) makes no secret of his adoration for Kennedy, but…offers a valuable reminder of Kennedy’s skill at uniting toughness with inspirational leadership.”*

*Review by Jacob Heilbrunn, nytimes.com, 11-6-2011

“Matthews, like millions of Americans, clearly still feels the spell cast by JFK even now, nearly a half-century after his assassination.”**

**Review by James Endrst, USA TODAY

“Largely sifting familiar material, (this) new portrait (of JFK) may be overly admiring, but it still beckons.”***

***Review by William McKeen, http://www.bostonglobe.com, 11-20-11

“It is hard for a book to be loving, affectionate & honest, but Chris…has done it. He captures JFK’s virtues & flaws.  JFK is an insightful piece of work & a great time.”****

****Review by Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

JFK+50 will continue to do postings on JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO as we read slowly through the book.  Please come back for future postings.


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