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Archive for the tag “Profiles In Courage”


August 6, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we begin our report on Senator John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Profiles In Courage.”  

JFK’s book highlights the stories of eight United States Senators who risked their political careers to pursue justice.

Among the Senators included in the book are John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton & Sam Houston.

In the introduction to the Memorial Edition, Robert Kennedy writes:

“Courage is the virtue that President Kennedy most admired.  That is why this book so fitted his personality, his beliefs.”

And in the Preface, JFK gives credit to both his research associate, Theodore C. Sorensen & his wife, Jacqueline.


JFK Library Image

The title of Chapter I is “Courage & Politics”

JFK begins by saying that “This is a book about the most admirable of human virtues–courage.”

And he goes on to make reference to Ernest Hemingway’s definition of courage as “Grace under pressure.”

JFK writes of the many criticismspast & present, of United States Senators.

He says, however, the he is convinced that the perceived decline in political courage….

“has been less in the Senate than in the public’s appreciation of the art of politics, of the nature & necessity for compromise & balance, & of the nature of the Senate as a legislative chamber.”

JFK talks about the pressures that Senators face.  

The 1st is the desire to be liked or “the way to get along is to go along.”

A Senator must decide if it is better to compromise in order to get a fair or poor bill passed as opposed to resisting compromise but getting as a result “no bill at all.”

The 2nd pressure is the desire to be re-elected.

JFK argues that this is not totally self-centered because the conscientious Senator wants to continue to be around to fight for his cause.

The 3rd pressure is that of the Senator’s constituency which include “unreasonable letters & impossible requests.”


May 15, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report on Chapter 4 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.

The title of Chapter 4 is Onions Burke & The 1956 Convention.

Kenneth O’Donnell says that when JFK arrived at Palm Beach, Dave saw that his room was filled with cartons of books from the Library of Congress.

These books were for the research required to write a book to be titled “Profiles In Courage.”

Recovering from back surgery, Kenny writes that JFK could only sleep for an hour or two so that he worked on the book “day & night, reading & writing notes & then drafts of the chapters on long yellow legal pads.”

On May 23, 1955, JFK arrived in the Nation’s Capital. It was 7 months after his 1st back surgery.  The next day, Kenny writes, Senator John F. Kennedy was on the Senate floor.

Kenny says that for the next 8 years while JFK was “never completely free from pain,” he was “never as crippled as he had been in 1954.”

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