The Power of Citizenship: Why John F. Kennedy Matters to a New Generation

The Power of Citizenship: Why John F. Kennedy Matters to a New Generation

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by Scott D. Reich
     
 

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Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's death, we find ourselves enmeshed in an era of political division and cynicism, where politicians talk past one another and the spirit of “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country” is less visible than it should be. We seem to have forgotten that we’re all on the same

Overview


Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's death, we find ourselves enmeshed in an era of political division and cynicism, where politicians talk past one another and the spirit of “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country” is less visible than it should be. We seem to have forgotten that we’re all on the same team. Fortunately, Scott D. Reich has given us The Power of Citizenship, a timely book to bring us back on track.

Reich asserts that the most powerful element of Kennedy’s legacy is his emphasis on the theme of citizenship, and that a rededication to the values Kennedy promoted will shine a bright path forward for our country. Evoking the hopes and aspirations of the 1960s, Reich recaptures the excitement of the Kennedy era. But what truly sets this book apart is the unique way it blends the romance of Camelot with the new frontiers of today—not only identifying modern challenges, but also offering a tangible blueprint for how we can improve our public discourse, be good citizens, and lift our nation to new heights of greatness.

Part history and part call to action, The Power of Citizenship hones in on the very essence of what made JFK so inspirational and timeless, reminding us once again that we must ask what we can do for our country. This is a must-read for Americans of all generations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Attorney and activist Reich analyzes the “ethics of service and sacrifice” in J.F.K.’s writings, speeches, and foreign and domestic policies, beginning with his famous inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” According to Reich, Kennedy’s ideals can be traced to classical thinkers such as Pericles. The author shows how the president himself acted with integrity and courage, as when he took sole responsibility for the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Unfortunately, in assessing J.F.K.’s policies, Reich occasionally shoehorns in elements that have little relationship to his theme, such as the Alliance for Progress, a Cold War–era aid program for Latin American countries. While the Alliance was an important initiative, it hardly mobilized a significant number of citizens. The last chapter, “Embracing Our Citizenship,” proves to be the weakest, containing a number of vague calls for an activist citizenry and obvious statements such as, “If you want to be a volunteer, seek out opportunities that need people to give their time and energy.” Though Reich provides an informative overview of the Kennedy administration’s idealism from a citizenship perspective, he too often does so in an uninspired way. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“Scott Reich’s book delivers a message of service and citizenship that is as essential today as it was when President Kennedy first asked what we could do for our country. At a time when it can be easy to focus on the differences that divide us, Scott makes a powerful and compelling case for the values that unite us.”
–Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)

"Scott Reich's The Power of Citizenship is the best and most interesting book written on the Kennedy Presidency in decades. But above all, The Power of Citizenship is one of the most moving books I have ever read on patriotism and citizenship, and the power of leadership to inspire both. This book will be read as a primer and a classic on the subjects it covers for many years to come."
–David Eisenhower, bestselling author of Eisenhower at War, 1943-1945

“Scott Reich has produced a timely look back at the meaning of the Kennedy Presidency and, even more importantly, the meaning of citizenship in our democracy. The Power of Citizenship is a challenge to all Americans.”
—Richard Reeves, bestselling author of President Kennedy: Profile of Power

"Scott Reich offers unique and compelling insights into JFK's focus on public service. Collectively, we must embrace President Kennedy's message of good citizenship and work together to strengthen our country—especially for the next generation."
—Governor Martin O'Malley (D-MD)

“Scott Reich has thoughtfully conveyed President Kennedy’s inspiring and enduring legacy of commitment to our nation.”
—Senator Susan M. Collins (R-ME)

“Reich’s book should move the next generation of American leaders to heed President Kennedy’s noble call to unite and achieve freedom for all.”
—Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

The Power of Citizenship is an antidote to the pervasive cynicism and rancor that marks much of today's politics.”
—Albert R. Hunt, Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Committee

“Many of us of the Kennedy erahave struggled with how to explain to our children why the years 1961-1963 meant so much to us. Fortunately, Scott Reich has found a way to explain the inexplicable. I'm buying a copy for each of my daughters.”
—David Shribman, Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pulitzer Prize winner

The Power of Citizenship helps illuminate the legacy of President Kennedy and his Administration. This book is an important contribution to a timely discussion of the meaning and importance of the Kennedy years.”
—Kenneth R. Feinberg, Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Board of Directors

“Any American interested in civic responsibility and the qualities of true leadership can find powerful insights in JFK’s wisdom. These insights are aptly portrayed in Scott Reich’s The Power of Citizenship, a must-read for anyone interested in the importance of duty and citizenship in these turbulent times.”
—Christopher Kennedy Lawford, bestselling author of Recover to Live

"Reich's talent for capturing lessons from the past is matched here by his clarity of vision on how we can use those lessons to move our nation forward. ”
—Governor Jack A. Markell (D-DE)

“Mr. Reich has done a service to a new generation of Americans to whom the torch of freedom—of which JFK so eloquently spoke—is now being passed. ”
—Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY)

“At a time when Americans have less faith in Washington to solve big problems, Scott Reich's book is a heartening reminder of President Kennedy's ability to inspire Americans to achieve great goals, ‘Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’”
—Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

"A The future of our nation has been passed to the millennial generation, and this book was written for them: it inspires, informs, and calls for the new action we need."
—Antonia Hernández, President & CEO, California Community Foundation

“A fresh look at JFK from a fresh voice of the new generation to which the torch is now being passed. Scott Reich has provided a fascinating and thoughtful perspective to those of us who were participants in the search for a New Frontier.”
—Dan H. Fenn, Jr., Staff Assistant, President Kennedy, l961-1963, Founding Director, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

"Reich calls on us to carry forward President Kennedy's legacy and overcome the challenges of our own time by meeting the responsibilities of citizenship."
—Adam Frankel, Former speechwriter to President Barack Obama

“Upon reading The Power of Citizenship, one comes to appreciate Kennedy’s profound impact on our American civil society. ”
—Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, President, SUNY College at Old Westbury, Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem, NY

“Scott Reich provides the hope we need to overcome our current political impasse. In this eloquent and inspiring book, he identifies a core of idealism that ennobles politics and speaks to a new civic-minded generation.”
—Michael A. Fitts, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

"Reich’s extraordinarily well-researched and well-written work should be of interest both to young Americans today and those who seek their support."
—Alvin S. Felzenberg, Ph.D., author of The Leaders We Deserved and a Few We Didn't: Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781939529367
Publisher:
BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date:
10/15/2013
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,192,851
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Scott D. Reich is a practicing attorney at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York and has done pro bono work for the Brooklyn Family Court and the New York Legal Assistance Group. In 2010, he was appointed by former New York Governor David Paterson to serve on the College Council of SUNY College at Old Westbury. He serves on the North American Board of the Union for Reform Judaism, which serves 1.5 million people; the Board of Directors of the School for Language and Communication Development, an organization providing educational services to children on the autism spectrum; and the Board of Trustees of Temple Sinai of Roslyn. Reich has appeared as a guest political commentator on Gotham Radio, a talk show focused on politics and current events. He earned a B.A. in history and communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was president of his class.

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The Power of Citizenship: Why John F. Kennedy Matters to a New Generation 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With the upcoming 50th anniversary of JFK's death, I wanted to read something about him. I bought this book because it seemed to be different from the others, looking forward instead of backward. I'm very impressed by the way Reich was able to make the JFK story relevant, especially for young people. With all the nonsense going on in politics today, this book brilliantly demonstrates how we can look past our differences and improve our society. It's also a fast read; easy to digest and not too heavy. I'm already recommending this book to family and friends
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent read from start to finish. The author brilliantly captures the essence of JFK, his legacy, and the impact he had on the country. He explores why JFK’s call to his fellow citizens to get involved and provide service to others and to the country was crucial to the United States during the early 1960s and why that call matters more than ever today. This book provides great insight and offers interesting anecdotes into the significant events of JFK’s life before becoming President as well as the major issues he dealt with while in office. What distinguishes this book from other works written about JFK is that it is not just a historical recap of JFK’s life and his presidency, but also makes a compelling argument for why JFK’s ideas and vision on citizenship should resonate with the country today and how it would make a real difference. This book is a call to action for today’s generation by referencing the ideology of one of this nation’s greatest leaders. I have read many books both on this subject and the historical genre and this one truly stands out for me, both for its content as well as the context.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago