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Profiles in Courage (Fall River Press Edition)

Profiles in Courage (Fall River Press Edition)

3.8 42
by John F. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy (Introduction), Robert F. Kennedy (Foreword by)

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During 1954-1955, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. senator, chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, Profiles in Courage -- now featuring a new


During 1954-1955, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. senator, chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, Profiles in Courage -- now featuring a new Introduction by Caroline Kennedy, as well as Robert Kennedy's Foreword written for the 1964 memorial edition -- resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. It is, as Robert Kennedy writes, "not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

Editorial Reviews

Springfield Republican
A book that deserves reading by every American.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

(From the Epilogue by John Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy) All our lives, people approached us to say, "Your father changed my life." They go on to describe their own commitment to public service, community involvement, and work for social justice John F. Kennedy inspired one generation, and now others, to believe that politics can be a noble profession.

For President Kennedy, history was not a dull, dry subject, but came alive in the stories of people who risked their careers to stand up for what was right for our country, even when it was not the easy thing to do. Our father often used to say, "One man can make a difference, and every man should try." Of course, this applies to each of us, including women. Many people first learn how this is true by reading this book. The leaders of the past, like Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and Edmund G. Ross, have set a shining example for Americans today to live up to.

A few years ago, our family decided that the best way to honor John F, Kennedy would be to honor people who were continuing his work, who shared his vision for our country and his commitment to giving of themselves to make it a better place to live. We created the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to be awarded to elected officials who exemplify the kind of courage he wrote about.

At that time, some people said, "There are no courageous politicians today. You will never find anyone to receive the award." But they were wrong. We have learned that at all levels of government, in all parts of our country, across the political spectrum, they are there. As a society, we need to encourage people to choose public service as a career, and we need to celebrate them forstanding on principle.

Interestingly, many of the stories in this book tell of courage in standing up against slavery around the time of the Civil War. More than one hundred years later, the struggle for civil rights goes on. The first two Profiles in Courage Award winners, and many other courageous Americans, prove that we must never stop fighting for what we believe is right. Our first recipient, Alabama Congressman Carl Elliott, fought for equal opportunity in education and was redistricted of his congressional seat in retaliation for his courageous and principled stand. Our second winner, Georgia Democratic Congressman Charles Weltner, took an oath to support his party's ticket in the upcoming fall election. When segregationist Lester Maddox won the preliminary and became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, Weltner followed his conscious and resigned from politics, rather than violate his oath, or belief that segregation was wrong.

Other winners include Congressman Mike Synar and Henry Gonzalez. They battled powerful special interest groups like the gun lobby, the tobacco lobby, and the banking industry, fighting instead for the individual citizens who sent them to Washington. Governor Jim Florio lost his re-election campaign after he passed the nation's toughest gun control law in New Jersey. Governor Lowell Weicker introduced Connecticut's first state income tax in spite of its unpopularity. Long-time teacher and school superintendent Corkin Cherubini won the Profile in Courage Award for fighting against a system which separated children on the basis of race rather than ability, in spite of the fact that his life was threatened by members of his community. Alabama Judge Charles Price was honored for upholding the separation of church and state by ruling that another judge's courtroom display of the ten commandments violated the First Amendment. And, when the armed and dangerous Freemen tried to take over a small Montana community, 1998 Profile in Courage Winner County Attorney Nickolas Murnion stood alone against them, upholding democracy and the rule of law.

Each of these men risked their careers to do what they believed was right, and often they risked their lives. We hope that each person who reads this book and learns about courageous people in public life will realize that when we face a difficult decision which is bound to be unpopular, we are not alone. Each of us must stand up for what we believe in and be willing to take the consequences, if we want to make our country a better place to live.

Excerpted from Profiles In Courage. Reprinted with permission by BD&L.

Meet the Author

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) graduated from Harvard with honors in 1940 and served as a P. T. Boat Commander in the South Pacific during World War II. He was decorated twice by the Navy for the serious injuries he suffered when his boat was rammed in two while attacking a Japanese destroyer in the Solomons, and for "his courage, endurance and excellent leadership" in towing injured members of his crew to safety.

A writer and newspaperman, Kennedy in 1940 wrote Why England Slept, a best-selling analysis of England's unpreparedness for war, termed by the New York Times "a notable textbook for our times."

The son of Joseph P. Kennedy, former Ambassador to Great Britain, and the grandson of Boston's one-time Mayor and Congressman John F. Fitzgerald, Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946 at the age of twenty-nine, and re-elected in 1948 and 1950. In 1952 he became the third Democrat ever elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, receiving the largest vote ever polled by a Senator in the history of the state. He was President of the United States from 1961 to 1963. He was the youngest man ever elected to the Oval Office and the first Roman Catholic President.

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Profiles in Courage 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
What is courage? And how does one express it in the political realm? Politicians have a rather bad reputation, and some of it is deserved, but all of it is not. Before he became President, while serving in the United States Senate, John F. Kennedy wrote this book to chronicle the lives of eight United States Senators from history who showed courage by following their consciences in opposition to their party, their section, or even prevailing public opinion. Kennedy does not argue whether they were right or wrong in their beliefs and actions. In fact, some of them took exactly opposition positions on certain issues from others. But what Kennedy wished to emphasize is that we do not necessarily have to agree with people to admire the courage that it took for them to stand up for what they thought was right. The list includes John Quincy Adams, later President, who in opposition to his Federalist party voted for the Embargo Bill to keep English ships from attacking American ones; Daniel Webster who set aside his own opposition to slavery to support the Compromise of 1850 which effectively gave the North more time to prepare for the Civil War; Thomas Hart Benton who supported the Union in spite of the fact that his state of Missouri was a slave-holding state and thus helped keep Missouri from seceding; Sam Houston who also supported the Union in spite of the fact that his state of Texas was a slave state and later when it did secede was ousted as governor at the time; Edmund G. Ross who voted not to remove Andrew Johnson from office; Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, a southerner who tried to heal the breach between North and South caused by the Civil War; George W. Norris, a progressive Republican who opposed his party on many issues in the early twentieth century; and Robert A. Taft who objected to the Nuremberg Trials following World War II. One may not agree with all the political principles which Kennedy sets forth in the first chapter, but he still makes some interesting and important points. Unfortunately, he includes a number of quotations in which some form of the "d" word is found and the term "God" is used as an interjection. Otherwise, it is an enlightening account of important historical people and events. In the 1960s a television series entitled Profiles in Courage was made, using seven of the eight examples cited by Kennedy (Lamar was excluded, perhaps because he had fought for the South during the Civil War) and adding several others. It's generally conceded today that Kennedy had much to do with the opening and closing chapters of the book, but Dr. Jules Davids and Ted Sorensen, later an assistant to President Kennedy, contributed most of what lies between. It still won a Pulitzer Prize.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was sitting in Barnes & Noble, waiting for my friend to arrive. She lives far from me, and B&N is a half-way point for us. Anyway, on my way to the chairs in the back, where I was planning to sit down and read "The Princess Diaries", I saw this book in the little bargain section. I love JFK and I'd heard of the book, so I decided to pick it up and read it instead. I loved every minute of it. I learned about some politicians who I'd never heard of (Ross is a good example), and I couldn't help but feel inspired to always stand up for what I believe in. It also reminded me of the reasons I admire Mr. Kennedy as a president, despite the fact that I'm both 16 and a conservative Republican. The book showed exactly what made him great, and reminded me of all the reasons our country is great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I listened to this on audio cassette. As I began listening to it, I began to wonder if it would have even gotten published if the author had been John Doe. I did come away from listening to the book admiring President Kennedy's extensive vocabulary. Also, John Jr.'s reading of it seemed to lack spirit. With one exception, I though it was informative but not that interesting. The one part that was extremely interesting was the part about Edmund G. Ross. That section was breathtaking. It was Edmund G. Ross's vote who kept Andrew Johnson in office after Lincoln's assasination. If Senator Ross had voted differently, the politicians who wanted to treat the South as vanquished territories would have been in power. If that had happened, would the United States be what it is today?
ljethrogibbs46 More than 1 year ago
The book is quite interesting & absorbing & a solid contribution to American history.  The reason for only 2 stars is that it WAS ghostwritten by Kennedy friend/speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, who admitted as much before he died.  JFK not only accepted the Pulitzer Prize for it, he said nothing about who really wrote it.  Admittedly, he supposedly did give the prize money to charity.  But his own acttions hardly qualify as a "profile in courage".
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EJ43 More than 1 year ago
In our greed based society, these timeless stories of intrepidity need to be introduced to the youth of our country!
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Hello people, it's 2010 and I cannot believe the Kennedy's are still trying to convince the world that JFK wrote this book. It was written by Ted Sorensen. It was made an instant bestseller because Joseph Kennedy bought thousands of copies. google, google, google.
Huskerfan More than 1 year ago
I have loved this book since my first reading sometime in the 60s. It is still just as topical as it was then and always enlightening. You can't read about these men without being inspired. And, of course, the writer is so very inspirational on his own. I have the editions with forward by Senator Robert Kennedy as well as the original edition. I have just added this edition to my library of Kennedy books as a very important part of my collection. Caroline's memories and her love for her father, can be heard as she writes. She is an accomplished writer on her own, and adds just the right touch to this edition.
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Should have elaborated in depth on family history.
ericmoreno More than 1 year ago
This book has inspired me to do more. John F. Kennedys' wrtting is the best. He tells it as it is and, from his own words. This book has helped me alot to think differently brfore joining the Marine Corps.
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