An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

by Robert Dallek
4.1 29

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Overview

An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek

An Unfinished Life is the first major, single-volume life of John F. Kennedy to be written by a historian in nearly four decades. Drawing upon previously unavailable material and never-before-opened archives to tell Kennedy’s story. We learn for the first time just how sick Kennedy was, what medications he took and concealed from all but a few, and how severely his medical condition affected his actions as President. We learn for the first time the real story of how Bobby was selected as Attorney General. Dallek reveals exactly what Jack’s father did to help his election to the presidency, and he follows previously unknown evidence to show what path JFK would have taken in the Vietnam entanglement had he survived.

Dallek lifts JFK out of the gossips and back onto the world stage, showing that while he was the son of privilege, he faced great obstacles and fought on with remarkable courage. Never shying away from Kennedy's weaknesses, Dallek also brilliantly explores his strengths. The result is a portrait of a bold, brave, human Kennedy, once again a hero


About the Author

Robert Dallek is one of the most highly regarded historians in America, and the author of six books, including the acclaimed two-volume of Lyndon Johnson, Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant. His Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy won the 1980 Bancroft Prize and was nominated for an American Book Award, and American Style of Foreign Policy was a 1983 New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316172387
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 05/13/2003
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 848
Product dimensions: 6.37(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.75(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Robert Dallek is one of the most highly regarded historians in America today and the author of more than a dozen books, including his two-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant, and Nixon and Kissinger. Currently a faculty member at Stanford University's prestigious Washington program, he has also taught at Boston University, Columbia University, UCLA and Oxford.

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Unfinished Life 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before reading, I heard the author on the radio discussing the medicinal side of JFK's life. I also heard about his very high sex drive. After finishing the book, I felt that I knew little else that was new and wondered, Why did he take the time to write this? Then I recalled that he received exclusive access to JFK papers that have otherwise been off limits to historians and the public at large. If the reader has little knowledge of JFK's life, this book will help; however, for those who know more than a little bit, I would not partake.
Jski8 More than 1 year ago
Dallek does well in presenting historical details in a fairly unbiased fashion. I learned quite a bit and understand some pieces better. The Cuban Missile Crisis is skimmed over a bit which surprised me. if you are looking for a light read, this book is not for you. This book is intended for those who enjoy history, want to further their knowledge a bit, or challenge their own ideas. it's not written to read quickly; this book is intensive to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having studied under Professor Dallek as both an undergraduate and graduate student, I believe that his scholarship is outstanding, his prose is superb, and all of his works are intriguing and intellectually stimulating. I would recommend any of his works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 16 year old girl. I stumbled upon a movie entitled 'Jackie, Ethel and Joan, Women of Camelot' a few years ago. It truly fascinated me and I bought the book by J.Randy Taraborrelli. After that, I voraciously read books about the Kennedys, not so much as about the political aspect of the era as the personal. Now Jack, Jackie, Ethel, Joan, Bobby are just as much alive for me as most of my friends, even more so in some instances. I was not shocked in the purest sense of the world by much of An Unfinished Life, but was undoubtably suprised by how much of his life was cloaked in mystery. Although in my opinion to recapture a person's inner world on paper is next to impossible, An Unfinished Life is probably the most successful at depicting Kennedy . His was truly an unfinished life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only 25% thru book and learning some significant information about JFK, his family and friends that was heretofore unknown by me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best political (and possibly best overall) biography that I have ever read. Dalleck pulls no punches regarding Kennedy's personal shortcommings, but at the same time presents a fair and balanced biography of his life. Maticulously researched and documented, he presents a vivid portrait of a man as President as well as a human being complete with many human failures as well as fine qualities and strengths. Professor Dalleck presents a highly recomended effort that is easy to read and very informative especially in the area of JFK's numerous health problems and the family's efforts to conceal them from the public. This work not only contains an outstanding overview of JFK's life and provides superb documentation for his actions throughout his career, it also represents his Presidency in detail that few others have been able to match. It is amazing to note after 40 years, how close we came to the end of the world as we knew it in the 60's and how much JFK did to prevent nuclear war and nutralize the Soviet threat. Other problems of the era such as Civil Rights and the vietnam war are also covered in the same through manner. It is a given fact that JFK would probably not be elected in today's political climate and at the same time it interesting to see all that Joseph Kennedy was able to do to get him elected. As one who has read almost every JFK biography over the last 40 years, this one is the best and most through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a time that sometimes seems so singularly transfixed by the surreal images and questionable utterances emanating from the electronic screens that surround us, it is interesting that a book so eminently capable of smashing some of these publicly held illusions should arrive on the scene. Indeed, ¿An Unfinished Life¿ is such a marvelously conceived and well-written book that one feels ambivalent and intellectually torn as he or she rushes through it in order to learn of the stunning new perspectives and documented facts about the already so-well explored life of John F. Kennedy, for one wishes to simultaneously slow down the pace of the reading to better appreciate and enjoy the sheer profundity of the language and style confected by Professor Robert Dallek here even as one rushes to the next pages and the next set of facts and figures he so scrupulously and seamlessly threads together. Taken as a whole, he has woven into whole cloth what can only be described as a quite new and novel perspective on the whole of Kennedy¿s personality, life, and presidency. Make no mistake about it; this is a fabulously researched, documented, and written product, the result of this acclaimed historian¿s pain-stakingly slow and exhaustive approach to re-examining the public facts surrounding the private and personal particulars of John F. Kennedy¿s life such that we learn the degree to which his public image was an arduously constructed set of misleading half-truths designed to hide from the public the degree to which Kennedy suffered from a whole range of physical afflictions and serious illnesses that if known might have destroyed any chance he had to gain the presidency. We also learn many more particulars about the ways the Kennedy family strove to win what they wanted at almost any cost to others as well as to themselves. So too, do we learn more about the particular social and personal foibles of JFK, such that his many randy adventures in spite of his health and his ambitions could have seriously endangered the whole juggernaut toward claiming the presidency, which Papa Joe Kennedy had evidently come to claim as his son¿s eventual birthright. What we learn here in total tends to change our view of what Kennedy was, both as a private man struggling to live each and every day as if it were literally his last, and as a public leader, who often had to overcome physical pain and mental anguish in order to perform on the world stage. Recognizing the true grit Kennedy employed over decades in order to become the kind of spectacular over-achiever he became is a lesson in what is possible for those rare individuals who are able to overcome such pain and anguish and who strive despite their personal hardships. On the other hand, I find it frightening to recognize the degree to which the Kennedy family orchestrated what has to be the most masterful cover-up of JFK¿s medical conditions from the time of his service in WWII, when he was so badly afflicted by physical infirmities that he should never have been allowed to serve in the active military, to after his death, when they colored the facts to suit the kind of growing myth of JFK as this hearty, healthy, and athletically gifted young man cut down in his physical prime. I am least impressed by the treatment of JFK¿s policy toward Vietnam, which the author insists was both restrained and limited in its scope. While I agree he was unlikely to have gone along with the kinds of disastrous escalations that both LBJ and Richard Nixon endorsed, I am not entirely convinced that JFK was as sanguine and cautious as the author claims. After all, the man most responsible for the ardent escalation and execution of the war in Vietnam was Robert McNamara, a man hand-picked by Kennedy for the job precisely because of his enthusiasm and his rational (read here ¿math-oriented and quantitative¿) belief in gathering and interpreting the facts. I fear that under the circumstances, JFK might have fal
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good book, but we knew most of this. Jack Kennedy was a great president. He inspired Americans to enter into public service for the good of the country. That was a noble calling we hear less often today.
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Wonderful
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr Dallek has written an outstanding historical piece, quite possibly the finest ever written about America's 35th President! He has revealed to the reader many things previously unknown such as the President's true medical condition, as well his relationship with his father who helped him win the election, and his brother Bobby who helped him run the country. This is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about President Kennedy, and the world in which he lived.