The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Friday, August 15, 2014

THE KENNEDY HALF CENTURY: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F Kennedy By Larry J Sabato

The Kennedy Half-Century by Larry J. SabatoPublisher:  Bloomsbury USA
Release Date:  October 15, 2013
Pages:  624
Genre:  History

Reviewed By WC

About the Book:  John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago—yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato—himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency—explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.

A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn’t died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK’s assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public’s view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK’s presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions—often in surprising ways—of every president since.

Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half-Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK’s short presidency has had on our national psyche.

WC's Review:  If you have an obsession that becomes a habit, then you must concern yourself that preoccupation be pure. If not, it becomes an unsavory part of your character. And as part of your character, it lessens your humanity and becomes the thorn akin to that which the apostle Paul carried with him the rest of his life.

Author Larry J Sabato does not concern himself with Kennedy's fatal character flaw. He chooses to impart research with extensive notes and citations to convince us that Kennedy, through his persona, has become the role model that all subsequent presidents of these United States have emulated.

The author also convinces us that the only true man of resolve and character since Kennedy was the president who most ofter compared himself to, and quoted him most often. He doesn't, however, forget that Reagan was his own man and through his charisma and belief system, akin to Kennedy's, was able to bring an end to the communist system and restore America once again to its rightful role as world leader. 

Sad that Kennedy was assassinated. It was inevitable, according to this author. The question of whether Oswald acted alone will remain with us always. Sabato gives us many theories as to the conspiracy, if indeed there was one, and gives ample evidence that such things could not have happened. Others he does not rule out.

Kennedy fans will become enraptured with this exhaustive study of Kennedy and his mystique, along with Jackie, brothers Robert and Ted, LBJ, and principal others who influenced this man of destiny. 

Son John John, with his salute to his father during the funeral procession, endeared the Kennedy family in our hearts forever.

Will the Kennedy legacy endure the next half-century? No doubt.  5 Stars

About the Author:  Larry Joseph Sabato is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, director of their Center for Politics, and a political analyst.