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A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy [Paperback]

By Thomas Reeves (Author)
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Item description for A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy by Thomas Reeves...

No issue is more hotly debated than how, or even if, a politician's private life affects his public competence. In A Question of Character John F. Kennedy's two lives---public and private---are examined to answer this timely question. Respected historian and biographer Thomas C. Reeves reveals discrepancies between JFK's public persona, which has reached mythic proportions, and his scandalous private behavior. Most illuminating is the constant theme or Joe Kennedy's almost total control of JFK's behavior and politics throughout most of his son's career.

"The John Kennedy who emerges from these pages was not a man of good moral character. He was reared not to be good but to win." --- Los Angeles Times

Reeves has provided the most truthful and balanced assessment of John F. Kennedy to date. Written more in sorrow than in anger, A Question of Character explores the sensitive and difficult question of how people, and history itself, ought to judge the relationship between personal character and national leadership.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Three Rivers Press
Pages   544
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.45" Width: 5.48" Height: 1.21"
Weight:   1.36 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 31, 1997
Publisher   Three Rivers Press
ISBN  076151287X  
ISBN13  9780761512875  
UPC  086874512870  

Availability  0 units.

More About Thomas Reeves

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Thomas C. Reeves is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. He is also the author of "The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy and "The Empty Church: The Suicide of Liberal Christianity. He lives in Franksville, Wisconsin.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > United States > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > United States
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Presidents & Heads of State
5Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > People, A-Z > ( K ) > Kennedy, John F.
6Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > 1945 - Present
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy?

A distorted faith leading to dysfunctional lives  May 20, 2008
As a "life-time student" of Christianity and culture, a believer in "intentional parenting", and a careful student of history, it is always a concern to see people in high places that have such distortion and conflict between their professed faith and their lives. The Kennedy family acutely displays what continues not only in their own family, but also continues through several of the later Presidents and Presidential candidates of the late 20th century and beginning of the 21st. Perhaps no other President has had such a profound influence in how images are projected; perhaps no other President successfully manufactured such a disconnect with who they really were.
Reeves is not a poison pen, as some have claimed, but rather he is a well-researched, though at times also a sorrowful reporter of what he had found to be behind the Camelot image. No one can read this or other factual accounts of the family without wondering how the conflicts between their faith, their personna, and their actions came to be. I found the insights into both Joe Sr and Rose and their "brand" of faith are helpful in better understanding not only JFK, but also the rest of the Kennedy family. A religion with an emphasis on sacraments over intentional discipleship made the disconnect we observe in the scandals of many "religious people" more likely. This family was taught to practice a religion instead of living a faith.
As I write this review, we are in the process of choosing candidates for the next Presidential contest, and the conflicts between their claimed faith and their marketed image, when laid next to their stated policies and histories are again showing that many of them possess questionable character and grave leadership concerns. This book helps to illustrate a deeper insight of how family functions and dysfunctions may lead to questions of character.
A hatchet job on one of our most courageous & revolutionary presidents  Jun 9, 2007
Too bad there is so much money to be made by trying to assassinate President Kennedy's character. Authors like this guy and Sy Hersh won't get a penny from me.
This book starts with an incorrect statement of a fact  Apr 2, 2007
This book starts with a totally incorrect statement. JFK took the oath of office on Jan 20th, 1961. This is dictated by the 20th. Amendment
John F. Kennedy was not someone to look up to  Mar 21, 2006
Thomas C. Reeves' fine book lays bare the myth of "Camelot"-which the Kennedy family and its sycophants have tried to perpetuate since the day he was shot-as well as the myths surrounding the entire family, which is perhaps the most dysfunctional family ever to achieve significant political power in American history. Fortunately, for America, the Kennedy family's last gasps of any political significance are being uttered by Ted Kennedy, who would probably be finishing his prison term now instead of serving in the U.S. Senate, for having been responsible for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969, just as she was about to celebrate her 29th birthday.

Today, few young Americans even know who John F. Kennedy was-or care about him-because less than a handful of his positive accomplishments had any lasting significance. Like William McKinley, the fact that an assassin cut short Kennedy's life and presidency might be all that Americans recall about him 50 years from now. More than 40 years after Kennedy's death, the full extent of his life-long medical problems is still being withheld from the American people and conservative scholars, and Reeves recounts many of those problems.

Kennedy launched this nation into Vietnam; and his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, was the architect of that lost war and the enormous suffering that it produced. More than 50,000 brave Americans died, and it impaled this nation's honor on the horns of a tragedy that still haunts policy makers and citizens alike. Even before Vietnam, Kennedy was responsible for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, where Fidel Castro humiliated him completely. This led to more than 40 years of enslavement for the Cuban people. The Cuban Missile Crisis, or Kennedy's confrontation with the Soviet Union, might have given rise to a nuclear winter.

His reckless affairs with women were only outdone by his irresponsible and dangerous relationships with mobsters such as Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana. These two character flaws merged when both Kennedy and Giancana had sexual liaisons with Judith Campbell Exner, who was used as their go-between. Indeed, it is doubtful whether Kennedy would have become president in 1960 if the Mob had not helped him in Illinois and West Virginia-and Giancana claimed credit for that. Kennedy was the son of a bootlegger, and the apple did not fall far from the tree, with respect to the three Kennedy brothers who entered national politics.

John F. Kennedy was not someone to look up to, much less deify. Many of us came to that conclusion reluctantly, years ago, with a sense of sadness rather than anger. Like the potentate in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes," the myth about Kennedy and his feet of clay have become clear for all to see with the passage of time. Greatness is often achieved in times of war, and Kennedy never won the war with Cuba, much less the Vietnam War that he started, nor did he win the Cold War-which Reagan won. Kennedy was a tragic Shakespearean figure who may be forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history, in no small part because of the question of character that Reeves described brilliantly in his terrific book.
crud---avoid  Jan 3, 2006
As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service (and President Kennedy's interaction with the agency), I was much interested in this book by Thomas--not relation (thank God!) to Richard---Reeves. This is, quite simply, a hatchet job on JFK, and not a very good one: a better one (!) comes from the poison pen of Seymour Hersh, who at least had better sources and a keener insight. Avoid.

vince palamara

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