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Volume 1: John F Kennedy: 1917-1956

Fredrik Logevall



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03 December 2021
The definitive biography of JFK, from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Fredrik Logevall The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian's much-garlanded masterpiece- 'The most compelling biography I have read in years' Max Hastings By the time of his assassination in 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at the helm of the greatest power the world had ever seen. Born in 1917 to a striving Irish American family that had become among Boston's wealthiest, Kennedy knew political ambition from an early age, and his meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president cemented his status as one of the most mythologized figures in modern history.

Beckoned by this gap in our historical knowledge, Harvard professor Fredrik Logevall has spent much of the last decade combing through material unseen or unused by previous biographers, searching for and piecing together the 'real' John F. Kennedy -- resulting in a masterpiece that reviews have agreed will be the definitive work. This first volume of this sweeping two-part biography spans the first thirty-nine years of his life, revealing his early relationships, his formative and heroic experiences during World War II, and his deeply fascinating romance with Jackie Kennedy. In examining these pre-White House years, Logevall chronicles Kennedy's extraordinary life and times with authority and novelistic sensibility, putting the reader in every room where it happened. This landmark work offers the clearest portrait we have of a remarkable figure who still inspires individuals around the world.
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 44mm
Weight:   585g
ISBN:   9780241972014
ISBN 10:   0241972019
Pages:   816
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Fredrik Logevall is the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School and Professor of History at Harvard University. A specialist on US foreign relations history and modern international history, he was previously the Anbinder Professor of History at Cornell University. Before that he taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Center for Cold War Studies. Logevall is the author or editor of ten books, including Embers of War, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History and the 2013 Francis Parkman Prize, as well as the 2013 American Library in Paris Book Award and the 2013 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Reviews for JFK: Volume 1: John F Kennedy: 1917-1956

The most compelling biography I have read in years...There has been a host of JFK biographies, but this one excels for its narrative drive, fine judgments and meticulous research...makes the story seem a cliffhanger even though we know what is coming -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times * Excellent...shaping up to be the definitive account of JFK's life....Logevall has taken a familiar story and retold it in a way that is captivating and persuasive, as the tale of triumphant emergence from war and the tragedy of an immigrant family -- Daniel Finkelstein * The Times, Book of the Week * In this magisterial biography, Fredrik Logevall has deftly peeled away the many layers of myth surrounding John F. Kennedy to reveal a complex and surprisingly vulnerable human being. This first installment of his Kennedy biography is also the story of the rise of the United States to world power in a turbulent age. It's an essential read for anyone interested in the life and the times -- Margaret MacMillan, author of War: How Conflict Shaped Us Our best Vietnam War historian now turns to another subject you thought you already knew, and he makes JFK as alive and compelling as if you were reading about him for the first time.Fredrik Logevall portrays the young Kennedy with the masterful intimacy and sympathy that only a great scholar and writer could achieve -- George Packer, author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America and Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century Fredrik Logevall's brilliant biography rescues JFK from the myths that have long surrounded his early life without in any way obscuring the complexities of his character. There could be no more poignant reminder of what we were-far too soon-to lose -- John Lewis Gaddis, Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University An utterly incandescent study of one of the most consequential figures of the twentieth century. With JFK, Fredrik Logevall has re-invented the genre of presidential biography, casting new light on the man and, far more profoundly, on the times. A brisk, authoritative, and candid biography, and a wonderfully compelling history of America's heady and troubled mid-century rise -- Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States John F. Kennedy was a man before he was a monument, and among the great achievements of this wonderful book is how brilliantly Fredrik Logevall conveys both JFK's humanity and the history of the age.With precision and with grace, Logevall has given us a memorable portrait of a man and of the world that, before he shaped it, shaped him. A powerful, provocative, and above all compelling book * Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of The Soul of America * In his utterly absorbing JFK, Fred Logevall reconstructs not only a great man, but also his entire age. The author's sense of place and context merits comparison with Robert Caro -- Brendan Simms, author of Hitler: A Global Biography High-octane historical biography, placing a major subject in a new and arresting light -- Roy Foster, author of 'W. B. Yeats, A Life' In this first volume of Fredrik Logevall's definitive biography, JFK is all too engagingly and amiably human... I hope Logevall's second volume will follow is bound to be enthralling. -- Peter Conrad * Book of the Week * Riveting... superb -- David Runciman * The Guardian * An extraordinarily rich picture that fills in all kinds of background to the life -- James Naughtie JFK is biography at its very best... Such are Logevall's storytelling powers that, even though we all know the outcome, it still feels like a cliffhanger -- Andrew Preston * The Spectator * Other authors [...] have ably chronicled this epic saga, but none has told the tale of the 35th president's formative years better or more thoroughly than the Harvard history professor Fredrik Logevall . . . A fastidiously diligent researcher . . . richly detailed and instructive . . . Logevall artfully melds the biographical and historical approaches -- David M. Kennedy * The New York Times * It is the singular achievement of this magnificent new biography of John Fitzgerald Kennedy that it has taken one of the most scrutinised lives of the 20th century and made it feel fresh. Harvard historian Fredrik Logevall scrapes away the encrusted layers of myth, rumour and cliche -- Duncan White * The Telegraph * Superb. Why should you read the umpteenth book about the most famous of Kennedys? The short answer is that Logevall's book is smart and very readable. Logevall has a gifted historian's grasp of the times as well as the life of JFK. This reader had trouble putting it down -- Evan Thomas * Washington Post * It is as good as anything that has been published about its subject, based on years toiling in the archives but written with a delightfully light touch... At times it reads more like a novel than a biography, so vivid is the prose and so extraordinary the material... JFK reminds readers of what America once was -- and could be again * The Economist * Few books came as larded with praise as Fredrik Logevall's book about the early years of JFK. It's a magisterial achievement, following the oversexed super-ambitious young Kennedy into wartime adventures and forbidden love affairs with Swedish spies. Crucially, it shows the formation of the character of one of the most important 20th-century politicians -- James Marriott * Sunday Times Books of the Year * The archival work is superb * Telegraph Books of the Year * Professor Logevall's research is prodigious and his writing both elegant and persuasive; above all, however, his objectivity will serve as a model for historians seeking to achieve the still elusive goal of coming to grips with John F. Kennedy - without tears. The only drawback for scholars and general readers will be the wait for volume 2 -- Sheldon M. Stern * History News Network * Even the most devout JFK aficionado will feel they have read their first biography after completing Logevall's [book] * New York Law Journal *

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