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Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 12 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (Dec 6 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442350458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442350458
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 14.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,650,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“If history at its best is about telling storiesthat bring the past to life, then Chris Matthews is a master storyteller, forthis fascinating portrait brings Jack Kennedy more vividly to life than anyrecent work.—Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Chris Matthews is anchor of MSNBC’s Hardball. He is author of Tip and the Gipper; Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero; Kennedy and Nixon; Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think; American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions; Hardball: How Politics Is Played by One Who Knows The Game; and Politicians: The Backroom World They Never Show Us.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Hoggan on Dec 25 2011
Format: Hardcover
After reading the intro, I think I'm about the same age as Chris Matthews. JFK was elected to the presidency when I was in grade 8. Like Mr. Matthews, I attended a Catholic school and remember that some staff members were quite excited that a Catholic made it to the Oval Office. I didn't see what the big deal was. I also remember the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and JFK's support for Dr. King. I remember being proud of President Kennedy because, as the most powerful man on earth, he behaved like a decent human being and an advocate for those who just wanted fairness and the equal application of the law. I thought he was a pretty good president. Then, when I was in grade eleven, I remember one of the priests at my school crying. Then an announcement came over the P.A. system that President Kennedy was dead.

Although Mr. Matthews doesn't talk about Kennedy's murder (assassination sounds euphemistic to me)each page took me back to another place in my memory and the unfolding of my life in parallel to JFK's rise, his meeting the demands of such an awful job, and his death. I didn't know about his illness, his chronic pain or about his loveless childhood. Even without these limitations, or perhaps because of them, JFK became the only president great enough to garner instant recognition on the basis of his initials alone. I thank Mr. Matthews for this funny, sad, engaging, mystifying and sometimes heartbreaking stroll down memory lane. I thank him for teaching me the back-story of JFK's life and resurrecting my memories. It was a pivotal time for me and for President Kennedy.

It is a wonderful read and I'm grateful for it.
Ron Hoggan, Ed. D.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By plif55 on Dec 3 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chris Matthews captures more of the essence of JFK than any other book I've read and brings new information to the reader. My sense is that I now know what made JFK into the man he was, from his childhood experiences, war experience, loss of family members, to his political experiences. Congratulations to the author for basically omitting any details about affairs, and realizing as well that he didn't have to go into the assassination, both of which have already been documented, and concentrating instead on things we didn't already know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on Aug. 14 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero" is a well written, and delightfully refreshing read about Kennedy, thanks to Chris Matthews research and intimate understanding of the world (both personal and public) that made Jack Kennedy who he was. It is an especially appropriate read in this year, the 50th anniversary of the tragic loss of Jack Kennedy.

For those of us who were alive when Kennedy was assassinated, a great sense of shock and sudden loss was felt. Speaking as a Canadian of but 4 years old at the time, it is remarkable that I can recall vividly how my entire family was riveted to the television, in disbelief and profound sorrow. The world came to a sudden and abrupt halt, and it remained halted for several days, in mourning for a President, a husband, a father, a beloved son.

Jack Kennedy was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and all of us - not just the United States - were robbed of the chance at the better world that Jack wanted to realise. Matthews reminds us of this well, while at the same time, he allows us to live the Kennedy campaign, and the Kennedy years, one last time. Thanks for it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Hearth on Dec 4 2011
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. The story is compelling and the style of writing is personal, like having a chat with the author. I also recommend this author's other books for the same reason. I hope he lives to be very old and writes many more books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 393 reviews
414 of 476 people found the following review helpful
A ONCE-OVER-Lightly effort. Nov. 3 2011
By G. Haneke - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This might be a worthwhile book for readers who know very little about President Kennedy and his times. For reasonably well-informed students of that era, however, there is very little that is new here.
This may sound like nit-picking, but the book has some annoying errors that a more careful writer and/or editor would have avoided. Matthews calls the President's younger brother Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy. His actual name was Robert Francis Kennedy. He says Senator Joe McCarthy died in 1956, when it was actually May, 1957. He also says JFK was chosen as America's 34th President, when almost everybody knows he was the 35th.
Errors like these make a reader wonder what else Matthews might have gotten wrong.
If you want an authoritative treatment of JFK, I recommend Robert Dallek's "John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life"
82 of 99 people found the following review helpful
By RFKFAN - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my first ever review of a book on Amazon. I am a huge Kennedy reader and have read probably every biography out on both Jack and Bobby for the last 15 plus years. I am also a fan of Chris Matthews who always has an interesting perspective especially on the political spectrum. His book is quite the let-down. It is nothing more than a breezy memoir (even though he did not know Kennedy) which could have been written by any of Jack's close circle of friends. The book has some nice tidbits but it has all been covered before and even though Matthews has a thesis which is nothing more than (1) Kennedy compartmentalized his life and the people around him so no one got the full picture of the man, (2) he was incredibly loyal to his life-long friends who he relied on his whole life and in particular when he got the White House, and (3) Kennedy's thinking and views developed and grew as he went from being the millionaire playboy son to being a congressman to senator to President. While anyone would agree with all of some of these thoughts nothing is new here. If you really want to learn about JFK then go to Dallek's excellent biography called "An Unfinished Life." I think this book is good for the young (13 plus) budding historian as an introduction to JFK in an easy to ready, not too dense format and highlights the important milestones. In that case, it could whet the appetite of the young reader and give him/her the impetus to read the more serious and detailed books on JFK.
195 of 241 people found the following review helpful
JFK - American Hero Nov. 1 2011
By John P. Carsley - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, let me say that this is a well written and passionate account of Jack Kennedy the man - an American President who deserves the accolade of "Hero." Chris Matthews' conversational approach to the story, really draws you in, as though you are sittng across from him in your den having a single malt scotch. His narrative never fails to fascinate. In the end, the reader understands, that more than any other 20th Century figure, Jack Kennedy made the decisions that allowed future generations to be born, and our world to continue. A very fine book indeed.
60 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Kindle formatting Nov. 23 2011
By Sandra - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're thinking of buying the Kindle eBook, maybe think twice. I'm reading it, and enjoying the easy story telling style. But the Kindle format is annoying. Every page has random underlining that makes no sense for being there. There are family photos and scanned documents, hand written by JFK that are too small to read. I would love to know what he wrote. Customer service told me there's was nothing I could do to enlarge it.
Update: I returned it for refund. Too expensive to be like this. I'll either get it in a hard copy or skip it.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Can't believe this is from Simon & Schuster! Nov. 15 2012
By Music Maven - Published on
Format: Paperback
There's little I can add to the negative reviews of Elusive Hero. That's really quite validating since this is one of the worst books I've ever read, and I LIKE Chris Matthews. The best part of the book was his autobiographical introductory chapter, which I really did sarcasm intended here. I was so disappointed in what followed and I can't believe Simon & Schuster would actually publish such a terribly written and poorly edited book. I even wondered if anyone had proof-read it or if nobody had the heart to tell Chris that it was simply NOT GOOD. I'm certainly not an avid reader but when it comes to books, I try to finish what I start. This one has been a struggle and I still have 100 pages to go! I find myself exasperated at all the names and quotes of people who don't even seem interesting enough to remember from one chapter to the next.

One thing I will say which I haven't seen stated in these reviews is that I come away feeling that JFK was a conniving and cunning opportunist, stabbing many people in the back, playing both political parties for all he gain, all for the sake of his political advancement. In spite of all the stories I've read about JFK's flawed character, I've always admired him. This book draws all of that in question. Even though it reads like a valentine to a legendary politician, Elusive Hero actually presents quite an unflattering and even disturbing portrait of JFK.