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Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours that Made History Hardcover – Nov 11 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Signal (Nov. 11 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771023871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771023873
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“He may have served for a thousand days but it was two days that made John F. Kennedy's presidency. No one before Andrew Cohen has recognized that, and because of his signal achievement in Two Days in June, no one will be able to write about -- no one will be able to think about -- John Kennedy ever again in quite the same way. Channeling Theodore White and William Manchester, Andrew Cohen has changed the way we regard JFK in Two Days as much as JFK changed the presidency and the world in those two days.”
—David M. Shribman, editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“Andrew Cohen calls the two days during which President John F. Kennedy delivered ground-breaking speeches addressing the great post-war threats to America -- racial inequality and nuclear war – ‘his lyrical journey to peace and freedom.’ Cohen's own lyrical account of these days provides an intimate, moving, and revelatory portrait of Kennedy that is superbly detailed and thrillingly narrated.”
—Thurston Clarke, author, JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President and Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America
“Using a literary zoom lens, Andrew Cohen zeroes in on forty-eight dramatic hours in John F. Kennedy's presidency to superbly illuminate his leadership in a compelling and original way. It is Kennedy up close and personal, making history with two of his most important speeches -- one carefully planned, the other a brilliant improvisation. Two Days in June nimbly juggles fast-moving presidential challenges at home and abroad, with fascinating new details of the drama unfolding behind the scenes on Air Force One, in the Oval Office, in the private quarters of the White House, and in the most exclusive salon in Georgetown.... Cohen's analysis of the two speeches and their impact, and his assessment of their measure in JFK's presidency is astute and constitutes an entirely original perspective. His research has been prodigious. Even Kennedy devotees and experts will find new tidbits throughout, judiciously placed in the author's seamless and riveting narrative, which is beautifully written and weaves together the consequential and the quotidian, with verve and authority..... At the center of the tale is Cohen's thoughtful portrait of JFK, the restless multi-tasker with the capacious world view, idealist and pragmatic simultaneously, ever alert to the quirks of human nature, his own included. Well beyond the president, the character sketches capture the big personalities (and several smaller ones) with insight and sensitivity. Through the prism of the Joseph Alsop dinner party, Cohen sweeps in crucial themes and personalities, putting the capital's secrets and licentious behavior in perspective, with wonderful fresh observations from Antonia Fraser. The entire book reflects Cohen's original take on mid-June 1963, beginning with his brilliant conceit of following the arc of JFK's flight from Hawaii to Washington to deliver the commencement address at American University. And it ends with his wonderful touch, imagining the two days as depicted by a Renaissance artist, Kennedy in all his roles, tossing ‘flares into the future.’”
—Sally Bedell Smith, author, Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House

Praise for While Canada Slept:
 • "A trenchant critique of modern Canadian foreign policy." Time magazine
 • "Cohen's contribution is invaluable. A book full detail, written with passion and engaging prose.... A must read for all of those who wish to understand the roots of Canada's global outlook." Globe and Mail

About the Author

Andrew Cohen is an award-winning journalist and former Washington correspondent whom the New York Times has called "one of Canada's most distinguished authors." A native of Montreal, he attended Choate Rosemary Hall, McGill University, and the University of Cambridge. Among his best-selling books are The Unfinished Canadian: The People We AreTrudeau's Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (with JL Granatstein); Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson; and While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World, a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. He has written for United Press InternationalTimeThe Globe and Mail, The Financial Post, and The Financial Times of London from Washington, London, Berlin, Toronto and Ottawa. He has won two National Newspaper Awards and three National Magazine Awards. A professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Cohen writes a nationally syndicated column and appears regularly on radio and television.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In 1960 the Montreal Canadiens were Stanley Cup champs, the Ottawa Rough Riders won the Grey Cup, and in the United States, John F. Kennedy wrote an article for Sports Illustrated exhorting American citizens to exercise troubles away. He called his piece, The Soft American.

If anyone possessed the "luck of the Irish", it was President Kennedy. In Andrew Cohen's dense, sometimes joyful, sometimes bored, but constantly urbane, breathtakingly energetic book, Two Days In June: John F. Kennedy And The 48 Hours That Made History, Kennedy's serendipitous life is detailed over a two day period in June of 1963, when on successive days, he gave speeches that reformed the United States both nationally and internationally.

Setting the stage for Kennedy's morning speech before American University in Washington, asking for tolerance and respect for Russia, and his national television address the following evening, endorsing civil rights for blacks in America, Andrew Cohen chronicles the time in easily digestible portions. It is an inspired stroke to break the days into morning, afternoon and evening. It encourages the reader to keep up, like the president, that though the journey may be gruelling, it will be over soon.

The pertinent question is, How did he do it? Cohen is so good at writing, and his appetite for exemplary political conduct so insatiable, that the question is answered. In my opinion, it is a combination of talent and luck. Kennedy was a man with conviction of purpose. He had an infallible confidence in himself. Perhaps he felt consigned to a dreadful fate, like the civil rights labourer Medgar Wiley Evers, whose last day alive included uncharacteristic words of love expressed to his wife.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating and riveting read. While it focuses on a crucial 48 hour period in American history, it paints a full portrait of John F Kennedy and of his key colleagues. Using new material, including hours of film shot in the White House and Justice Department, Andrew Cohen shows us the private and public sides of the man, and he does so with his customary flair and polish. A genuine page-turner! Five stars!
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Format: Hardcover
I turned 12 years old on November 22, 1963. It was a birthday I will never forget. Kennedy has been from then onward a particular interest. The books I have read on the era gave me a dry history. This one by Andrew Cohen tells the "story." Written with both the academic eye of a historian and the compassionate soul of a writer it is at once compelling and politically astute. We get a real, minute by minute, story of social justice mixed with intrigue and political theatre. A great holiday read!
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Format: Hardcover
Few books better illustrate how JFK matured in office than Two Days in June by Andrew Cohen. And none better illustrate his important contribution to world peace and civil rights.

The story hinges on two memorable Kennedy speeches - his "Peace" speech at American University on June 10, 1993 (during which Kennedy embraces the humanity of the Soviets and calls for a nuclear test ban treaty) and his nationally televised civil rights address the following evening (during which he calls for Americans to abandon their prejudices and commit to racial equality). In between, Cohen paints an intimate moment-by-moment account of presidential activities, challenges and deliberations based on diaries, personal accounts and secret service records. Every minute is accounted for including diplomatic meetings, a dinner party, gossipy discussions, phone calls and even a mysterious hour when the President's whereabouts cannot be accounted for.

The narrative immerses the reader in the Presidents's hectic schedule as he returns on Air Force One from Hawaii early on June 10, shortly before his commencement address at American University. Later that day, in between meetings and bill signings, the reader is led through nerve-wracking planning sessions with brother Bobby and Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach surrounding the historic enrollment of the first black students at the University of Alabama. With Alabama Governor George Wallace vowing to block the university door, violence is feared, forcing JFK to federalize the Alabama National Guard. Fortunately, the enrolment is accomplished peacefully when Wallace relents.
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Format: Hardcover
Just finished your book. Totally enjoyed the read. An amazing story based upon amazing research. Well done. Clearly FIVE STARS to my mind. Thanks, Andrew for sharing this story with us. Regards, Larry Dickenson
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By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on Sept. 12 2015
Format: Hardcover
John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours that Made History

This story is a riveting and beautifully written narrative of two consecutive days in the presidency of John F. Kennedy. The days were June 10 and 11, 1963.

There have been many books written about JFK some say more than 40,000 so why another one? There will always be someone digging deeper who will find new tidbits to bring to light in the life of one of the most iconic American president of modern time. In “Two Days in June” Mr. Cohen brings an original perspective by adding a compelling detailed analysis in an eventful chapter in Kennedy’s tenure: his most important speeches that would change the outcome on two important issues: nuclear arms control and American society’s racism. Later to be referred as the iconic Peace Speech and the Civil Rights Act.

Meticulously researched, this book is heavy in information and details on those two days. It tracks the President’s every move and explores mainly the context of the speeches and how it came to be. The tension leading to the public addresses is deftly captured and in proper historical context. We also have a glimpse into many personalities surrounding the president: most importantly, his brother Robert and his speechwriter Ted Sorensen. The President had a myriad of other issues such as: conflict in Vietnam, equal pay for all, his physical condition, his gossipy social life, daily swimming lesson and afternoon nap just to mention a few. All this information comes from rare sources such as documentary, interviews, diaries and official White House logbooks etc. The book doesn’t miss a beat and goes on and on.

It must have taken the author exhausting time to put all this together but also rewarding to see the end result.

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