A Nation of Immigrants was JFK's statement on immigration policy published in 1958 when he was in the Senate. The other books are principally collections of speeches: To Turn the Tide covers roughly the first year of the presidency, The Burden and the Glory covers the remainder. The Strategy of Peace selected Senator Kennedy's statements on foreign policy issues, plus an interview with him. Published in 1960, it was meant to articulate positions he would advocate in his presidential campaign. I got my first copy from the Citizens for Kennedy office on Main St. in Greensburg, PA, where I did some campaign work.
The Quiet Crisis by JFK's Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall is a different matter. It's first of all a real book, not a collection of speeches. Published in 1963, it is an early argument for government action to save the environment, as well as a historical look at attitudes towards the natural environment in the US, beginning with "The Land Wisdom of the Indians." Popularizing the great Aldo Leopold's concept of "the land ethic," Udall's book is a conceptual and policy breakthrough for the US and the US government. President Kennedy wrote the introduction.
Meader and Gardner were witty about JFK, but JFK surprised the country with his dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery. He was particularly adept at demonstrating it in his press conferences, which were carried live on national television. Bill Adler selected zingers for his very popular paperbacks such as these two, The Kennedy Wit and More Kennedy Wit. For example, from a press conference: QUESTION: The Republican National Committee recently adopted a resolution saying you were pretty much of a failure. How do you feel about that? PRESIDENT KENNEDY: I assume it passed unanimously.
Hugh Sidey was the White House correspondent for TIME Magazine, and was granted a lot of access and time with JFK. His book, he says in the preface, was supposed to be "the beginning of the story." Instead when it was published, also in 1964, it became the first book about the entire Kennedy presidency.
There were many memorial issues of newspapers and magazines (I still have several) and there were books that were quickly published like this one, compiled by UPI and American Heritage Magazine. It is mostly photographs covering that indelible weekend from the murder in Dallas on Friday to the funeral and burial at Arlington on Monday.
Death of a President is a long and thorough historical account--more than 700 pages--published in 1967. It is by historian William Manchester (his two volume set, The Glory and the Dream, has been my Bible on the Roosevelt 30s to 1972.) Manchester had the cooperation of the Kennedys but Jacqueline Kennedy had strong second thoughts and tried to stop publication. Deletion of a few paragraphs concerning the assassination was negotiated. The book was an immediate best-seller but went out of print until 2013, which perhaps makes my crumpled second-hand paperback a rare book.
Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy (Hyperion 2012) presents mostly recordings from 1962 and 1963, after JFK installed a hidden taping system in the Oval Office, and took to recording phone conversations. The technology was comparatively primitive, so transcripts are essential. (The recordings themselves can also be heard over the Internet from the JFK Library.)
There are also JFK's private dictations, all meant to create an historical record and probably to aid him in writing his memoirs. Some of the recordings are stunning--as we hear General Curtis LeMay sounding like Gen. Buck Turgenson in Dr. Strangelove--as well as mundane and vaguely interesting, as in a brief presidential conversation with the teenage Jerry Brown at the end of a call with his father, California Governor Pat Brown.
More impressive is the 2011 Hyperion volume of Jacqueline Kennedy's reminiscences with Arthur Schlesinger in 1964. She speaks with clarity and insight about specific events and policies in their historical contexts as well as observations on family, personalities and her own role in the White House.
Because she never spoke on the record about the White House years, which (her daughter Caroline recalls) she later called the happiest years of her life, her voice and to a great extent her role in that history has been overlooked. Now it can be heard, in 7 CDs. Again, the recordings are online, as are many others in the Kennedy Library oral history project. Both volumes include forewords by Caroline Kennedy, who was instrumental in releasing these sound recordings and creating these volumes.
here.) Though Clarke's book is a straightforward history (making much use of information that has come to light in the past 50 years) and Jeff Greenfield's speculates on what JFK's second term might have been like, based on the same sort of information, they come to remarkably similar conclusions, especially about American participation in the Vietnam War, which both agree JFK would have ended by 1965.