Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide: Jack Kennedy: The Illustrated Life of a President

Is there anything we don’t already know about JFK? I doubt it. Yet year after year, authors find new angles with which to tantalize us about the man, his family, and his legacy. This year’s entry is Jack Kennedy: The Illustrated Life of a President (Chronicle Books), which relates the late president’s story in cogent prose, but the real prize here is the facsimile of personal memorabilia and documents. Postcards, holiday cards, personal latters, diary pages, drafts of key speeches, JFK’s Navy ID card, handwritten notes for Profiles in Courage, and much more. This treasure trove is shows us JFK in a whole new way, letting the evidence of his charmed, cursed life stand for itself, with no explanation or embellishment. The book also features photographs of other artifacts, as well as the iconic images of the subject’s life, from childhood to Dallas. It also includes a look at what happened after the assassination: how LBJ assumed the role of President, how he carried on JFK’s efforts, Bobby’s and Jackie’s and Teddy’s lives, and even the lives of John and Caroline. Though there’s no shortage of Kennedy books, this special addition to that library is something to be seen and cherished.

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