Jack (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
This is the first volume of a two-part biography of John F. Kennedy by Herbert S. Parmet, Professor of History at Queensborough Community College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York. The volume covers the period from Kennedy’s birth to the announcement of his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. Published seventeen years after the assassination, this painstaking study is more serious and objective than the books released heretofore which generally were written by close associates of the late President. Although acquainted with these personal accounts, Professor Parmet makes extensive use of the letters, memoranda, pre-Presidential papers, and other sources available in the John F. Kennedy Library. These are supplemented with interviews and an extensive survey of media coverage. The picture that emerges from this study does not vary greatly from the commonly held view of John Kennedy as a person or public figure. The picture shows, however, less of the glamorous side of his life and more of the man’s hard work, planning, and manipulation.
The lack of glamour is due in part to the more realistic and objective viewpoint of the pre-Presidential period and in part to the author’s writing style. Parmet’s story does not race along with the fluency, the extravagant adjectives, or the elegant prose of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s A Thousand Days or David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest....
(The entire section is 1920 words.)
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