John F. Kennedy (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Combining intelligence with personal charm, Kennedy became a model to millions around the globe, inspiring them to seek new goals and to work toward those goals with self-confidence.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, an inner suburb of Boston. He was the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, a businessman rapidly growing wealthy, and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, daughter of former Boston mayor John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald. He was educated at Choate School in Connecticut and was graduated from Harvard in 1940. While his earlier years were plagued by illness, and his grades were often mediocre, he revealed himself to be an original thinker. His senior thesis was published as Why England Slept (1940), largely by the efforts of Joseph Kennedy’s friends. John Kennedy was able to travel widely in Europe in 1937 and 1938 and to spend the spring of 1939 in Britain, where his father was United States ambassador. Still there when World War II began in September, he assisted in caring for American survivors of the first torpedoed passenger ship, gaining a sense of realism about war.
As United States entrance into the war became likely, he entered the United States Navy as an ensign, September, 1941, six feet tall but extremely thin and looking younger than his years. A thatch of often rumpled, sandy hair added to his boyish appearance. He...
(The entire section is 1987 words.)
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