Jack: A Life Like No Other
Jack: A Life Like No Other by Geoffrey Perret.
Publisher: Random House (2001)
ISBN-10: 037576125X (400 pgs)
Jack is both the first comprehensive one-volume biography of JFK and the first account of his life based on the extensive documentary record that has finally become available, including personal diaries, taped conversations from the White House, recently declassified government documents, extensive family correspondence, and crucial interviews sealed for nearly forty years. Jack provides a much-needed perspective on Kennedy's bewilderingly complex personality, presents a compelling account of the volatile relationship between Jack and Jackie (including her attempt to divorce him, move to Hollywood, and become a film star), and reveals how JFK forged the modern political campaign and, once in the White House, modernized the presidency. Jack: A Life Like No Other is a book like no other. Here, at last, John F. Kennedy seems to step off the page in all his vitality, charm, and originality.
I thought that since this month is the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination I would read a book about him. As with most traumatic things in ones life I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that Kennedy was assassinated. I was deeply saddened. For reasons I don’t even know (since I’ve never been very political) I did really like JFK. I”m sure the whole “Camelot” thing helped it along. And when he gave the word to put an American on the moon.. he sealed the deal as far as I was concerned.
I also remember the Cuban Crises. My brother was in the Air Force during that time and you could cut the tension with a knife!
This book gives a good, but brief, telling of Jack Kennedy’s life. From the beginning when he realized none of the siblings matter except for the first born, John to having a father even he did not want to be like.
It tells of how his father basically paid to get JFK nominated, but from then on Jack knew he had different ideas then “daddy dearest”.
I learned a number of things from this book that I did not know. Not many were very nice things, but they were what made up Jack Kennedy. There was one sentence that told it as I was thinking at times: He had a privileged life that no sensible person would want. It pretty much echoed the “poor little rich boy” concept, which in his case is taken both as a snide remark… and as the truth. For as we all know, money cannot by health. And JFK had bad health all his life. Most prominent was his bad back. He had 3 operations and after was forever on pain drugs. Right up to the end of his life he was wearing a full back brace, and it was said, had he lived and had a second term her would have wound up in a wheel chair as did Roosevelt. To top off all his health problems he also had Addison’s Disease. I know money helps pay for the best care..but it does not give you back good health.
He was rich..and he was a womanizer..and he was many things but he was still a damn good President. To this day I find myself wondering what more he would have done had he lived and had a second term. And I will always be glad that we went to the moon. Something we should have done again later in years…but that’s just my opinion.
This was a very well written book. Only once chapter closer to the end I could have done without, since all his “bad points” were mentioned along the way I didn’t need them angrily listed. Maybe they weren’t but it seemed that way.
The ending, which we all know how it ends, was short and not gone into detail, as there are many books that theorize the circumstances. But the author did feel it was a “one man job”, but we will never know …even if the government knows..WE will never know.
Bottom line.. I liked the book. Like anyone, I dislike his bad points but really liked his good points and I think he did well as President.