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Extended Audio Sample Counselor: Life at the Edge of History Audiobook, by Ted Sorensen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 5 3.72 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ted Sorensen Narrator: Ted Sorensen Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2008 ISBN: 9780061630613
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In this gripping memoir, John F. Kennedy's closest advisor recounts in full for the first time his experience counseling Kennedy through the most dramatic moments in American history.

Sorensen returns to January 1953, when he and the freshman senator from Massachusetts began their extraordinary professional and personal relationship. Rising from legislative assistant to speechwriter and advisor, the young lawyer from Nebraska worked closely with JFK on his most important speeches, as well as his book Profiles in Courage. Sorensen encouraged the junior senator's political ambitions—from a failed bid for the vice presidential nomination in 1956 to the successful presidential campaign in 1960, after which he was named Special Counsel to the President.

Sorensen describes in thrilling detail his experience advising JFK during some of the most crucial days of his presidency, from the decision to go to the moon to the Cuban Missile Crisis, when JFK requested that the thirty-four-year-old Sorensen draft the key letter to Khrushchev at the most critical point of the world's first nuclear confrontation. After Kennedy was assassinated, Sorensen stayed with President Johnson for a few months before leaving to write a biography of JFK. In 1968 he returned to Washington to help run Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign. Through it all, Sorensen never lost sight of the ideals that brought him to Washington and to the White House, working tirelessly to promote and defend free, peaceful societies.

Illuminating, revelatory, and utterly compelling, Counselor is the brilliant, long-awaited memoir from the remarkable man who shaped the presidency and the legacy of one of the greatest leaders America has ever known.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Sorensen has written a book that will be cherished for generations.” 

    President Barack Obama

  • “This is an important book, and it’s also a poignant one. As Jackie Kennedy once said of a speech that Ted Sorensen gave about her husband, it captures not on the soul of John Kennesy but also the the soul of Sorensen. This clear-eyed but loving memoir is fasinating as history and totally compelling as a narrative.” 

    Walter Isaacson, New York Times Bestselling author

  • “Ted Sorensen has given us a very welcome up close and personal view of life and politics at the side of John F. Kennedy. There are fresh insights and enduring lessons for this and future generations to study and embrace. And painful memories of what we lost.”  

    Tom Brokaw 

  • “This is a piece of history told by a passionate participant who is a fine writer and most engaging reader.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “By delivering the material himself, Sorensen adds a personal touch…At its core, Sorensen’s book provides a revealing glimpse into many of the defining events of the Kennedy administration. Sorensen’s performance adds gravitas without invoking any sense of bitterness or disingenuousness.”  

    AudioFile

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Publishers Weekly Best Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gasuski Suski | 2/7/2014

    " I walked in to The Bookworm for my Book Club and there was quite a commotion going on. The author is Ted Soresen who is from Lincoln, NE. Oh I said a local author and then realized how famous this person is for writing speeches for John Kennendy. Ted lives in NY now (I did previously) and now I live in his state where he was born. A brilliant man and I got to meet him personally, how lucky can one get. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tobi | 1/31/2014

    " Some people just lead very interesting lives and this is the story of one of them. It didn't bog down in too many small details but it told the whole story of what it was like to work and live so close to JFK, but Ted had a life before and after JFK and we get to read about that too, and it is very interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rich | 1/28/2014

    " It started out slow but became more fascinating as I read further in the book. Ted Sorenson was a remarkable individual. He writes about his close working relationship with JFK in the Senate and the White House. You also learn about what went on behind the scenes politically during the Kennedy adminstration. Sorenson also writes about his life outside of Washington D.C. after he left government but never away from politics. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica Clark | 1/25/2014

    " This is a great book and an easy read. It is an interesting perspective on history and his Sorensen's own life. The organization of the book was a little odd, but overall it was an enjoyable read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eileen | 1/17/2014

    " I did not finish the book. At times very interesting but really too much detail and couldn't keep my interest all the way and instead skipped around to various parts. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 1/16/2014

    " At over 500 pages this memoir was far too long by far and gave even a 60s democrat like me an opportunity to see Ted Sorensen, even tempered by age, as far too critical of anyone any everyone who was not John Kennedy. There's a mean-spirited undercurrent to much of what he writes here, though if you're looking for minuscule details that are probably not important to many others besides Sorensen, you'll find them here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dick | 1/8/2014

    " Fascinating first person history of our times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam Fradkin | 1/4/2014

    " A "fun" read from a great, liberal, mind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 12/30/2013

    " Sorensen has such a knack for good alliteration and analogies. He really thinks about his writing and what it conveys. A must read for anyone in the political world -- if you want to say it with grace, ease and poignancy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vince Carter | 12/27/2013

    " Ted Sorensen's important role as John F. Kennedy's closest advisor throughout his political career gave him amazing insight on an array of events and personalities throughout the 50's and early 60's--and then continuing with his own international legal career until recently. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wendy T | 12/21/2013

    " I found this book interesting about Kennedy's Presidency. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 11/27/2013

    " Wonderful book on recent history - especially the Kennedy/Johnson era by one who was there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 11/22/2013

    " Readable and interesting semi-autobiography, rehashing of JFK. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sydney | 10/26/2013

    " Mr. Sorenson has a unique perspective on JFK, Jr and new information. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 JRB | 9/27/2013

    " The content is great, but the writing didn't do it for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Padraic | 8/16/2013

    " Great story of a principled man; the post-Kennedy years are boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Isabel Lara | 8/1/2013

    " interesting glimpse into Sorensen's role in JFK's White House and a time when leadership and politics were taken seriously, without postmodern irony "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 1/13/2013

    " Highly readable account of a fascinating life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Craig | 1/4/2013

    " Chief Counselor, speechwriter, advisor to JFK for 10 years gives unique insights into the political life of JFK. However, Sorensen's own liberal biases and his blind devotion to JFK left a sour taste in my mouth. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 3/12/2012

    " I have read a lot about John F. Kennedy over the years, but this book really told me more about his vision and his accomplishments than anything I have read before. Sorensen appears to have known the statesman Kennedy better than anyone. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dad | 5/9/2011

    " Not a very good book. Somewhat self-serving, and this is from a Kennedy fan. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wendy T | 4/14/2011

    " I found this book interesting about Kennedy's Presidency. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lokman | 1/11/2011

    " Inspiring memoir from someone who truly wrote history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 9/7/2010

    " This is a great book and an easy read. It is an interesting perspective on history and his Sorensen's own life. The organization of the book was a little odd, but overall it was an enjoyable read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bdesmond | 1/17/2010

    " Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History by Ted Sorensen (2008) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 9/11/2009

    " Readable and interesting semi-autobiography, rehashing of JFK. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 deede | 9/2/2009

    " I must admit I had an ulterior motive in reading this book: Ted Sorensen's three sons--Steve, Eric and Phil--are my cousins; our grandmothers were sisters.
    Having said that, the book gave great insight into Mr. Sorensen's experiences working with John F. Kennedy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 5/30/2009

    " I have read a lot about John F. Kennedy over the years, but this book really told me more about his vision and his accomplishments than anything I have read before. Sorensen appears to have known the statesman Kennedy better than anyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sydney | 4/21/2009

    " Mr. Sorenson has a unique perspective on JFK, Jr and new information. "

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About the Author

Ted Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and after law school moved to Washington, D.C., where he would ultimately work for John F. Kennedy. He left the White House soon after JFK's death, and in 1966 joined a New York City law firm, where, as a prominent international lawyer, he advised governments, multinational organizations, and major corporations around the world. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. Sorensen remained active in political and international issues until his death in 2010.