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Download Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero Audiobook, by Chris Matthews Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,403 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chris Matthews Narrator: Holter Graham Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2011 ISBN: 9781442349179
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“What was he like?” 

Jack Kennedy said the reason people read biography is to answer that basic question. With the verve of a novelist, Chris Matthews gives us just that. We see this most beloved president in the company of friends. We see and feel him close-up, having fun and giving off that restlessness of his. We watch him navigate his life from privileged, rebellious youth to gutsy American president. We witness his bravery in war and selfless rescue of his PT boat crew. We watch JFK as a young politician learning to play hardball and watch him grow into the leader who averts a nuclear war.What was he like, this person whose own wife called him “that elusive, unforgettable man”? The Jack Kennedy you discover here wanted never to be alone, never to be bored. He loved courage, hated war, lived each day as if it were his last. 

Chris Matthews’s extraordinary biography is based on personal interviews with those closest to JFK, oral histories by top political aide Kenneth O’Donnell and others, documents from his years as a student at Choate, and notes from Jacqueline Kennedy’s first interview after Dallas. You’ll learn the origins of his inaugural call to “Ask what you can do for your country.” You’ll discover his role in the genesis of the Peace Corps, his stand on civil rights, his push to put a man on the moon, his ban on nuclear arms testing. You’ll get, more than ever before, to the root of the man, including the unsettling aspects of his personal life. As Matthews writes, “I found a fighting prince never free of pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father’s son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.” 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “If history at its best is about telling stories that bring the past to life, then Chris Matthews is a master storyteller, for this fascinating portrait brings Jack Kennedy more vividly to life than any recent work.”

    Doris Kearns Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author

  • “In his engaging new biography…Matthews, who has a deep knowledge of American political history, draws on conversations with numerous people…[offering] a valuable reminder of Kennedy’s skill at uniting toughness with inspirational leadership.”

    New York Times

  • “Matthews is at his best in describing the political dynamics, strategizing and realpolitik that permitted Kennedy to succeed first in Massachusetts politics, then on the national stage and, finally, in capturing the presidency despite the liabilities of religion and youth.” 

    Washington Post

  • “[A] stirring biography.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Matthews…blends tributes and chastisement in this highly personal account of John. F. Kennedy’s career.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Readers wanting a lively overview of Kennedy, the flawed man and inspiring leader, should turn to this poignant study.” 

    Library Journal

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Justin | 2/8/2014

    " I started reading this book of and on for the past several months, but I still say it was a very informative read. I know people have said this is not the most detailed book about JFK, but for me it was my first real view into that time period in political American history. Jack Kennedy, as Chris Matthews calls him was extraordinary man who had to deal with many physical ailments, an unloving mother and many personal demons. But with all of that he was able to rescue his men during WW2, solve the Cuban Missile Crisis, usher in the Civil Rights Movement and create the Peace Core. We owe a lot to Jack Kennedy and Chris Matthews allowed us to see that in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harry Lane | 1/28/2014

    " Kennedy's life has been examined in detail before, and this book adds little to the sum of knowledge in that area. Rather, Matthews has attempted, through anecdote and explication of personal relationships, to bring Kennedy's character and thinking to life, to explain in Matthew's words, who he was. That he succeeds in large part is no small accomplishment, considering that Jack was one of those individuals who always seemed to stand apart, even from himself. Kennedy's flaws are somewhat glossed over, and in some cases seen to strengthen his ability to accomplish all that he did in the political arena. I found the accounts of Kennedy's run for the Senate, the '56 vice presidential affair, and the 1960 election fascinating, but that sort of "inside baseball" is not to everyone's taste. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim Dean | 1/28/2014

    " Great book about a great president who overcame his personal issues to lead a nation. "

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

    " I've always been curious about JFK because so much has been said about him and I was too young when he died. This is a well written book that provides just the right amount of information. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ethan | 8/9/2013

    " Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero tells the very profound and interesting story of John F. Kennedy. From his military career in WWII to his early years in politics, Chris Matthews covers all aspects of the iconic president's life. One part I found very interesting was Matthews's section on JFK's time in boarding school as a child. This part not only details the misadventures that occur during these years, but also show how different life was in the early 1900s. After reading this section I started to compare JFK to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because both were born within a year of each other, attended a boarding school for several years and served in their respective militaries during WWII. Overall, this book was very well written and entertaining and I can't recommend it highly enough. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gunnar Gardner | 7/5/2013

    " Obviously hero worship, and as thus not an objective book. It was, for an admirer of Kennedy the person such as myself, a very good book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcia Fine | 5/14/2013

    " I am impressed. I didn't think there would be anything new and there was! Great research, especially about the political process. He was a complex man and Chris captured it all, even the physical pain. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Garrett Pomeroy | 3/5/2013

    " Chris Matthews is a terrible story teller but the insider stuff via his old boss Tip is amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susanna | 2/10/2013

    " It was very good.. I learned a lot of new things about John Kennedy. The stories of the early campaigns were fascinating.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Murray Johnson | 12/26/2012

    " A biography of personal rememberences by friends and those who served with him in the service and in Washington. Not in depth or analytical, but a very intimate look at the man who was 34th president "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harold | 7/12/2012

    " I found that I admired many things Jack Kennedy accomplished. I also found that Jack had flaws just like the rest of us. I found the Bay of Pigs incident much scarier today than I did as a high school senior. Life teaches one many lessons. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison Becker | 6/19/2012

    " Engaging personal portrait of JFK. More of a character study than a biography, but a very enjoyable read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce | 4/22/2012

    " Another JFK biography but written by the well known political analyst from MSNBC. A through account of his life with many facts I had not known before. I knew his health was never good but never knew it was this horrible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 4/13/2012

    " I'm a huge fan of Hardball with Chris Matthews and of Kennedy biographies, so I rushed to read this book. I found it an interesting political biography, but inexplicably, Matthews' writing style was at times, hard to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lambert | 3/21/2012

    " A fascinating read of the early years of Kennedy's life and the campaign for the presidency. The book ended like JFK's life-way to abrupt;y and without resolution. It is well written and it is something that captures interest and makes you want to keep reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd Ellsworth | 11/5/2011

    " A truly great and easy read. The stories from JFK's friends are wonderful and really paint a picture of what a great president and friend he was beyond the pictures and what was seen on tv. It's amazing what one man could accomplish and how many lives he touched in such a short time. "

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About the Author
Author Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews is anchor of MSNBC’s Hardball and The Chris Matthews Show. He is the author of Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America, and Hardball: How Politics is Played By One Who Knows the Game, and others. Previously, Matthews spent 15 years at the San Francisco Examiner and two years at the San Francisco Chronicle. He received a degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

About the Narrator

Holter Graham, award-winning audiobook narrator, has appeared in many films, including Fly Away Home, Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive, and Hairspray. His television credits include Army Wives, Wasted, Damages, and Law & Order, among others.