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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thurston Clarke Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartne Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A revelatory, minute-by-minute account of JFK’s last hundred days that asks what might have been

Fifty years after his death, President John F. Kennedy’s legend endures. Noted author and historian Thurston Clarke argues that the heart of that legend is what might have been. As we approach the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, JFK’s Last Hundred Days reexamines the last months of the president’s life to show a man in the midst of great change, finally on the cusp of making good on his extraordinary promise.

Kennedy’s last hundred days began just after the death of two-day-old Patrick Kennedy, and during this time, the president made strides in the Cold War, civil rights, Vietnam, and his personal life. While Jackie was recuperating, the premature infant and his father were flown to Boston for Patrick’s treatment. Kennedy was holding his son’s hand when Patrick died on August 9, 1963. The loss of his son convinced Kennedy to work harder as a husband and father, and there is ample evidence that he suspended his notorious philandering during these last months of his life.

Also in these months Kennedy finally came to view civil rights as a moral as well as a political issue, and after the March on Washington, he appreciated the power of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. for the first time.

Though he is often depicted as a devout cold warrior, Kennedy pushed through his proudest legislative achievement in this period, the Limited Test Ban Treaty. This success, combined with his warming relations with Nikita Khrushchev in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, led to a détente that British foreign secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home hailed as the “beginning of the end of the Cold War.”

Throughout his presidency, Kennedy challenged demands from his advisers and the Pentagon to escalate America’s involvement in Vietnam. Kennedy began a reappraisal in the last hundred days that would have led to the withdrawal of all sixteen thousand US military advisers by 1965.

JFK’s Last Hundred Days is a gripping account that weaves together Kennedy’s public and private lives, explains why the grief following his assassination has endured so long, and solves the most tantalizing Kennedy mystery of all—not killed him but who he was when he was killed and where he would have led us.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Thurston Clarke’s JFK's Last Hundred Days does a marvelous job of reliving Camelot’s fragile promise. Clarke is a masterful storyteller and able researcher. This book sings. Highly recommended.”

    Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Cronkite

  • “Thurston Clarke has done the seemingly impossible: He has found a revealing new angle of vision on John F. Kennedy that brings the president and his times back to vivid life. This is excellent narrative history.”

    Jon Meacham, New York Times bestselling author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

  • “The noted historian makes the case that JFK, who had just lost his infant son, was on the verge of vast achievement before his assassination.”


  • “Even half a century has not dulled our fascination with John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This book by veteran author Thurston Clarke charts the last hundred days of JFK’s life. Its time delineation is not purely arbitrary: During that brief period, the president suffered the loss of his premature two-day-old son, suspended his philandering, and made significant moves in policies involving the Cold War, Vietnam, and civil rights. With its riveting day-by-day accounts, this readable narrative makes one imagine how history might have been different had he lived.”

    Barnes&Noble, editorial review

  • “Mr. Clarke is a good storyteller…[He] offers an enjoyable snapshot of the day-to-day workings of the presidency.”


  • “Thurston Clarke’s JFK’s Last Hundred Days manages to surprise and…to delight.”

    Associated Press

  • “A gracefully written, fresh look at the oft-told story.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “There will be few, if any, contributions more entertaining and informative than Thurston Clarke’s comprehensive chronological telling of his last 100 days in office.”

    Financial Times

  • “Clarke does an interesting and in many ways persuasive job of what he proposes at the beginning: ‘to view John F. Kennedy through every prism and search through all his compartments during the crucial last hundred days of his life—days that saw him finally beginning to realize his potential as a man and a president—in order to solve the most tantalizing mystery of all: not who killed him, but who he was when he was killed, and where he would have led us.’”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] compelling portrait of one of the towering figures of twentieth-century America.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Certainly demonstrates that three often painful years in office had taught Kennedy valuable lessons…Clarke delivers a thoroughly delightful portrait.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A graceful, bittersweet chronicle…Clarke clearly admires Kennedy but does not ignore his flaws…An absorbing narrative.”

    Library Journal

  • “[A] compelling page-turner…Clarke makes a convincing argument that, had he lived, JFK would have opted for a 1964 running mate other than Lyndon Johnson—dubbed Uncle Cornpone by Kennedy and his crowd—and that, following his re-election, he would have gotten the US out of Southeast Asia. Domestically, Clarke contends, Kennedy would have pursued a strong civil-rights agenda…Detailed in both political and personal revelations, JFK’s Last Hundred Days does not delve into the assassination, though the stage is set. The morning they left for Dallas, JFK warned Jackie, ‘We’re heading into nut country today.’” 


  • “A fascinating, close-up look at the final dramatic months of a young president's life. Thurston Clarke’s portrait of Kennedy is masterful in this compelling convergence of history and biography.”

    Bob Herbert, distinguished senior fellow at Demos and former op-ed columnist for the New York Times

  • “Clarke makes the drama, the excitement, and the dark side of Camelot seem like only yesterday—indeed, you feel as though you’re right there, in the Kennedy White House, at Hyannis Port, and aboard Air Force One with JFK, today.”

    Strobe Talbott, president, Brookings Institution

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for July 2013
  • One of the Daily Beast’s Must-Reads: a “Brainy Beach Read”
  • A Christian Science Monitor Best Book for July 2013
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2013 in Nonfiction
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