JFK: Reckless Youth
JFK: Reckless Youth
- Author: Nigel Hamilton
- Publisher: Random House
- Edition: 1st
Who was the real JFK? Reckless Youth is filled with intriguing new material on virtually every aspect of JFK's early years: his Boston-Irish background; his beloved grandfather Honey Fitz; his draft-dodging, swindling father, Joseph P. Kennedy; his parents' disastrous and dysfunctional marriage; his loveless upbringing; his expulsion from boarding school; his false starts at college in London and Princeton, followed by his triumphant career at Harvard; his protracted struggle against his father's defeatism and isolationism before Pearl Harbor; his ceaseless career as a playboy; his lifelong battle with illness, and the origins of the deadly disease that would plague him in later days.
In retelling JFK's extraordinary life story, Nigel Hamilton has finally succeeded in getting beyond the many accretions and distortions of recent years. Here at last - often in JFK's own inimitable words - is the real John F. Kennedy, at once roguish and intelligent, reckless and yet possessing fine judgment. Based on a wealth of never previously published letters and documents, and access to more than two thousand interviews, Hamilton's portrait of the tormented, fun-loving, deeply amorous, and yet ambitious youth who was John F. Kennedy is profoundly touching. JFK's courage, despite debilitating ill health, in joining the Navy and insisting on service in PT boats comes to a dramatic climax with the saga of PT 109 in the Solomons - the only American vessel ever rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer. Against this legendary backdrop Hamilton reveals for the first time the intimate story of the greatest love of JFK's early life: his passionate romance with a suspected enemy spy, Inga Arvad.
The Kennedy that emerges from this volume is, behind his playboy facade, vastly more driven and more serious than historians have ever before portrayed him. As Hamilton shows us, though Joseph Kennedy reluctantly transferred the family's political mantle to his second son in 1944 and "bought out" the sitting congressman for Massachusetts' 11th District, the presidential dream that the ambassador had reserved for his eldest son was in fact JFK's own secret ambition, confessed to his mistress many years before his brother Joe's tragic death.
In this absorbing, riveting family saga, we see the true Jack Kennedy, warts and all; a symbolic, relentlessly honest, yet sympathetic story of the struggles of youth and early manhood that will not only entrance its readers but will also forever alter our understanding of this century's most popular and charismatic American president.
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