New Read: John F Kennedy (A Very Brief History)

Earlier this year, I finally got back into Mark Black’s A Very Brief History series, when I read Richard Nixon for the What’s in a Name 2017 challenge. So I thought I would keep the US president theme going by picking up the John F Kennedy instalment next.

Before reading this, I knew J F Kennedy as the young, handsome president with his glamorous wife, who brought a wave of hope and change with them. Sadly he is also remembered for the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’, the subsequent and disastrous ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion, and his tragic assassination on the 22nd November 1963 (I always find it poignant that on the same day, C S Lewis passed away quietly at home in Oxford). With this in mind, this brief history is probably the one I have learnt the least from. However there were details about how Kennedy organised his new administration, his military service and the ill-health that plagued his younger life, which were all new and interesting to me.

In hindsight, I think I am very lucky to have managed to collect so many of these short histories, as I doubt I would have ever read about Kennedy or any other US president for that matter otherwise. Which would be a shame because it is a place and history I know very little about. This was another clear and concise history (although I spotted a few grammatical/editing mistakes in this one) that is broken down into bite-size chapters on: his early life, military service, political career, winning the presidency, his domestic and foreign policy, and finally his assassination and it’s aftermath. I warn you now though if you already know something of Kennedy or American history I doubt you will learn anything from this. I recommend to those, like me, who know little to nothing.

Overall, John F Kennedy: A Very Brief History was another quick and mostly interesting read. I have nine more editions from this series still to go – it seems appropriate to read The Cuban Missile Crisis instalment next. Okay read.

Have you read this? Or anything else about J F Kennedy?


8 thoughts on “New Read: John F Kennedy (A Very Brief History)

  1. I read a biography of his last 100 days a couple of years ago, though the biographer used that as a jumping off point to look at his whole life really. It’s intriguing to wonder what would have happened if he’d lived…

      1. No, I tried a couple of his books recently and just couldn’t get into them, but I suspect I picked the wrong ones. I’ve tentatively got him on my list to try again, so I’ll bear 11.22.63 in mind – I assume it’s an alternative history based on the JFK assassination?

        1. I must confess FF, I have only read King’s dark fantasy series The Dark Tower and one of his short story collections…I haven’t braved what I would call his full ‘horror’ yet! But I did love the TV adaptation of 11.22.63, which is about time travel and trying to stop the assassination of JFK 🙂

  2. I did not know that detail about C S Lewis having passed on the same day as JFK. Both have been heroes of mine. Neither were perfect. I wish there was a Very Brief History series for the Prime Ministers of Great Britain.

    1. Yeah, I think JFK’s assassination almost completely overshadowed C S Lewis’ quiet death. And, I totally agree Judy, a brief history of British prime ministers would be great!

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