dracunculus would enjoy JFK’s account of Thomas Hart Benton’s reply to an inquiry whether he had known Andrew Jackson. Benton said, “Yes, sir, I knew him, sir; General Jackson was a very great man, sir. I shot him, sir. Afterward he was of great use to me, sir, in my battle with the United States Bank.”
Jack Kennedy is part of this nation’s iconography, and as one born too late to know anything about the time and events of his life, there is a confused quality to the opinions presented about the United States’ own martyred saint.
Looking to Profiles in Courage for the values of President Kennedy may have been a mistake. While certainly the accounts of the men of the Senate Kennedy admired bear some reflection of his own ideals, Kennedy never steps in to take a stand on any issues save to admire the men who came before him to take their stands.
I was a bit surprised to see that Kennedy’s book was limited to members of the United States Senate. I have no doubt of the integrity and courage of the men profiled, but I wonder if the title could better be used to describe a broader variety of courage.
This book certainly served to illustrate my own ignorance of American history. I’d like to know more of the careers of John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster. I should think that there are books published that would help me with that.