50bookchallenge #31/50: Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy

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.

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