"A serious guy who treats serious things seriously."
JFK in the American Century
This show was first broadcast on October 22, 2020.
A bold new life of JFK cues Emerson’s line: “there is no history, only biography,” particularly when the life of a man and the American Century roll out together. John F. Kennedy was born – April 1917 – just days from the U.S. entry into World War One, one day after Lenin arrived at the Finland Station in Petersburg to start a revolution. August 1939, young Kennedy, princely & curious, turned up in Berlin, a week before Hitler invaded Poland. As a Harvard senior, he wrote himself a bestseller on why England (and much of the U.S.) had slept through the build-up of Hitler’s war machine. And then as president with an expansive view of U.S. power, he put the first American troops into Vietnam – into what he’d often said was a trap.
The historian Fredrik Logevall has written a grand fresh take on the life of John F. Kennedy, as if to reignite an old flame. He’s given us a chance to remember politics as the sport of great minds and hearts, high language, serious stuff.
Hear Chris Lydon and Fredrik Logevall talk about their favorite JFK Youtube clips:
Banner photo credit: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
Professor of History at Harvard, author of JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956.
David M. Kennedy