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Summary

An original and illuminating narrative revealing John F. Kennedy's lasting influence on America, by the acclaimed political analyst Larry J. Sabato.

John F. Kennedy died half a century ago - yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato - himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency - explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.

A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn't died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK's assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public's view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK's presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions - often in surprising ways - of every president since.

Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half-Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK's short presidency has had on our national psyche.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Larry J. Sabato (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Jerome
  • 12-08-14

Job Well Done

It was very intersting how Sabato put this book together. There were many facts that i did not remember and some I knew nothing about that caught my attension. If you are a history buff or not, this is a good listen to learn and review the Kennedy years.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 04-12-13

Strong Account of Kennedy Presidency and Death

Would you listen to The Kennedy Half Century again? Why?

I would, in time. It has some depth and length, so I wouldn't call it a page-turner, but if you're interested in the subject matter I can certainly see giving it a repeat listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Kennedy Half Century?

Sabato's even-handed look at the Nixon crimes and the Kennedy clan's own unethical behavior was interesting. Sabato also details the media's protection of Kennedy, and contrasts that with the present state of the American press. I think Sabato did a good job in highlighting how much questionable behavior by Kennedy has been overlooked even in the modern era, but without using it to disparage his capabilities as a leader or his positive influence.

What didn’t you like about Chris Kayser’s performance?

The performance was problematic for me. The narration was a little "mushy" overall, like he was sitting and speaking too closely into a microphone at times. That was distracting, but wouldn't justify a low rating on its own. My biggest problem was with Kayser's bizarre cadence and timing. He would intermittently pause in sentences that resulted in the impression that Sabato's book was filled with hundreds of randomly placed commas. Frequently, the pauses were soon before or after commas, which Kayser also paused for, making the entire performance disjointed and very confusing if you aren't paying close attention (listening in a car, for example).For example, this sentence would be, the type of issue I am, talking about.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JJ
  • 19-06-16

If You Read One Book On JFK - Pick This One

This is by far the best book on the topic I have listened to. The assassination has been well documented in many other books but this one in particular examines how JFK's legacy has affected politics and American society since 1963.

I would highly recommend this book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pat
  • 17-12-13

I Wish I Could Give This Book More Stars!

I was skeptical purchasing this book since no one else had written a review but decided to give it a chance after seeing Sabato in an interview on TV. The book is long and for good reason. Sabato goes into every detailed account of the events specific to the Kennedy presidency, and not just the assassination, but also the other history changing events, such as the Cuban Missle Crisis and the Bay of Pigs......then outlines the history of the era and how it effected the Presidents that followed. This book is the history lesson I never had. I can't recommend the book enough!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 28-04-14

different take

Any additional comments?

i have downloaded a ton of kennedy books recently. This was interesting because it is not just about him but about the influence the kennedy presidency has had over the last 50 years. I thought it was very interesting although parts were a little superficial.
the other issue i had is that i think he gives too much credit to conspiracy theories. about the middle ⅓ of the book is about the assassination. He basically goes through one theory after another saying there is nothing to support it (or even worse), but then always leaves the window open by saying but it has not been totally discounted. Well shouldn't it be on the proponent of the theory to provide some substantive evidence that this is plausible?? To say well there is no evidence that supports it but it could be true or some variant could be true gives the reader the wrong ideas.
Oterhwise well worth the read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Allen
  • 15-01-18

One-third great

This book is divided into roughly three parts; 1) JFK's early life and presidency; 2) his assassination; 3) the impact JFK and his assassination had on American politics and the presidency after his death. I would rate the first of those three parts as average, not great. Author Larry Sabato profiles JFK's personality perhaps a bit less than would have been ideal, but he provides a solid basis for the rest of the book in describing JFK's early life with family and his rise to the Senate and presidency. The second part is where this book is weakest. The author adds nothing new to the pre-existing mountain of JFK conspiracy literature, and sometimes borders on sensationalism. At times he holds the same drumstick that lesser authors do, repeating inaccurate and misleading statements. For example, he reiterates the unconsidered opinion that the Warren Commission Report was a brief, rushed, incomplete, and dangerously flawed document (in truth, the Warren Commission report was nearly 900 pages long and an additional 26 hearing volumes contained testimonies from 550 witnesses and evidence. No other murder in American history was scrutinized, investigated, researched, and documented than the death of JFK). To his credit the author provides some balance in addressing the question of whether the JFK assassination was the work of one man or a conspiracy, but in tone it generally it panders to the conspiracy theorists. Perhaps the author believed that a discussion of the assassination in depth, including the conspiracy theories, would be expected by anyone purchasing a book on JFK, but I believe this section of the book does little to complement the remainder of the work. The last part of this book is where Sabato shines. I had never before considered the lasting impact that JFK, and his assassination, had on the American presidency. The author does a masterful job of getting into the minds of LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, later presidents who either suffered from or reveled in the legacy of the assassinated president. This book is worth experiencing for this part of the book alone.

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  • Daniel N. Hill
  • 01-04-15

Good rehash!

Was a nice return to days past. Story refreshed some aspects that had slipped over time, definitely a professor wrote the story.