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Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency

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Acclaimed author and historian Mark K. Updegrove, head of the LBJ Foundation and presidential historian for ABC News, offers an illuminating account of John F. Kennedy’s brief but transformative tenure in the White House. Nearly sixty years after his death, JFK still holds an outsize place in the American imagination. While Baby Boomers remember his dazzling presence as pre Acclaimed author and historian Mark K. Updegrove, head of the LBJ Foundation and presidential historian for ABC News, offers an illuminating account of John F. Kennedy’s brief but transformative tenure in the White House. Nearly sixty years after his death, JFK still holds an outsize place in the American imagination. While Baby Boomers remember his dazzling presence as president, millennials more likely know him from advertisements for Omega watches or Ray Ban sunglasses. Yet his years in office were marked by more than his style and elegance. His presidency is a story of a fledgling leader forced to meet unprecedented challenges, and to rise above missteps to lead his nation into a new and hopeful era. Kennedy entered office inexperienced but alluring, his reputation more given by an enamored public than earned through achievement. In this gripping new assessment of his time in the Oval Office, Updegrove reveals how JFK’s first months were marred by setbacks: the botched Bay of Pigs invasions, a disastrous summit with the Soviet premier, and a mismanaged approach to the Civil Rights movement. But the young president soon proved that behind the glamour was a leader of uncommon fortitude and vision. A humbled Kennedy conceded his mistakes, and, importantly for our times, drew important lessons from his failures that he used to right wrongs and move forward undaunted. Indeed, Kennedy grew as president, radiating greater possibility as he coolly faced a steady stream of crises before his tragic end. Incomparable Grace compellingly reexamines the dramatic, consequential White House years of a flawed but gifted leader too often defined by the Camelot myth that came after his untimely death.


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Acclaimed author and historian Mark K. Updegrove, head of the LBJ Foundation and presidential historian for ABC News, offers an illuminating account of John F. Kennedy’s brief but transformative tenure in the White House. Nearly sixty years after his death, JFK still holds an outsize place in the American imagination. While Baby Boomers remember his dazzling presence as pre Acclaimed author and historian Mark K. Updegrove, head of the LBJ Foundation and presidential historian for ABC News, offers an illuminating account of John F. Kennedy’s brief but transformative tenure in the White House. Nearly sixty years after his death, JFK still holds an outsize place in the American imagination. While Baby Boomers remember his dazzling presence as president, millennials more likely know him from advertisements for Omega watches or Ray Ban sunglasses. Yet his years in office were marked by more than his style and elegance. His presidency is a story of a fledgling leader forced to meet unprecedented challenges, and to rise above missteps to lead his nation into a new and hopeful era. Kennedy entered office inexperienced but alluring, his reputation more given by an enamored public than earned through achievement. In this gripping new assessment of his time in the Oval Office, Updegrove reveals how JFK’s first months were marred by setbacks: the botched Bay of Pigs invasions, a disastrous summit with the Soviet premier, and a mismanaged approach to the Civil Rights movement. But the young president soon proved that behind the glamour was a leader of uncommon fortitude and vision. A humbled Kennedy conceded his mistakes, and, importantly for our times, drew important lessons from his failures that he used to right wrongs and move forward undaunted. Indeed, Kennedy grew as president, radiating greater possibility as he coolly faced a steady stream of crises before his tragic end. Incomparable Grace compellingly reexamines the dramatic, consequential White House years of a flawed but gifted leader too often defined by the Camelot myth that came after his untimely death.

30 review for Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Incomparable Grace is an excellent portrait of the Kennedy presidency. It is relevant, thought-provoking, and surprisingly easy to read when reading most such books are like slogging through a swamp. The focus of the book is unquestionably of the presidential years though, of course, some background is often given with regard to earlier years. It is an evenhanded biography which neither relegated itself to elevating JFK nor to denigrating him. It presents him as all too human with early growing p Incomparable Grace is an excellent portrait of the Kennedy presidency. It is relevant, thought-provoking, and surprisingly easy to read when reading most such books are like slogging through a swamp. The focus of the book is unquestionably of the presidential years though, of course, some background is often given with regard to earlier years. It is an evenhanded biography which neither relegated itself to elevating JFK nor to denigrating him. It presents him as all too human with early growing pains as he assumed the presidential mantle and awkwardly faced down Nikita Krushev, with a difficulty with marital fidelity that expressed itself with young interns, with gangster’s mistresses, and of course with the bombshell herself, none of which was a secret to the Secret Service or to Jackie herself. The book addresses issues chronologically, beginning with the standoffs with the Soviet Union and the mistake that was the Bay of Pigs, showing how decisions were arrived at and how the Bay Of Pigs was a disaster from the start with little visible US support and a misreading of the situation in the island. The standoffs with the Soviets continued in later chapters with the Cuban Missile Crisis, which perhaps was a result of the earlier debacle, and JFK’s maturing to the role as the world teetered in the brink of an all it nuclear war. Later in the book, the standoffs with the Soviets continue as Kennedy enters West Berlin after the Wall went up and declares I am. Berliner. The other recurring issue for Kennedy was the Civil Rights movement, which he wished at first would wait until his second term when he would have a more free hand. The book chronicles how the Civil Right leadership responded that they could not wait any longer and eventually captured Bobby Kennedy’s ear and then the President’s ear. Indeed, with the violence in Birmingham and other hot spots, federal troops were needed to maintain order. All in all, a top-notch book bringing to life the Kennedy years and the quick maturation of a man who was quick becoming a stand-out leader before his untimely demise in Dallas.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I learned about politics when I was nine years old and a friend asked me who my parents were voting for. If we weren’t for Kennedy, it meant we were Protestants and going to hell. I had no idea what she was talking about. I was clueless about politics and religion. I had to go home and ask my mom. She was voting for Kennedy, but we were going to hell anyways. I was ten when the adults were riveted to the television, fearful of nuclear war. Now I know that was the Cuban Missile Crisis. We had a dr I learned about politics when I was nine years old and a friend asked me who my parents were voting for. If we weren’t for Kennedy, it meant we were Protestants and going to hell. I had no idea what she was talking about. I was clueless about politics and religion. I had to go home and ask my mom. She was voting for Kennedy, but we were going to hell anyways. I was ten when the adults were riveted to the television, fearful of nuclear war. Now I know that was the Cuban Missile Crisis. We had a drill at school where we filed into the school basement and sat along the walls. And when I was eleven, I walked home from school in tears, and a few days later we gathered around the television to watch Kennedy’s funeral. These moments were my earliest knowledge of the world beyond my family and school friends. As an adult, I have struggled with the image and the reality of President John F. Kennedy. He was wildly popular and deified after his death, and yet he has been revealed as a very flawed man. Exactly what is his legacy? Was he a good leader, or a failure? What is his legacy? Incomparable Grace by Mark K. Updegrove is an insightful, concise consideration of JFK’s presidency, his strengths and his weaknesses. This very readable and enjoyable history is a great introduction. JFK come into the presidency with a number of challenges in place, civil and economic and international. The generals were more hawkish toward the Soviets. The economy was stalling. As a democrat, he needed to keep the Southern vote while reacting to the Civil Rights movement. America needed to respond to the Soviet’s advancements in space. Few thought that he had the experience to met the challenges. JFK’s mishandling of the Bay of Pigs, Updegrove shows, led to Khrushchev to send missiles to Cuba. JFK’s equanimity successfully brought resolution. He was slow in responding to Civil Rights and Vietnam, perhaps waiting until reelection to take more controversial steps. He stood up to US Steel president Roger Blough when he proposed to raise steel prices, forcing him to capitulate. (Blough was a college friend of my grandfather!) The move was seen as anti-business, causing markets to plummet. Updegrove reminded me of why JFK was so well liked and inspirational. He was young and good-looking. His wife was glamorous and intelligent and a trendsetter. Photographs showed them as a happy family. His speeches and vision were inspirational. He represented a new America, a younger America, a more hopeful America. He had a moral vision for America. So let us begin anew–remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never feat to negotiate. President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address quoted in Incomparable Grace by Mark J. Updegrove Even when he failed, he took responsibility, making him even more likeable. Patriarch Joe Kennedy set the standard for being a Kennedy, which included womanizing, JFK’s great moral failing; he became involved with a teenaged White House college intern. Reliance on family loyalty was a Kennedy creed; JFK’s brother Bobby became his Attorney General and nearly a co-president. In life-long continual pain, JFK never complained, tapping into the Kennedy pride of strength. Who was this man, and why has he consistently be rated as one of the best presidents? Updegrove quotes JFK’s statement, “All I want people to say about me is what they said about John Adams–He kept the peace.” It’s a good legacy. I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    INCOMPARABLE GRACE: JFK IN THE PRESIDENCY by Mark K. Updegrove Dutton Pub Date: Ap 26 I've read much on the entire Kennedy clan and found this history of JFK's short time as President to be impactful and absorbing. Written by the head of the LBJ Foundation, Mark Updegrove, it is well-researched, deftly written, and a must-read for anyone intrigued by JFK and American presidential history. Thanks to the author, Dutton, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. #incomparablegracejfkinthepresidency INCOMPARABLE GRACE: JFK IN THE PRESIDENCY by Mark K. Updegrove Dutton Pub Date: Ap 26 I've read much on the entire Kennedy clan and found this history of JFK's short time as President to be impactful and absorbing. Written by the head of the LBJ Foundation, Mark Updegrove, it is well-researched, deftly written, and a must-read for anyone intrigued by JFK and American presidential history. Thanks to the author, Dutton, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. #incomparablegracejfkinthepresidency #MarkUpdegrove #Dutton #NetGalley

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Anderberg

    For the reader who doesn’t know a whole lot about Kennedy or why he continues to have such allure in American culture, "Incomparable Grace" is the perfect book. It’s slim (under 300 pages), always readable, and provides just the right context about both the personal and the political lowlights and highlights. The only problem is that "Incomparable Grace" doesn’t offer much new or uniquely interesting for someone who’s read a lot about our presidents. I read the whole thing, but most of it served For the reader who doesn’t know a whole lot about Kennedy or why he continues to have such allure in American culture, "Incomparable Grace" is the perfect book. It’s slim (under 300 pages), always readable, and provides just the right context about both the personal and the political lowlights and highlights. The only problem is that "Incomparable Grace" doesn’t offer much new or uniquely interesting for someone who’s read a lot about our presidents. I read the whole thing, but most of it served as either a reminder or compressed digest of what I’ve read elsewhere. If you need a JFK primer, this is a good option. If you’re looking for more of an in-depth treatment, I think Frederick Logevall’s new book or Robert Dallek’s "An Unfinished Life" will remain the go-to titles.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Reviews Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency by Mark K. Updegrove is a wonderful nonfictional account and in depth look at the events that took place specifically during his time in the White House. It is excellent! I love anything Kennedy. I have read numerous history, nonfiction, biographies, memoirs of not just former President Kennedy, but also Jackie, his family, and their legacy. So, of course I could not wait to delve into a book that took a magnifying glass to the events, actions, out Reviews Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency by Mark K. Updegrove is a wonderful nonfictional account and in depth look at the events that took place specifically during his time in the White House. It is excellent! I love anything Kennedy. I have read numerous history, nonfiction, biographies, memoirs of not just former President Kennedy, but also Jackie, his family, and their legacy. So, of course I could not wait to delve into a book that took a magnifying glass to the events, actions, outcomes and legacies involving his years as President. This gem covers not only professional, but also personal events that affected and helped shape his time in office. The author clearly has done his research and gives a balanced and honest look at his struggles, strengths, weaknesses, progression, and presents it in an easy to follow and understand form. I devoured this book in two days and cannot recommend it enough for anyone fascinated with American history, Presidential history, and of course history involving JFK himself. A great addition! 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Dutton/Penguin Group for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts immediately upon publication on 4/12/22.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    This book is mainly focused on Kennedy’s years in the White House. It is a good overview of those years and is well written and a quick read. I have read several books about JFK that go into more depth that this one and ones that focus on particular actions in his administration. This is a good book for those who are looking for a quick read about the Kennedy Presidency. I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a This book is mainly focused on Kennedy’s years in the White House. It is a good overview of those years and is well written and a quick read. I have read several books about JFK that go into more depth that this one and ones that focus on particular actions in his administration. This is a good book for those who are looking for a quick read about the Kennedy Presidency. I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook and my nonfiction book review blog.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    Probably shouldn’t have wasted so much time on this when it was already pretty evident (early on) that it’s not as comprehensive or as detailed as the Logevall book! By no means an impressionistic portrait, but skates over the key/crucial era: the childhood/upbringing/formative years. And felt like a shallower, incomplete reflection of jfk’s identity, family, and values (And will anything ever be as in-depth as the >900-page biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower I read a few years ago?)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Delaney Cummings

    The book was interesting but there was some false information. The author claimed that Mrs. Kennedy was a graduate of American University in DC. In fact according to George Washington University, the JFK Library, and Google Mrs. Kennedy graduated from George Washington University.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Collins

    I always love history written with some literary flair! This fair and balanced account of Kennedy’s administration was fascinating and highly readable!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews

    Normally, I don’t like books that micro-analyze a few years of a famous person’s life. And let’s face it: I know so much about JFK and his presidency, would there be any new information provided in Incomparable Grace? The short answer is no, there’s no new information here, but it is presented in a way that reflects upon the time we live in now. So that makes it new in a way. There’s a brief biography of John F. Kennedy leading up to his role as President of the United States. Growing up in a lar Normally, I don’t like books that micro-analyze a few years of a famous person’s life. And let’s face it: I know so much about JFK and his presidency, would there be any new information provided in Incomparable Grace? The short answer is no, there’s no new information here, but it is presented in a way that reflects upon the time we live in now. So that makes it new in a way. There’s a brief biography of John F. Kennedy leading up to his role as President of the United States. Growing up in a large Irish Catholic family, serving in the south Pacific during World War II where his boat was sunk, serving in Congress and the Senate without any major distinctions to his name, before being catapulted to the big stage: leader of the Free World. The early part of his presidency was a disaster with the Bay of Pigs invasion and his first summit with Soviet Premier Krushchev. But the thing that’s important to know, and what’s telegraphed in this book, is that Kennedy learned something from each mistake so it wouldn’t happen again. Through that growth became a man more confident in his abilities, able to handle whatever was thrown his way, more calculated and level-headed than he had been before. It’s interesting that now we see that Kennedy wasn’t so big on the Civil Rights Movement until his brother, Bobby, moved him there. He wanted nothing to do with it because he might lose the southern Democrats in the 1964 election. But events pushed him out of his comfort zone to urge for a Civil Rights Amendment and an end to the violence on blacks in the south. I’m always fascinated reading of Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I’m even more fascinated by the way he handled the Soviets given the current circumstances with Russia. Our house was built right after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and we have a 12 x 12, 12-inch thick concrete bomb shelter in our house. It’s proved useful whenever there’s severe weather and we’re forced to the basement, and the extra storage room is great, but I can’t help but think back to a time when the threat of bombing America was an abstract thing and not reality. Like I said, there’s nothing new here, but the book shows how Kennedy grew as a leader and as a husband and father during his time in the White House. And of course, it makes one wonder what the future could have been like had Dallas 1963 had never happened.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    Incomparable Grace JFK in the Presidency by Mark K. Updegrove Pub Date 26 Apr 2022 PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, Dutton Biographies & Memoirs I am reviewing a copy of Incomparable Grace through Penguin Group, Dutton and Netgalley: Almost sixty years after his death, JFK still holds a large place in the American Imagination. While Baby Boomers remember his dazzling presence as president, millennials more likely know him from advertisements for Omega watches or Ray Ban sunglasses. But his his years in office Incomparable Grace JFK in the Presidency by Mark K. Updegrove Pub Date 26 Apr 2022 PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, Dutton Biographies & Memoirs I am reviewing a copy of Incomparable Grace through Penguin Group, Dutton and Netgalley: Almost sixty years after his death, JFK still holds a large place in the American Imagination. While Baby Boomers remember his dazzling presence as president, millennials more likely know him from advertisements for Omega watches or Ray Ban sunglasses. But his his years in office were marked by more than his style and elegance. His story was that of a fledgling leader forced to meet unprecedented challenges, and to rise above missteps to lead his nation into a new and hopeful era. When Kennedy entered office he was unexperienced but alluring his reputation more given by an enamored public than earned through achievement. In this gripping new assessment of his time in the Oval Office. In Incomparable Grace Updegrove reveals how JFK’s first months were marred by setbacks: the botched Bay of Pigs invasions, a disastrous summit with the Soviet premier, and a mismanaged approach to the Civil Rights movement. But it wasn’t long before the young President proved that behind the glamor was a leader of uncommon fortitude and vision. Kennedy was humbled and admitted his mistakes and, importantly for our times, drew important lessons from his failures that he used to right wrongs and move forward undaunted. Kennedy grew as president, radiating greater possibility as he coolly faced a steady stream of crises before his tragic end. If you’re looking for a great biography that paints a vivid picture of John F Kennedy, and his presidency. I give Incomparable Grace five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    Incomparable Grace is the story of JFK's Presidency. Each time I read about about a President, I am always amazed I learn something new that I had not read or heard before. I was not disappointed in this book. Author and historian Mark K. Updegrove, head of the LBJ Foundation and presidential historian brings more information that gives us an insight in a different way than the previous books I have read. I was only eight when JFK was assassinated, so my memories are solely of his funeral, but i Incomparable Grace is the story of JFK's Presidency. Each time I read about about a President, I am always amazed I learn something new that I had not read or heard before. I was not disappointed in this book. Author and historian Mark K. Updegrove, head of the LBJ Foundation and presidential historian brings more information that gives us an insight in a different way than the previous books I have read. I was only eight when JFK was assassinated, so my memories are solely of his funeral, but it is ingrained in my memory. The more I read I find he was not a perfect man, and yet we expect so much from the people we elect. We also vilify them when they don't live up to those expectations. The job itself does not come with a manual and they hit the ground running as soon as they arrive with ideals of how much they will change things for the better. Seldom does the outgoing President have everything tied up with a nice bow, having left nothing undone. In spite of this, for the short time JFK was in office he left his mark and will be revered. This was a wonderful detailed story full of intimate details for those who love history and especially JFK. I received an ARC from NetGalley for an unbiased review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shoshana

    One of the clearest memories of my childhood was being taken by my mother to her polling place to see her vote for John F Kennedy for president. And of course I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about his assassination. My mother cried all weekend, and I remember the dignified bearing of Mrs Kennedy which helped the entire nation make our way through the trauma. "Incomparable Grace," by Mark Updegrove, tells the history of the Kennedy presidency. This is not a long bo One of the clearest memories of my childhood was being taken by my mother to her polling place to see her vote for John F Kennedy for president. And of course I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about his assassination. My mother cried all weekend, and I remember the dignified bearing of Mrs Kennedy which helped the entire nation make our way through the trauma. "Incomparable Grace," by Mark Updegrove, tells the history of the Kennedy presidency. This is not a long book, and at first I was apprehensive that it would gloss over too much, but I was pleasantly surprised. Updegrove does not cover the minutiae of events but rather he writes about Kennedy himself, and how he grew into his presidency. I kept thinking about how much our nation and the world lost when he died. This is an excellent book. For those who know a lot of the history,it is an interesting look at the material from a different view. For those new to the subject it is a useful primer. Well-written and even-handed, I can heartily recommend it. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joseph J.

    This easy to read volume will be especially valued by those seeking an introduction to the Kennedy Presidency. This is neither the canonization of a martyr, nor a sensationalist expose' of JFK's personal character flaws. The latter is noted, and rightly so and citing no less than the late Hugh Sidey. While JFK's Bay of Pigs Disaster, his reluctance to champion Civil Rights, and his inexperienced shock meeting early Soviet threats are detailed, overall we see a young leader growing and maturing. This easy to read volume will be especially valued by those seeking an introduction to the Kennedy Presidency. This is neither the canonization of a martyr, nor a sensationalist expose' of JFK's personal character flaws. The latter is noted, and rightly so and citing no less than the late Hugh Sidey. While JFK's Bay of Pigs Disaster, his reluctance to champion Civil Rights, and his inexperienced shock meeting early Soviet threats are detailed, overall we see a young leader growing and maturing. As a child I recall my mother's fear during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and my parents'-my family's-relief when the worst passed. (Even then we did not know the full extent of the worst, thank God.) The next autumn, as a child in Catholic school, I recall the fear, grief and yes tears at his assassination. A leader, not a saint. A visionary constrained by domestic and political reality and geo political threat. Here is a wonderful survey and account of a thousand days. I have heard Updegrove speak at Francis Marion University, and he is an absorbing presence. I enjoyed this volume. Read the footnotes and welcome bibliography for sources providing fuller accounts of JFK.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Cooper

    It's a book about the Kennedy presidency that you'll actually finish and won't just leave on the shelf. It's quick and accessible but still full of anecdotes and interesting details. Making it the perfect book for a vacation, or a gift for a birthday or college graduate. It's JFK's legacy through a series of vignettes (Cuba, Berlin, Birmingham, Vietnam, the March on Washington) curated by a historian, Mark Updegrove, who knows what to put in and why these stories still matter. MLK, LBJ, and Bobby It's a book about the Kennedy presidency that you'll actually finish and won't just leave on the shelf. It's quick and accessible but still full of anecdotes and interesting details. Making it the perfect book for a vacation, or a gift for a birthday or college graduate. It's JFK's legacy through a series of vignettes (Cuba, Berlin, Birmingham, Vietnam, the March on Washington) curated by a historian, Mark Updegrove, who knows what to put in and why these stories still matter. MLK, LBJ, and Bobby are present throughout the chapters. The soaring Kennedy rhetoric is in here ("We choose to go to the moon", "Let them come to Berlin", etc...), but so is the decision making and Kennedy's human side. President Kennedy is mortal in this book and not infallible. The flaws aren't left out. And that gives you a fuller accounting of who he was and why. And why JFK is still relevant today. For all his faults private and public, Kennedy was graceful under pressure, he kept the peace, and he moved America forward. And that's a powerful example told here in a way that feels new again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Incomparable Grace is about JFK the man not the myth. The time period is JFK's time in office and the issues facing the country. I was in 4th grade when JFK was shot and I remember being sent home from school early. At the time I did not really understand the scope of this event. In the years since there has been so much myth about the president, it is refreshing to read about his time in office without the myth. I learned more about the history of the time and the driving forces behind his pres Incomparable Grace is about JFK the man not the myth. The time period is JFK's time in office and the issues facing the country. I was in 4th grade when JFK was shot and I remember being sent home from school early. At the time I did not really understand the scope of this event. In the years since there has been so much myth about the president, it is refreshing to read about his time in office without the myth. I learned more about the history of the time and the driving forces behind his presidency. This book is a good read. Thank you to #goodreads, @MarkKUpdegrove and @Dutton for a copy of this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    Thank you Penguin Random House Audio for the free audiobook. This is a concise and insightful volume that efficiently maps the major challenges JFK faced during his all-too-brief presidency - frankly acknowledging which he rose to (the Cuban Missile Crisis) and which he moved on only hesitantly (civil rights). Narrator Robin Miles is absolutely masterful, but note to author and editors: there's no reason a nonfiction book published in 2022 should include the phrase "Indian summer." Thank you Penguin Random House Audio for the free audiobook. This is a concise and insightful volume that efficiently maps the major challenges JFK faced during his all-too-brief presidency - frankly acknowledging which he rose to (the Cuban Missile Crisis) and which he moved on only hesitantly (civil rights). Narrator Robin Miles is absolutely masterful, but note to author and editors: there's no reason a nonfiction book published in 2022 should include the phrase "Indian summer."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Lambe

    Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this new work. This was an excellent read. Well-written and researched. Fans of Kennedy or fans of presidential history will eat this up. This is not a doorstop - just the right length at around 300 pages. Definitely recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth Ann Garcia

    Insightful but dry.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Well written biography. Seemed fairly unbiased

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abby Miles

    basically I love jfk and that’s all

  22. 4 out of 5

    J Earl

    Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency, by Mark K Updegrove, is a balanced deep dive specifically into Kennedy's presidency. Like many people of my age one of my earliest memories beyond family is JFK's assassination and funeral. While my mother had left Catholicism my grandmother still had every book, serious and coffee table, and growing up I read them all on vacation. As an adult I've kept up with the periods of adoration and accusation thrown his way, much of both justified, much not. Thi Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency, by Mark K Updegrove, is a balanced deep dive specifically into Kennedy's presidency. Like many people of my age one of my earliest memories beyond family is JFK's assassination and funeral. While my mother had left Catholicism my grandmother still had every book, serious and coffee table, and growing up I read them all on vacation. As an adult I've kept up with the periods of adoration and accusation thrown his way, much of both justified, much not. This book offers a nice look that, while ultimately praising his willingness to learn and adapt, doesn't shy away from his blemishes either. The strength of this book, if you're interested specifically in Kennedy, is that enough detail is given to illustrate his decision making and his thinking but doesn't get into the details that would be included in a book about the actual events. In other words, the book is about Kennedy and how he evolved during his short time in office, not about the crises or policies themselves and the way they played out in detail. There are plenty of such books, and they are great reads for the most part, but they are about those events, not Kennedy's Presidency. I make that distinction because if you've read books about the various events, the Bay of Pigs for instance, you will know more detail about it than is in this book. That is not a weakness, those other books, while discussing what Kennedy did, were not focused on Kennedy but on the incident. So fewer details here is not a weakness of this book any more than fewer details about Kennedy's growth in those other books are weaknesses of those. I liked this book primarily because it was focused, both on a short period of time and a very specific purpose. Putting the information, much of it already familiar to me, in this type of narrative allowed me to think more specifically about him rather than each incident or policy. I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in the Kennedy's. Because the focus of the book is narrow you will see facts you already knew in a different light. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jodie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Mann

  26. 5 out of 5

    doug mowrey

  27. 5 out of 5

    Zood

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joan Vuncannon

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leslie K

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maryann Fox

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