Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1994-10-03:
New Yorker writer Reeves offers his remarkably detailed account of JFK's life and the turbulent events of his presidency. (Nov.)
Appeared in Library Journal on 1993-09-15:
Reeves, the veteran journalist who has written books on Presidents Ford and Reagan, here offers an excellent study of Kennedy as crisis manager. He presents Kennedy as neither an amoral playboy nor the ruler of Camelot but a poorly prepared president with mediocre congressional experience. Each chapter presents a different day in the administration--a unique format that effectively reveals how Kennedy responded to simultaneous harrowing issues. The Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crises, Vietnam, and the diplomacy of arms reduction illustrate how Kennedy was constrained by the unshakable Cold War fear of monolithic communism. This approachable investigation of Kennedy's use of power, read in tandem with Nigel Hamilton's JFK: Reckless Youth ( LJ 10/15/92), provides a thorough, even-handed review of the Kennedy years. Highly recommended for most public libraries and all subject collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/93. -- Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp . Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Appeared in Choice on 1994-03:
Reeves has created a fascinating narrative of John F. Kennedy's three years as president, with an emphasis on leadership techniques. The almost day-by-day chronological approach makes the reader aware of the often unsettling juxtaposition of events: Kennedy was in a meeting discussing the coup against Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam on the day in 1963 that a bomb killed several black children at a Birmingham church. Reeves's account is thorough, touching on Kennedy's health problems and sex life while properly giving the most attention to public policy. The narrative is also dispassionate, with a minimum of analysis, although Reeves's occasional comments make the reader wish for more of the author's assessments. The narrative bears out Reeves's conclusion that Kennedy was "a gifted professional politician reacting to events he often neither foresaw nor understood," a man who was "intelligent, detached, curious, candid if not always honest ... careless and dangerously disorganized ... living his life as if it were a race against boredom." Reeves (political science, UCLA) has based this work on a complete review of all the appropriate primary, secondary, and oral history material. An excellent bibliographic essay describes and evaluates the continuing Kennedy literature. All levels. T. H. Baker; University of Arkansas at Little Rock