As the venerated modern philosopher Yoda says: “Do or do not. Logevall defends its supposed author: “Subsequent claims that Jack…must have had help with the organization, writing, and analysis, do not hold up under scrutiny.” He writes this even though he notes, in the same paragraph, “the important help he received from Seymour [a Joe Sr. PR man], Hopper [a Harvard professor], and Wild [another]” plus an “army of stenographers and typists.”. We want to hear your thoughts about this article. Jack’s sick-in-bed dodge to keep from voting on the censure of his dad’s old pal Joe McCarthy must therefore be quickly passed over. But the cheating hurt all the same, especially coming soon after [not to mention before] their wedding.”, In August 1956, Jackie was eight months pregnant. They persuade the family chauffer’s son to try it first. Logevall later says, “She loved being married…. Start your risk free trial with unlimited access. The quality was better limned 80 years ago, before Jack had been heard of, by the aphorist Logan Pearsall Smith: “Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave just as outrageously as the world will let them.”. No thanks, however, to this particular book. Logevall’s is another. In his JFK and all the rest of these “not really outstanding” books, the problem isn’t Kennedy’s elusiveness. McKinley, by the way, also had great personal popularity. O’Rourke, a political satirist who is a Washington Post contributing columnist, is the editor in chief of the online magazine American Consequences. Instead the saga ended in a sad heroic irony when Joe Senior’s designated substitute for his own political aspirations, a son with equally obnoxious ideas, Joe Jr., died in combat in 1944. Him and his damn charm. He couldn’t—and wouldn’t—be married to a woman who tried to share the spotlight with him,” Logevall says Jackie later said. It ended in callous manslaughter on Chappaquiddick in 1969. We don’t want to grasp and hold in our minds the reality of the man. Jack flew to the Riviera for a just-us-boys weeklong sailing trip with Torby Macdonald. Logevall has done too much research. He and his roommate at Harvard, the impecunious Torby Macdonald, went to dinner on a double date. Even the Associated Press, never quick on political-trend uptakes, ran a September 2, 2020, headline: “Kennedy Loss in Massachusetts May Mark End of ‘Camelot’ Era.”. In 2013, as the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination approached, the New York Times published an article by executive editor Jill Abramson. Yet JFK is a life of a saint that makes a hula hoop of his halo. Logevall does his clumsy best to walk upon his knees to the shrine. But, it turns out, he also wasn’t a very nice guy. from the Johns Hopkins University where he was a Woodrow Wilson fellow. “To Fay,” Logevall writes, “it was a disconcerting sign that his friend might be undergoing a change as he donned his political mantle, and not for the better.” Characteristically short on an ability to hold a grudge against Jack, as every acquaintance of Kennedy’s seemed to be, Fay later served as his undersecretary of the Navy. The discovery of a drug effective against the Addison’s disease from which Kennedy suffered “set off a mad rush for cortisone, and the Kennedys scrambled to store away supplies of it in safe-deposit boxes around the country so that Jack would never go without.” Logevall’s critique? And it ended in 2020 when Joe Kennedy II’s son, Joe Kennedy III, after four of the seemingly hereditary dim terms in the House of Representatives, ran in the Democratic Senate primary against incumbent Ed Markey—and lost. There’s the looks. There is no doubt about it that these dictators are more popular in the country than outside due to their effective propaganda.”, After graduation in 1939, Jack (with hospitality and official contacts arranged by ambassador dad) traveled through Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Anyone old enough to vote for Kennedy in 1960 is over 80 now. But Logevall is too plodding and academic and lost in the details of being himself charmed by Jack Kennedy to capture Jack Kennedy’s charm. They eat them anyway. History has tried to end the Kennedy saga. And then the saga ended sometime between 1986 and 1998 while Robert F. Kennedy’s son Joseph P. Kennedy II served six lackluster terms in congress. Charm comes from the Latin carmen—“song, verse, incantation.” In English, since the 16th century, the word has had a meaning of influence, persuasion, inducement. Then he quotes the kid. . “You can,” Kennedy wrote, “easily understand how that within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived.” Well, “significant” is one way to put it. “When another in a long line of wristwatches somehow vanished, Paul Murphy, who oversaw Joe Senior’s New York office and often paid the family’s bills, intervened.” (Murphy recommended cheaper wristwatches.). “[Jack] drew encouragement from the fact that his physical condition had improved markedly.”, And what about his relations with the opposite sex? Subscribe. (“In a television interview, he in effect called Indochina a lost cause.”). (And 49.55 percent of them voted for Nixon.) Lost your password? By the time we get to Kennedy’s 1956 Pulitzer-Prize–winning bestseller, Profiles in Courage, Logevall gives up and admits that Ted Sorensen wrote it. There’s the money. A few weeks before his 1953 marriage, Jack began an affair—to be continued a couple of years later—with a 22-year-old Swedish aristocrat, Gunilla von Post (who politely waited until Jackie Kennedy died to publish her torrid account). Logevall collects telling anecdotes without seeing what they tell. Logevall whistles as he walks past the graveyard of Kennedy’s 1954 judgment on Vietnam. It was the first Massachusetts election where a Kennedy had failed. And greater political support, having won reelection in 1900 by a margin of almost a million votes out of some 14 million cast. Please enter your username or email address. “I fell in love with Jack Kennedy immediately,” gushed Kennedy’s future FCC chairman Newton Minow. Like all good conservatives, the American satirist PJ O’Rourke is something of an anachronism, a nostalgic leftover from a funnier, if not gentler age – the age of hippies, marijuana, National Lampoon and the Vietnam War. Of all the things that the American political system needed, this was the last. Click here to send a letter to the editor. It ended in 2009 when John’s sister, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, striving to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, used the phrase “you know” 168 times in a 30-minute interview with cable TV station NY1. The baby girl was stillborn. Bring the monkey’s paw of being telegenic into politics? Share confidential news tips with The Post, The New Hampshire primary and the Fort Worth rodeo have more in common than you’d think, We need a political system that isn’t so sure of itself, It’s time to make rich people uncomfortable again. And then it ended between 1994 and 2010 while Ted’s son, the drug-addled Patrick J. Kennedy, served eight even more lusterless terms in congress. But then Jack describes the fate of those less fortunate than he in terms that would have birthed a million hostile stories about Mitt Romney: “A boy is born in the slums, of a poor family, has evil companions, no education, becomes a loafer, as that is all there is to do, turns into a drunken bum, and dies, worthless.”, Logevall wants us to see Jack as a keen and thoughtful observer of international politics, even on a 1937 college-summer-vacation jaunt through Europe. Don’t worry—Logevall doesn’t surrender. After two generations of partisan tarnishing, we want a political memory that gleams. There’s the occasional flash of wit (for which Logevall does not have much ear). He is the author of 20 books on politics, economics, etiquette, cars and other subjects. Finally Logevall resorts to Jack’s brave Senate vote for… the St. Lawrence Seaway. Logevall can cite the charm. Kennedy and Markey had no political or ideological (or for that matter ethnic) differences. There is no try.” He attempts to demonstrate Kennedy’s innate sympathy for the poor by dragging out a prep-school essay on social justice. Logevall describes Joe as “more pugnacious and combative” and “challenging older boys to fight.” Meanwhile Jack uses the “popular schoolyard currency” of marbles for “betting on his brother to win the scraps.”.