Cover image for An unfinished life [John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963]
An unfinished life [John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963]
Dallek, Robert.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
30 audio discs (35 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Subtitle from container.

In 2 containers.


Compact disc.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E842 .D355 2003D Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



Dutch: World Citizen Edition

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

McGonagle's commanding voice and sober approach fit well with this scholarly, fascinating look at the life of an American icon. Dallek (Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973) plumbs several pertinent family papers for fresh revelations on Kennedy's health and liaisons, and ably outlines his upbringing, family history and path to the presidency. McGonagle is an experienced actor, and he keeps the reading at an even pace while rarely straying from a restrained, dignified tone. His impersonation of the Kennedys' famous Boston accents is only passable, and the occasional snippets of swelling music, complete with majestic trumpet calls, will strike some as over-the-top. But these are minor imperfections in an otherwise excellent recording. This audio abridgment is a worthy substitute for those interested in a stimulating new look at Kennedy's life, but who may not have the time to tackle the book's nearly 1,000 pages. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Forecasts, May 12). (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Dallek has done here for Kennedy what he did for Lyndon Johnson (Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant). He has written the most accessible, balanced, and scholarly biography yet of JFK. Given access to more records about Kennedy than any previous biographer, he concludes that the Addison's disease and chronic back pain Kennedy endured most of his life resulted from steroid injections he received for a variety of childhood illnesses. The outstanding feature of the book is that Dallek praises and faults Kennedy without the emotionalism that detracted from many earlier biographies. Kennedy is criticized for his well-documented womanizing and for taking a political instead of a principled stand on civil rights while President because he didn't want to risk losing the considerable support of Southern Democrats. Kennedy, once reelected in 1964, would have removed American troops from Vietnam, suggests the author, a theme also advanced by Howard Jones in Death of a Generation. Dallek acknowledges that this is not the final account of Kennedy; as more documents become available, new interpretations and different conclusions will be forthcoming. For now and the immediate future, it is the Kennedy biography against which others will be measured. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The availability of new documents, oral histories, and telephone and Oval Office tapes prompted presidential historian Dallek (Boston Univ.) to revisit John F. Kennedy's personal and political life. Dallek's research in medical records demonstrates that Kennedy was sick throughout his life. Beyond back problems and Addison's disease, an adrenal insufficiency, Kennedy suffered from acute gastrointestinal illnesses. Dallek suggests that the medicines doctors administered to the young Kennedy for his colitis and digestive problems may have exacerbated his back problems and Addison's disease. The author also discovered that among President Kennedy's numerous mistresses was a White House intern of college age, but judges that neither Kennedy's health nor his womanizing impaired his presidential performance. Scholars will find, however, little that is new about Kennedy's presidential policies. Dallek's discussions of the Bay of Pigs, Berlin Crisis, nuclear arms race, and Cuban Missile Crisis are pedestrian and ordinary. He offers no new insights into covert interventions in areas such as Brazil and British Guiana. Dallek speculates that, during a second term, Kennedy would have limited US involvement in Vietnam, but President Johnson could reasonably conclude that he was continuing his predecessor's Vietnam policies. Summing Up: Recommended. All libraries. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Two-year Technical Program Students; Professionals/Practitioners. Reviewed by S. G. Rabe.