The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Oct 15, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 640 pages
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 almost 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 one 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.

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THE KENNEDY HALF-CENTURY: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy

User Review  - Kirkus

Half a century later, Lee Harvey Oswald's bullets still reverberate, as Sabato (Politics/Univ. of Virginia; Pendulum Swing, 2012, etc.) recounts in this thoughtful consideration of John Kennedy's life ... Read full review

The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy

User Review  - Book Verdict

More than the other books this reviewer has assessed here, Sabato's (director, Ctr. for Politics, Univ. of Virginia; A More Perfect Constitution: Ideas To Inspire a New Generation) work gratifyingly ... Read full review


The Birth of a Legacy
President Kennedy Died at 1 p m Central Standard Time
All the Marbles
Victory Without a Mandate
The Torch Is Passed
Steel at Home and Abroad
Europe Space and Southeast Asia
Echoes from Dealey Plaza
Crossed Swords Camelot vs the Great Society
Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming JFKs Repudiation and Revival
The Carters and the Kennedys Democratic Hatfields and McCoys
Reagan and Kennedy Opposites Attract
Clinton Grabs Kennedys Torch
G W Bush Back to the Republican Kennedys
Full Circle The Twinning of Barack Obama and John Kennedy
The Peoples President

112263 Questions Answers Mysteries
Rounding Up the Usual Suspects The Assassinations Puzzle Palace
Examining the Physical Evidence Old and New Controversies
Inevitability The Assassination That Had to Happen
The Assassination and the Kennedy Legacy
Let Us Continue Lyndon JohnsonPretender to the Throne
A Flame Eternal?
Afterword for the Paperback Edition

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About the author (2013)

Larry J. Sabato is the founder and director of the renowned Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He has appeared on dozens of national television and radio programs, including 60 Minutes, Today, Hardball, and Nightline. He has coanchored the BBC's coverage of U.S. presidential returns and inaugurations, and has authored or edited more than a dozen books on American politics, including the highly praised A More Perfect Constitution-Why the Constitution Must Be Revised: Ideas to Inspire a New Generation. His other books include Feeding Frenzy, about press coverage of politicians; The Rise of Political Consultants; and Barack Obama and the New America. Sabato runs the acclaimed Crystal Ball website, which has the most comprehensive and accurate record of election analysis in the country. In 2001, the University of Virginia gave him its highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Enrollment is now open for a free JFK course online with Professor Sabato at

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