Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

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Ivan R. Dee, Jan 1, 2005 - History - 214 pages
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One leading contemporary observer called it the finest American political document in more than forty years. Another said it was the best expression of the American spirit since Woodrow Wilson, and perhaps since Emerson. Approaching a half-century after its delivery, historians agree that there is at least one way in which John F. Kennedy ranks with Jefferson, Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt_in the quality of his inaugural address. In Sounding the Trumpet, Richard Tofel tells the full story of this mythic moment in American history. He draws on original research materials in the Kennedy Library and elsewhere around the country, and, unlike earlier treatments of the subject, on exclusive conversations with Theodore Sorensen, Kennedy's aide and chief speechwriter.Sounding the Trumpet thus reveals many unknown details about this landmark speech: _Why JFK's famous handwritten 'draft' of the speech is not a draft at all _What happened to the speech's first draft _How Kennedy rejected a last-minute, path-breaking addition about civil rights _How extensive portions of the speech came from a draft submitted by Adlai Stevenson _How John Kenneth Galbraith tried to supplant Sorensen as Kennedy's draftsman _Precisely how much of the speech Kennedy wrote himself, and how much came originally from a draft by Sorensen Mr. Tofel sets the political scene for Kennedy's inaugural address, tells the story of the inaugural day in detail, and follows closely the writing of the speech, its delivery, and its reception then and later. He plumbs its many sources, from Shakespeare to the Old and New Testaments, from a key sentence crafted by John Kenneth Galbraith to an important change suggested by Walter Lippmann, and notes the influence on the speech of authors from Maxwell Taylor to Walt Rostow to Strunk and White.The context of the address_representing not only the transition from America's oldest president to its youngest elected leader, but also Kennedy's desire to respond to Nikita Khrushchev's push for wars of national liberation_is fully explained. Appendices include never-before-published drafts and transcriptions of the address. In all, Sounding the Trumpet is not only a fascinating story but the definitive history of one of the great speeches in American history. With 5 black-and-white photographs. THE BOOK INCLUDES A DVD OF THE INAUGURAL ADDRESS.

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About the author (2005)

Richard J. Tofel is president and chief operating officer of the new International Freedom Center, a museum of freedom and a cultural center to be built at the site of the World Trade Center. Formerly assistant publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tofel is a graduate of Harvard College, the Harvard Law School, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. His earlier books, A Legend in the Making, about the 1939 New York Yankees, and Vanishing Point, about the disappearance of Judge Crater, have been widely praised. He lives in Riverdale, New York.

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