President Kennedy: Profile of Power
by Richard Reeves, Simon & Schuster, 798 pages.
Reeves, a political reporter in the 1960s, looks at the man and the dynamics of his Presidency at length and in depth. He finds Kennedy keen but careless, with a “love for chaos, the kind that kept other men off-balance.” The author’s fascination with his subject is contagious as he limns the President’s handling of the daily crises that are so much part of the job. Reeves writes that “what I searched for was what he knew or heard, said or read.” And as the incidents of courage and cruelty mount up, he refuses to explain away Kennedy’s contradictions. By the end, after keeping his guard up against the famous Kennedy charm for nearly eight hundred pages, Reeves arrives at a true liking for the thirty-fifth President, a well-rounded appreciation for him that only this much vivid detail could support.