After an initial honeymoon with historians, in recent years John F. Kennedy has been more carefully scrutinized. Michael O’Brien, who knows as much about Kennedy as any historian now writing, here takes a comprehensive look at the feature of Camelot that remained largely under the radar during the White House years: Kennedy’s womanizing. Indeed, O’Brien writes, Kennedy’s approach to women and sex was near pathological, beyond the farthest reaches of the media’s imagination at the time. The record makes for an astonishing piece of presidential history.
This original essay is published by Now and Then Reader, Digital Publishers of Serious Nonfiction.
Michael O’Brien was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and studied at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received a Ph.D. in history. He is the author of the widely praised John F. Kennedy: A Biography, a full-scale study based on eleven years’ research into letters, diaries, financial papers, medical records, manuscripts, and oral histories; and a concise analytical life of the president, Rethinking Kennedy. He is now emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Fox Valley, and lives in Door County, Wisconsin.