Half a century after his assassination, John F. Kennedy continues to evoke widespread fascination, looming large in America’s historical memory. Popular portrayals often show Kennedy as a mythic, heroic figure, but these depictions can obscure the details of the president’s actual achievements and challenges. Despite the short length of his time in office, during his presidency, Kennedy dealt with many of the issues that would come to define the 1960s, including the burgeoning Cold War and the growing Civil Rights movement.
In John F. Kennedy: The Spirit of Cold War Liberalism, Jason K. Duncan explains Kennedy’s significance as a political figure of the 20th century in U.S. and world history. Duncan contextualizes Kennedy’s political career through his personal life and addresses the legacy the president left behind. In a concise narrative supplemented by primary documents, including presidential speeches and critical reviews from the left and right, Duncan builds a biography that elucidates the impact of this iconic president and the history of the 1960s.