CRF Blog

Jack Kennedy

by Bill Hayes

In Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, TV pundit Chris Matthews has written another biography of the late president.

From the New York Times Book Review:

Matthews emphasizes the baleful shadow cast by Joseph P. Kennedy, the patriarch who drove his sons relentlessly. As Roosevelt’s ambassador to Britain in the late 1930s, he was a stalwart apologist for the Nazi regime and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement. According to Matthews, “after Kristallnacht, when it was starkly evident that there could be no accommodation with Nazism, Ambassador Kennedy was out there on his own.” John Kennedy, who had “devoured” Winston Churchill’s works as a teenager, sought to model himself on Churchill. Matthews reports that he sent a letter to The Harvard Crimson in June 1940 implicitly repudiating his father’s disgraceful position. His senior thesis, “Appeasement in Munich,” later published under the title “Why England Slept,” argued that America had to be ready to battle the Third Reich. The book was well received in Britain as well as in this country. [more]

Below Matthews talks about his book. (Matthews starts speaking at the 4:30 point.)