This groundbreaking biography of the most charismatic of all 20th-century American presidents reveals the profound, lifelong impact on John F. Kennedy of British history, literature and values. Drawing on extensive new and astonishingly intimate primary materials and original interviews, Leaming has uncovered the dramatic line that runs through Kennedy's complicated life, the trajectory of the friendships and forces that led to the White House and shaped his actions there. Here is the childhood reading of a sickly boy; Jack's rapturous engagement at the age of fifteen with the writings of Winston Churchill; and his transforming experiences as a member of the Second Sons' Club of young aristocrats in pre-war London, where his father was the American ambassador and where his sister introduced him to a group of friends who would have a deep and lasting influence on Jack. Leaming also covers his campaign for the White House "on the Churchill ticket" and the dramatic thousand days of the presidency. Brilliantly researched, compellingly told, this is a colourful and tumultuous narrative of friendships and family, tragedy and triumph.
Barbara Leaming is one of America's premier biographers. With the help of Orson Welles, she was the first to write a serious biography of this noted director and actor. She is also the author of the bestselling Katharine Hepburn, hailed by the Daily Telegraph as "a book of rare distinction". Leaming's articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair. She is married and lives in Connecticut.