Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage served as a clarion call to every American. The inspiring true accounts of eight unsung heroic acts by American patriots at different junctures in our nation's history, Kennedy's book became required reading, an instant classic, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Now, a half-century later, it remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues.
This special "P.S." edition of Profiles in Courage commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication. Included in this new edition, along with vintage photographs and an extensive author biography, are Kennedy's correspondence about the writing project, contemporary reviews of the book, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two rousing speeches from recipients of the Profile in Courage Award.
Grace Under Pressure
By T. Graczewski "tgraczewski" - December 30, 2003
"Profiles in Courage" is a rare book - for a number of reasons.
First, of course, is that the author is nothing short of American royalty and the publication of the book in 1956 had an instantaneous impact on Kennedy's political fortunes. In the late 1950s, JFK was a freshman senator without many notable achievements. "Profiles" immediately set him apart from his Congressional colleagues and established him as something of an intellectual heavyweight in Washington and garnered valuable publicity that ultimately vaulted him to the 1960 Democratic nomination and the presidency.
Second, never before has a work of non-fiction been so immediately embroiled in controversy, both because of questions concerning its composition and the fact that it won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for biography. The consensus today -- nearly half-a-century after its publication and after intense scrutiny -- is that the book was essentially written by committee. JFK may have provided the... read more
Don't pass this one up
By Anthony Hinde - October 19, 2001
"Profiles in Courage" does not belong to any of my preferred genres. I became interested in it after researching John Quincy Adams. The film "Amistad" started me down this path and eventually led to JFK's Pulitzer Prize winning book. It was written while he was still a Senator and focuses, for the most part, on historic politicians. Kennedy obviously admired these men, not for their great successes but for the personal price they all paid as a result of choosing to do what they felt was right.Each man gets at most a chapter, and so Kennedy limited himself to one or two important events in their political careers, often their last stand. Not only are these men admirable but they are also very real. He manages to show us the human, less than perfect, side of each while convincing us of their moral strength. Each chapter leaves you wanting to know more about these men, who helped to shape American history.The nice part about the book, and probably the key... read more
Great profiles that present character of a forgotten age.
By Christian Engler - January 25, 2000
Joh F. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize winning Profiles In Courage is not an in-depth historical text, true, and it should not be read that way. If any reader was and is expecting to find fascinating, long biographies of the eight men in this book, then they should alter their expectations. Rather, readers should use these profiles as a precursor to major biographies that are fatter and thicker with more detail.Whether Kennedy or his speechwriter wrote this book is irrevelent to me, but what he did when he wrote this book was to narrow it down to a very slim margin of what courage is. What is it? How do people -- especially people in politics -- get courage? What circumstance or circumstances in their lives imbued that very important characteristic into their belief system when serving the public at large? What Kennedy does is explore those key moments in the lives of these men that could have been responsible for the attainment of that trait. Kennedy's style of writing is... read more