Friday, January 20, 2012

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy

Profiles in CourageProfiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What is the point of this book? I think the point is that these politicians were courageous in opposing their political parties for what they perceived to be the best for "the union." But I'm not actually totally clear on the thesis. It was not about voting your conscience because the second story is about abolitionist Daniel Webster sacrificing his abolitionist beliefs to keep the union together and out of what would be the Civil War for what turned out to be only a decade. This is courage? This seems like the worst possible racism and cowardice to my modern scruples.

I can't even handle discussing Taft's opposition to the Nuremberg Trials. This is a "courage" example.

This book gives no background into the history of how the Constitution was set up with the expectation that politicians would stand up for their conscience above their political parties and wrote in a number of measures to help them do so- such as by not logging the name of the voter.

Finally, even though the book is short, the middle of the book is painfully boring.

I love John F. Kennedy, and I read that Ted Sorenson mostly wrote this book, but that's no excuse. I assume he read this before he put his name on it. I don't understand why this won a Pulitzer.

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