Profiles In Courage is proof that it’s easier to buy a Pulitzer than write a good book.
Or… maybe it’s proof a good ghostwriter is worth his weight in gold?
Or maybe it’s further proof of The Golden Rule – he who has the gold makes the rules.
I couldn’t finish this book – regardless who wrote it.
The consensus is that JFK did not.
He may have had the idea for the book.
He may have managed the book.
He may have overseen the book.
He may have scribbled a few notes in crayon and passed it onto the guy who was writing it. But JFK didn’t write it, like, you know… an author.
JFK’s idea was to profile several heroic senators in history. Being a freshman senator himself, this was a solid idea. Profiles was published in 1956 to rave reviews. Shortly thereafter Mike Wallace (yep – that Mike Wallace) said, “Jack Kennedy is … the only man in history that I know who won a Pulitzer prize on a book which was ghostwritten for him.”
Ole Joe Kennedy knew how to grease the skids in Hollywood and in Bootlegging backrooms – snagging a book award for his son probably took two phone calls. One to Pulitzer HQ and one to his son, “Just smile and wave, Jack. Just smile and wave….”
Profiles is a series of meandering, unexciting stories punctuated by a few moments where you think, “Hey… this is interesting. If they stay on this track this could be rather enter–. Doh. Nevermind.”
As Profiles dragged on, a single word pushed me over the edge.
It means “bitter, characterized by verbal abuse.”
Synonyms: invective, vitriolic, abusive.
I don’t have a problem with $3 words like vituperative. I occasionally trot them out myself when I’m feeling goosey.
The problem arises when vituperative is used four times in 25 pages.
C’mon man…. That’s ridiculous.
I don’t blame JFK for this – he didn’t write it.
Vituperative was actually dropped in a fifth time on page 174, but I had bailed on Profiles in Courage about 50 pages earlier… cursing vituperatively under my breath.
Bottom line: Listless book about guys you never heard of (OK – other than John Quincy Adams…) written by a guy whose name isn’t on the cover.
Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com). He’s reading 52 books this year – or at least he’s trying. This book did not help further the cause.
NA. Profiles In Courage by JFK*
Categories: Libro 52 Challenge