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Profiles in Courage

Profiles in Courage book cover

Profiles in Courage is a book by John F. Kennedy, describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight American senators from throughout the senate’s history. Those profiled crossed party lines and/or defied the public opinion of their constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and a loss in popularity because of their actions.

Table of contents

List of Senators Profiled

The Writing of the Book and Its Aftermath

Kennedy himself was a senator from Massachusetts from 1952 until he was elected president in 1960. Kennedy, with help from research assistants and the Library of Congress, wrote the book at his bedside during 1954 and 1955 while on leave from the Senate to recover from surgery to treat his troublesome back.

After its release, the book was widely acclaimed and helped Kennedy gather national recognition. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957 and remains one of the definitive books written on both political courage and the U.S. Senate.

Despite this, questions have been raised about how much of the book was actually written by Kennedy and how much by his research assistants. In 1957, newspaper columnist Drew Pearson appeared on ABC News and claimed that the book had been ghost written and later named Kennedy’s “research associate” Theodore C. Sorensen as the ghost writer. Both Kennedy and Sorensen denied this claim. ABC News, under pressure from Kennedy and his lawyer Clark Clifford retracted the story. Some critics still question Kennedy’s authorship of the book.

Also By JFK

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