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Profiles in Courage by John F Kennedy

November 10, 2013

I thought it was a good time to think about a great man struck down in his prime in Dallas on November 22, 1963 – 50 years ago.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (aka, John F. Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, and JFK) – Wikipedia:

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly known as “Jack” or by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from January 1961 until he was assassinated in November 1963.

Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime and arrested that evening, but Jack Ruby shot and killed him two days later, before a trial could take place.

From Wikipedia on Profiles in Courage:

Profiles in Courage is a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators throughout the Senate’s history. The book profiles senators who crossed party lines and/or defied the opinion of their constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of their actions. It begins with a quote from Edmund Burke on the courage of the English Statesman, Charles James Fox, in his 1783 attack upon the tyranny of the East Indian Company in the House of Commons.[1] The book was widely celebrated and became a best seller. John F. Kennedyis credited as its author, but there are credible allegations that most of it was the work of his speechwriter, Theodore Sorensen.

History and Background

Kennedy was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 for the state of Massachusetts. In 1952, he was elected the junior Senator from Massachusetts, and served in the Senate until he was elected president in 1960. It was a passage from Herbert Agar‘s book The Price of Union about an act of courage by an earlier senator from Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams, that gave Kennedy the idea of writing about senatorial courage. He showed the passage to Sorensen and asked him to see if he could find some more examples. This Sorensen did, and eventually they had enough not just for an article, as Kennedy had originally envisaged, but a book.[2] With help from research assistants and the Library of Congress, Kennedy wrote the book while bedridden during 1954 and 1955, recovering from back surgery.

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy

Read by John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Introduction written and read by Caroline Kennedy


“This is a book about that most admirable of human virtues— courage. ‘Grace under pressure,’ Ernest Hemingway defined it. And these are the stories of the pressures experienced by eight United States Senators and the grace with which they endured them.”

— John F. Kennedy

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy

Profiles in Courage by
John F. Kennedy (Audio CD) from Amazon

Audio CD:

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Abridged Audiobook (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
Also available from Barnes and Noble, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. There are also hard cover and paperback versions available at these locations as well:
Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy hardcover and paperback from Amazon

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy hardcover and paperback from Amazon

You can listen to Part 1 at
I listened to the first part and I intend to get the audio book version on CD to hear the rest. It is very well written by JFK and read by his son, JFK, Jr.
It is sad that both John F. Kennedy and his son, John F. Kennedy, Jr. are gone now, as is JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy.
I have been listening to JFK’s speeches and other oratory recordings of late as we approach November 22nd. It was a true tragedy to lose JFK as we did back in November 22, 1063. And it should not be forgotten, I think.

Audio version is available at – Well worth a listen either way.

We remember…

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