Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II” as Want to Read:
PT 109:  John F. Kennedy in World War II
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  517 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Crest Book with a photo section in center & photos on back cover.
August 2, 1943, in Blackett Straight in Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri rammed and sank an Americam PT boat leaving the crew for dead and the sea in flames. The skipper who was from Boston was LT. John Fitzgerald Kennedy and ten other men. This true story tells how they survived the next
Paperback, D523, 160 pages
Published 1962 by Fawcett Publications, Inc.(NY) (first published 1961)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about PT 109, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about PT 109

The Odyssey by HomerMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleDeath on the Nile by Agatha ChristieRobinson Crusoe by Daniel DefoeThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
88th out of 132 books — 57 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 738)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Pete daPixie
Apr 30, 2016 Pete daPixie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1961, this 40th Anniversary edition comes with a Foreword by Daniel Schorr, a Preface from author Robert J Donovan and Afterword on PT boat history by Duane Hove.
I picked this up in a book auction held at a seminar of Dealey Plaza U.K. My knowledge of Kennedy's WWII exploits come from dim memories of the PT109 film that I was taken to see at the cinema too many years ago.....I must have been around ten years old.
I can't agree with Ted Kennedy's quote, "To me, it has always bee
Erik Graff
Aug 10, 2010 Erik Graff rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: JFK fans
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff
Shelves: biography
This book was one of many which came out just before and during the Kennedy presidency. I'm pretty sure I read it after the election along with his Profiles in Courage, The Making of the President 1960 and a general biography probably written for the campaign the author of which escapes me right now. I also, naturally, listened to the comedic record, The First Family, and watched Jackie's show about the history of the White House on televison. Heck, I even watched the thing about Robert Frost th ...more
Chris Johnson
Apr 29, 2011 Chris Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I absoultely loved this book! It gives great insight into the wartime doings and heroism of Jack Kennedy and his crew of PT 109. This particualr version also comes with 2 forwards and an afterward that gives great insight into his other PT boat and his role there in saving 80 some marines from certain death. The book is obviously written in a positive light and looks at Kennedy as a hero, as he should well be remembered as such. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about WWII ...more
John E
Mar 10, 2010 John E rated it really liked it
Many, many years ago on the evening I was born, John F. Kennedy was being rescued from a tiny South Pacific island. Twenty years later he is killed in Dallas and my world changed dramatically. The world was no longer innocent, nor was is worth as much.

This slim book was well worth re-reading after so many years.
John Rivera
Jul 08, 2008 John Rivera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Read this when I was probably about fourteen, a couple of other times since then, and it never gets old. Kennedy was probably the last American President warranted any respect from the public and his character truly shows in this work.
Dec 20, 2012 Chelsi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Chelsi by: self interest
If this is the original book that was released about the PT-109 incident then I read this when I was in much younger. John Kennedy impressed me at a early age of his feats and struggles through his short life. Along with the PT-109 I read Profiles in Courage. Then in my last years of high school I had the chance to talk to a actual naval veteran that was operating in the part of the Pacific at the time of Kennedy's exploits. The reason that I had this opportunity was that I was the Company Comma ...more
William French
Jul 22, 2014 William French rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an engrossing book even though it was written with Kennedy looking over the author's shoulder. It is a favorable portrayal yet one gets the sense of Kennedy's detachment from those around him, a point made by Norman Mailer in his celebrated Esquire article about him after the 1960 Democratic convention. Did anyone ever really know this man? It may be, as Mailer suggests, that Kennedy was a mystery even to himself.
Greg Clapp
This was a good read, in spite of being fairly dry wartime historical non-fiction...which I usually try to avoid. It's the story of JFK's service in the Solomon Islands as a Navy lieutenant during World War II. It provides a vivid glimpse into the lives of the PT crews during that war and reveals the bravery and leadership qualities Kennedy displayed at a very early age. It's dry but worth plowing through to get to the real meat of the story: PT-109's crash, the marooning of the crew, and their ...more
Bob Conner
Man! What a story. I read this twice and have seen the film, watched many documentaries of John Kennedy's heroic adventure. It's not too often you get a story of an actual event that reads like an incredible fiction novel, but this is one of them.

You'll be very sad when the end shows up.
Chad Payne
Nov 07, 2014 Chad Payne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First book I ever read, and still one of the best stories of all time.
CJ Ruby
Aug 02, 2015 CJ Ruby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: naval, war, military, biography
When I was a kid I probably read this 20 times.
Hugh Atkins
This was a decent book, especially considering the context in which Donovan wrote. It was published in 1961 while JFK was president. Donovan's style is not very smooth and he gets carried away at times without completely identifying all the places, men, and situations. Still, this is a great account of JFK's remarkable experience in WWII and clearly shows his heroic actions after PT 109 collided with the Japanese destroyer.
Apr 20, 2011 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first books I read about John F Kennedy. I love this book and that it wasn't fiction. He was a great man with great flaws in life but he was also a hero to many men. I think everyone should read this book at lest one to get a butter understand of John F Kennedy.
Jul 24, 2011 Curtis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
This is a very moving true story of our men in action. I remember seeing the movie on TV - I must have been eight years old. This is essential American History - and an example of a real leader, on a completely different level from what we have now.
Aug 08, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to read this with an open mind, uncluttered by the modern interpretation of Kennedy's history. This was real, these men existed and it happened.
Aug 31, 2012 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although a touch dry, this book was an interesting study of the valorous acts of Pres. Kennedy, the officer in command of PT 109 after it was destroyed by a collision with a Japanese ship in the Pacific during WWII.

May 14, 2009 Gary rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book while in Jr. High. It gives an endearing look into the backbone and making of a future President. A brief yet fascinating look into the short life of John F. Kennedy.
Fredrick Danysh
During World War II, John F. Kennedy commanded PT-109 in the Pacific. When his boat was sunk, he is credited with saving crew members.
Dec 20, 2012 Jarrod rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
Wow. So dry. However with that being said, it brings a crazy spin on the president.
The president was a pretty hardcore guy.
Jul 19, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box13
I loved this book - 40th anniversary edition and I had not read since I was in High School. Great book
Jan 06, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in eighth grade and it still makes me cringe just thinking about it.
Tim Petersik
Feb 20, 2013 Tim Petersik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heroism and bravery-in-war in a man who would become president. Very inspirational.
Jun 14, 2009 Evan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was a very interesting and informative
Jim George
Stephanie Visca
Stephanie Visca rated it it was amazing
Aug 30, 2016
Bill Colburn
Bill Colburn rated it it was amazing
Aug 27, 2016
Tim Bozik
Tim Bozik rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2016
Steve Paine
Steve Paine rated it really liked it
Aug 22, 2016
Mike added it
Aug 22, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Consider The Eel: A Natural And Gastronomic History
  • Shackleton's Boat Journey
  • Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus
  • The Ocean World (Abradale)
  • Hemingway: A Biography
  • Hemingway on Fishing
  • Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing
  • The Great Hurricane: 1938
  • The Bridge at Chappaquiddick
  • Grover Cleveland (The American Presidents, #22, #24)
  • Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery
  • The Loss of the Ship Essex Sunk By a Whale
  • South with Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917
  • Kennedy
  • Andrew Jackson (The American Presidents, #7)
  • Men's Lives
  • Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s
  • Gipsy Moth Circles the World

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »