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Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
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Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  415 ratings  ·  19 reviews
An intimate portrait of an iconic American from the men closest to him.

As a politician, John F. Kennedy crafted an image that inspired and thrilled millions—and left an outsize legacy after his tragic murder. Only a select inner circle was privy to the man behind Camelot.

In Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers, two members of Kennedy’s “Irish
Paperback, 434 pages
Published September 1st 1983 by Little Brown and Company (first published January 1st 1972)
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Tom Schulte
I recently watched the documentary The Kennedys' Irish Mafia (2016) and it prompted me to finally get to this Kennedy memoir written by two of the insiders: O'Donnell, David Powers with journalist Joe McCarthy. I saw complaints about this being a whitewash and expected as much, but, honestly, I have had plenty of revelations and conspiracies. With a peek into Camelot, there is also some interesting history: Dave Powers "who was watching the president and Connally carefully during the shooting" t ...more
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Makes you wonder what his presidency would have been like had he lived under the ever watchful eye of current media.
Neil Harmon
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read many JFK books and thought I would listen to the audible version of this book just to round out my collection. I found this book to be different. Since the author was right with JFK through his rise to power and during all of his time as President, he documented a more intimate and personal account than most more scholarly historical accounts. This made the book very engaging and interesting. It is, of course, a "friendly" account but it is also detailed and provides a unique perspecti ...more
Charlene McGrew
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was good to get the perspective of the two men who worked closely with President Kennedy. They had alot of respect for JFK which I appreciated.
Tia Barbell
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This has easily been my favorite Kennedy book. Great read. I highly recommend it.
Teresa Lawler
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I first read this book when I was in junior high. Lots of interesting anecdotes along with what could have been.
Maureen O'Donnell
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Whitewashed .... bad
Pete daPixie
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-u-s, jfk, memoir
Three authors are credited with contributing their memoirs in 'Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye', first published in 1970. Kenny O'Donnell, Dave Powers and Joe McCarthy, political aides to JFK through his campaigns and elections to Congress in 1946, to the Senate in 1952 and 1958, his Presidential campaign and election in 1960, and through his White House years to November '63.
Although this is a fascinating and very poignant memoir, it is also somewhat inclined to sanctify.
The narration comes from O'Don
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
This book originally came out in 1970 and is now available in Kindle edition. Kenny O'Donnell and Dave Powers were 2 of the Kennedy's' closest aides who worked with him from 1946 until his death, they were in the car right behind when Kennedy was shot, and after his death both of them worked with Jackie Kennedy and helped her establish the presidential library.

This is an intimate and flattering portrait of Kennedy that reveals him in all the bright colors: how intelligent, witty, hard working, r
Ronald Wise
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Authors Kenneth P. O'Donnell and David F. Powers were both recruited as aides to JFK early in his political career and remained in his service until that fatal day in November 1963. This book addresses the assassination right away, and the remainder of the book is a chronological collection of their memories of him. Their recollections are often humurous, though they also describe the emotionally salient stresses of the times, both national and geopolitical.

Though we can assume the authors filte
Penny Pennella
This is essentilaly a love story from Kenny O'Donnell and Dave Powers. Kenny takes the narrative and gives us an insiders look into how the candidate made his mark and how the Preisdent ran his office. there are so many poignant kemories from these two men of the large and small incidents throughout Kennedy's all too short time as candidate and President. The memories of Kennedy's trip to Ireland and his visit, unannounced, to his sister Kick's grave on his way home thoroughly captivated me. The ...more
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I was already an admirer of John F. Kennedy before I read this book, but came away with an even more favorable opinion of him afterwards. "Johnny We Hardly
Knew Ye" is a sometimes maudlin labor of love by two of his former aides. We see the human side of JFK, and also get a revealing glimpse into the obnoxious personality of Lyndon B. Johnson, who comes off looking pretty bad here. Especially revealing is the curious way LBJ acted in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. The bitterness O
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
fond memoirs from two of kennedy’s top aides, undoubtedly full of bias but tremendous fun. very light-hearted, and certainly fully correct about LBJ being a rat bastard. the first chapter is deeply upsetting, as o’donnell and powers’ recollection of kennedy’s death is strikingly visceral, but it’s very intentionally the opening of the book so that the darkest piece isn’t the end, which works well. also bittersweet to read now, for the same reason
Leroy Erickson
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was published in 1970 and I bought it on April 27th of 1974. It got set to the side and I never read it until now. Kenneth O'Donnell writes about John Kennedy's political years, from his first run for the House in 1946 until his death in 1963. What comes through is O'Donnell's admiration of John Kennedy (and Jackie). His analysis of what went on during the Cuban missile crisis and other major events of the time are worth reading. Unfortunately, it also brings back feelings of what migh ...more
Bryan McCullick
Sep 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
an insider's view, admittedly done by two guys close to the subject, but still lots of good stories. vivid and honest descriptions of what happened during the first campaign for congress up to the presidency.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dave Powers saw everything Camelot had, yet never really opened up beyond this book.
Martin McGough
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hit close to home
Becky Kriz
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kennedys
An insider's look at JFK's legacy, written by one of his closest friends. I read this in a single day and didn't put it down for a second!
David Adair
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Sue Scott
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Kenneth P. O’Donnell (1924–1977) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in March 1924, and was the founding member of what the press dubbed the “Boston Irish Mafia,” which also included David F. Powers and Larry O’Brien. His father was the famed Holy Cross football coach Cleo O’Donnell. Kenneth O’Donnell became a bombardier pilot, a war hero, and a graduate of Harvard University, where he played fo ...more