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Profiles in Courage

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  8,801 Ratings  ·  551 Reviews
The Pulitzer Prize winning classic by President John F. Kennedy, with an introduction by Caroline Kennedy and a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy.

Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage serves as a clarion call to every American.

In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for
Paperback, 244 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published 1955)
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Dev Goswami Its a mistake, Alphonso Taft began Yale in 1829 and didn't finish till 1832. In the old days, it was possible to take the bar without legal course…moreIts a mistake, Alphonso Taft began Yale in 1829 and didn't finish till 1832. In the old days, it was possible to take the bar without legal course work but this was probably a misprint and should read 1840. Good eye. (less)

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Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Modern American politics is so staggeringly and paralyzingly depressing that this book is refreshing to re-visit. It is important to be reminded that statesmanship, public service and sincere ideology are not just words in history books.

Written while John F. Kennedy was a senator himself, this testament of bravery and integrity is inspiring.

Partisan politics is to me repellant. However, one of the points made by Kennedy, represented and illustrated on virtually every page, is that American poli
Luís C.
Profiles of Courage

Americans who have made their country's policy their national banner. Men of courage who bravely defended America as a world power, in human terms with a terrible abnegation. J. F. K. makes here, in this memorable work, a huge public service to modern literature. Illustrious figures from the home country of Kennedy, Ireland and others in his presidential campaign, such as John McCain, are mentioned. He faced periods of racial segregation and economic turmoil. A book for young
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
“A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality.”
― John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage


It is now almost tradition that presidential candidates will publish a book prior to campaigning for the highest elected office. Profiles in Courage, however, was one of the earliest and most successful of these campaign books. While Kennedy largely wrote the beginning and the end of the book, the pro
Nov 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I read this shortly after JFK died. I attended high school in Arlington, Virginia during his presidency, and stood a few hundred yards from his grave site (along with thousands of others) when he was buried.

Profiles introduced me to the idea that people, even those in power, make choices. And their choices matter.

I didn't know then that it was ghost-written for him by one of his speech writers, but I was immediately aware that the book was written from "an angle", even though I didn't know what
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Once upon a time --" yeah, when I look at the cover of Profiles in Courage now, I start thinking about fairy tales. And I cry. Anybody else need a cup of tea and a bedtime story? Once upon a time, "in the room where it happens" (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton), there were officeholders who made "yugely" courageous choices -- John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Edmund G. Ross -- to name a few. They put principle above party, above popularity, above position. Imagine that; believe it, or "fact check ...more
Aaron Arnold
Kennedy was, and still is, many things to many people, but one of his aspects that doesn't get as much attention as it should is his writing. Profiles in Courage is a focused review of eight Senators in US history, chronicling instances where that man defied the pressures of various forces - his party, his state legislature, his President, but above all his constituents the American people - in a moment of national crisis, enduring insults from all sides in the conviction that the fevers of the ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Ultimate Reading List - History
I first read this book in my teens when I was very much a Kennedy admirer. These days, I'm decidedly ambivalent about him and his presidency, and rather emblematic of that is what I've learned of this Pulitzer Prize winning book since first reading it. By all rights, the byline for this book should read Ted Sorenson, not John F. Kennedy. In his autobiography, Counselor, Sorenson admitted what had been rumored for years--that he largely researched and wrote Kennedy's book for him, writing "the fi ...more
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The perfect book for a poli sci junkie like myself, especially one who's always admired John F Kennedy. Although President Kennedy takes a very small role in the book, the idea that he explores of courage in the life of politics is fascinating. Especially during a time when politicians have taken on such a tarnished image, a brief insight into a few of their lives gives an incredible understanding of the difficulty involved in the positions they hold. I would definitely recommend this book to an ...more
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I could have read this book in high school and had any sense of timing for most of the senators profiled. I lived in Houston for a bit and of course heard about Sam Houston, but I never thought about the Civil War happening on the heels of Texas statehood. I thought the two sections on Presidental sons--John Quincy Adams and Robert Taft were interesting on how they cope with being political families. Kennedy adds the chapter at the end about how the book is about being courageous, ...more
David Bales
A short, moving history of several individuals in the U.S. Senate who defied conventional wisdom and stood out on limb, holding opinions that differed from their party or the general belief of the time due to their integrity. John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Lucius Lamar, Edmund G. Ross, George Norris and Robert Taft are the ones that I can think of at the top of my head. Some are well known, like Adams and Webster, but Ross is obscure. He was a Republican senator from Kansas who voted against ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 15 24 Jun 27, 2015 10:41AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was the thirty-fifth President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

After Kennedy's military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during World War II in the South Pacific, his aspirations tu
More about John F. Kennedy...
“If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal", then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal.” 1048 likes
“A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality.” 50 likes
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