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AN UNFINISHED LIFE: JOHN F. KENNEDY 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek

AN UNFINISHED LIFE: JOHN F. KENNEDY 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek

Published May 2004 by Back Bay Books.

849 pages.

Description (from Goodreads): Drawing on previously unavailable material and never-before-opened archives, An Unfinished Life is packed with revelations large and small -- about JFK's health, his love affairs, RFK's appointment as Attorney General, what Joseph Kennedy did to help his son win the White House, and the path JFK would have taken in the Vietnam entanglement had he survived.

Robert Dallek succeeds as no other biographer has done in striking a critical balance -- never shying away from JFK's weaknesses, brilliantly exploring his strengths -- as he offers up a vivid portrait of a bold, brave, complex, heroic, human Kennedy.


This is a great JFK biography - it's an unbiased, in-depth look at his political career. If you're looking for a book about the business side of JFK, this is the one for you. It was perfect for my Presidential Reading Challenge! If you're looking for something a bit more personal, or well-rounded, I'd seek elsewhere. This book made mention of Jackie, Caroline, and John Jr, but it was very brief. I, having read MANY Kennedy biographies, knew personal/family information that the book either glossed over or didn't mention at all. So I was able to piece together his career life with his personal life, but if you don't possess that knowledge, this book is not a well-rounded view of JFK that will fill you in on those details.

That being said, it is one of the reasons I really liked it. I've read some biographies that get too gossipy and are heavily opinionated. It was a nice break just reading about the unbiased facts. I legitimately could not ascertain whether the author liked or disliked JFK. Straight facts, allowing the reader to develop their own opinions.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, there were some parts that could come across as a bit dry to most. The author is great and I love reading about Jack, like . . .can't get enough, but neither of those make tax reform captivating or riveting.

An Unfinished Life is a great, career-focused, biography of John F. Kennedy. I gave this book a 4.5 rating.

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