John F. Kennedy is revered by many to be one of our nation's finest presidents: a man of upstanding character and sophistication who epitomized the moral and political principles Americans valued during his presidency and continue to value today. However, more recent exanimations of Kennedy's life reveal that his striking public image does not match up with his personal lifestyle. This contradiction in images is the topic of Thomas C. Reeves book, A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy. In Reeves' novel, he seeks to correct common misconceptions about the former president's personal life and moral convictions and to reveal the motives behind the Kennedy administration's actions by critically examining Kennedy and defining the key components of character successful presidents should possess.
Reeves' book covers virtually all aspects of Kennedy's life and is primarily organized chronologically. While he does include details about Jack's early life and college years, the majority of the book is spent discussing Kennedy's political service including his senatorial position and his role as president.
Reeves also highlights the implications of such major events as Kennedy's campaign for the presidency, the Bay of Pigs invasion and Operation Mongoose, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Kennedy's involvement in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Issues of character are also broached by including details of Kennedy's affairs with numerous women, his involvement with mafia chief Sam Giancana and his initial reluctance to promote civil rights legislation despite promising to do so in speeches made during his presidential campaign.
Reeves begins his book by narrating the story of the first Kennedy's arrival in America, John F. Kennedy's paternal great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy. He also explains the Kennedys' rise to power through the works of John's father in the banking industry during the 1920's. A great deal of emphasis is...