Exploring JFK’s doubts, legacy

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On November 28, 2011

A new biography released by two S&T historians examines the life and political career of President John F. Kennedy. In it, authors Michael E. Meagher and Larry D. Gragg look at the choices Kennedy made during his brief tenure, including civil rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the “space race.”

John F. Kennedy, A Biography “discusses Kennedy’s tragic miscalculations in the Bay of Pigs and his doubts about democracy,” says Meagher, associate professor of history and political science at S&T. “Kennedy first expressed these doubts when he was a Harvard undergraduate. He continued to question democracy in his later political life, including during his presidency.”

Meagher says the book also delves into Kennedy’s willingness to use “fear-based tactics” to manipulate the American people during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

This is Meagher’s first book. Gragg, Curators’ Teaching Professor and chair of history and political science, has authored books about the Salem Witch Trials, the Quakers and the colonization of the West Indies island of Barbados. He will soon publish a book about the perceptions of Las Vegas in popular culture and a biography of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, who played a role in the development of Las Vegas.

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On November 28, 2011. Posted in Research, Winter 2011