16 / CHRONICLESna wide variety of topics.nJames MacGregor Burns, professor of political science atnWilliams College and an award-winning biographer ofnFranklin D. Roosevelt, published John Kennedy: A PoliticalnProfile. Burns portrayed the 42-year-old senator as deeper,nmore reflective, more responsible than the public, baskingnin the candidate’s good looks and eloquence, even imagined.nHe was “a serious driven man,” addicted to hardnthought and action, cool and self-possessed, brave, a man ofngreat moral strength who could give the nation the leadershipnit craved. “Such leadership calls for magical qualitiesnof heart and spirit, of joy and earnestness, indeed of rhetoricnand passion, that are bequeathed to few men.”nOnce Kennedy had secured the Democratic nomination,nArthur Schlesinger Jr., the Pulitzer Prize winning historiannfrom Harvard University, published a frankly partisanncampaign polemic entitled Kennedy or Nixon: Does ItnMake Any Difference? Schlesinger charged that the VicenPresident lacked a “steady deposit of conviction,” an “instinctnfor dignity,” a political philosophy, and a sense ofnhistory. Kennedy, on the other hand, was a man ofnprinciple, consistency, and self-confidence. He was “annexceptionally cerebral figure,” “a committed liberal” whonadmired intellectuals and would turn to them for advice.nNixon was in the Presidential race for private gratification,nthe author charged. “But Kennedy is ambitious because thenPresidency alone would give him the power to fulfillnpurposes which have long lain in his mind and heart.”nAs the Kennedy Administration got underway, a streamnof articles and books celebrated the character, intellect, andnpolitical skill of the new President. Theodore H. White’snhighly influential The Making of the President 1960 praisednKennedy for his high-minded ambition, energy, and intelligence.nWashington journalist Robert J. Donovan lionizednthe President, a long-time friend, in PT-109: John F.nKennedy in World War II, a book excerpted in the SaturdaynEvening Post and made into a movie. Richard Tregaskis, anKennedy classmate at Harvard, published John F. Kennedy:nWar Hero.nReporters in the major media, who had overwhelminglynfavored Kennedy during the election, lavished attentionnupon the handsome young couple in the White House,nnoting especially their attention to style, culture, andnlearning. Many stories focused on the Kennedy family’snhappy domestic life. While the President’s political policiesnoften drew sharp rebukes in the press, few leading writersnchose to attack Kennedy personally. In an article tantalizinglynentitled “What you don’t know about Kennedy,” Looknmagazine reporter Fletcher Knebel revealed nothing boldernthan the fact that “Kennedy uses profanity with the unconcernnof a sailor, which he was and is.”nNot everyone, of course, embraced Kennedy. EleanornRoosevelt and Harry Truman, for example, had longnsuspected that he lacked convictions and was littie morenthan an extension of his father’s ego. Voices on the far leftnand right were often extremely critical, and conservativesnincreased the tempo as the second Presidential campaignnbegan.nIn September 1963 conservative journalist Victor Laskynpublished what Newsweek called “the first thoroughly andnunmercifully anti-Kennedy book,” J.F.K.: The Man andnnnthe Myth. Several former charges were reexamined, includingna “first marriage” in 1947, poor helmsmanship aboardnPT-109, softness toward Joe McCarthy and his “ism,” andnvote-buying in the 1960 West Virginia primary. Laskyndissected JFK’s voting record in Congress as “one ofncarefully contrived contradictions.” But Lasky’s centralnthrust was aimed directiy at Kennedy’s personal character.nHowever charming, sincere, and brilliant JFK appeared tonbe in public, he was in fact, according to Lasky, cold,ncalculating,.vain, superficial, and morally obtuse. Kennedy’snassassination three months later made Lasky’s chargesnalmost unpatriotic, and the book was withdrawn from print.nOn the heels of the tragedy in Dallas, a literature ofnadulation burst into print, the likes of which the nation hadnnot experienced since the death of Lincoln. This wasnunderstandable, of course, given the President’s youth andnphysical attractiveness. Soon JFK became a legendarynfigure who presided over Camelot, a Presidential Administrationnof unmatched wisdom, virtue, and style.nIn 1965 Kennedy’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln,npublished My Twelve Years with John F. Kennedy. The booknwas romantic, worshipful, and dedicated “with love” tonKennedy’s children. Of far more substance were largenvolumes published that same year by Arthur SchlesingernJr., who had been a Special Assistant to the President, andnTheodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy’s speech writer and chiefnadviser since January 1953. Schlesinger’s book, AThousandnDays: John F. Kennedy in the White House, cast Camelot innconcrete. For more than a thousand pages, in learned,nmoving, and often brilliant prose, Schlesinger laudednKennedy’s intelligence, moral courage, self-awareness,nlearning, style, empathy, vitality, humor, detachment,ndiscipline, and compassion. The author used the wordncharacter several times, defining it once as “that combinationnof toughness of fiber and courage.” Indeed, fornSchlesinger, the President and his entire family werenvirtually beyond reproach; the Administration, so abruptlynand cruelly ended, was one of history’s brightest moments.nSorensen admitted that his view of the late President wasn”unobjective,” and his lengthy and eloquent Kennedynmatched Schlesinger’s volume in total devotion. JFK wasn”the brightest light of our time,” “almost a legendarynfigure,” a man whose “cool, analytical mind was stimulatednby a warm, compassionate heart.” Kind friend, devotednhusband and father, churchman, wit, war hero, author,nidealist, statesman—Kennedy was all of this and more.nSorensen was convinced that historians would rank hisnformer employer among the greatest Chief Executives.nIn 1972 political scientist James David Barber publishednhis much-heralded The Presidential Character: PredictingnPerformance in the White House. At the center of allnhistory. Barber argued, is the person; to understand thenpast, therefore, and make meaningful predictions about thenfuture, one must understand people—not just on thensurface, but on the deepest possible level. Barber wasnconvinced that it was especially important to understand thencharacter of American Presidents, those extremely powerfulnand influential men entrusted by the public with moral andnpolitical leadership. Barber based his treatment of Kennedynon the devotional volumes then available. JFK emerged,nas Sorensen had predicted, among the very best Chiefn