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JFK: The Last Speech explores the dramatic relationship between two seminal Americans—President John F. Kennedy and the poet Robert Frost—which reached its tragic climax in a surprising encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War.
Born out of these events is Kennedy’s remarkable speech about poetry and power, which alters the life course of a group of Amherst College classmates who witness this compelling address and continue to exemplify in their contemporary lives a portrait of the challenges facing America.
“A heart-warming book that recreates for a new generation an optimistic young president honoring an aging poet’s art, and combines youthful reactions of students who were there with mature stories from the paths they followed in their own creative lives.”
—ALICE M. RIVLIN, Senior fellow in Economic Studies and the Center for Health Policy, Brookings Institute; former vice chair, Federal Reserve Board; former director, OMB; founding director, Congressional Budget Office
“At a time when political morality, civility, and fidelity to a common destiny are brutally trampled, day by day, this volume on JFK’s call for the cultivation of civic virtue is welcome nourishment for our democracy. Kennedy’s final speech not only affirms the value of a liberal arts education as the seedbed for public service, but serves as timely inspiration for Americans aching to restore and reclaim the American dream.”
—HEDRICK SMITH, Author of Who Stole the American Dream?; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; Emmy Award-winning documentarian
“This book sounds a much-needed nonpartisan call for public service and civic engagement.”
—JAMES HARDING, Major General (ret.), USA
“JFK: The Last Speech is a project that could not have come to a boil at a more appropriate time in our nation’s history nor been presented in so compelling a way. At its heart it is a call to arms in the battle to preserve and enhance civic life, a challenge the project meets in film, on its website and—most ambitiously—as a book. Essayists from academia, journalism, the arts, and from a distinguished array of the country’s deepest thinkers offer thoughts provoked by John F. Kennedy’s last speech. The speech reminds us what an inspiration a president can be and each of these essays proves it. It is a volume to be read, reread, and then read yet again.”
—DOUG CLIFTON, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former executive editor of the Miami Herald, and editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer