Listening In - The secret recordings of President John F. Kennedy

Book & Audio Review |
By Suzanne Gougherty | 

I must admit to listening to the audio portion of Listening In first and referenced the companion book at least 80 times, and both were amazing. The combination provided a unique look at JFK and his day to day work, his leadership, and his deep concern about the issues he faced during his short presidency.  

From my perspective, it was like being a fly on the wall listening to Kennedy's remarks as he handled conversations with his cabinet members. In many instances, Kennedy gave only one or two-word responses, which I found priceless. 

This combo package shares a portion of his early days – The Kennedy Campaign song, letters to Jacqueline, and a meeting with Dwight D. Eisenhower. The book and audio include everything from the Cuban Missile Crisis, civil rights, space program, and other foreign policy issues brewing during days in the White House. Most intriguing was the recording of JFK and Khrushchev, where his gutsy manner paid off.

A few other things that stood out were how presidential Kennedy was as he sought opinions and gathered information. But what stood out was Kennedy's ability to hear the other person - he was a skilled listener, no matter who was involved in the conversation. 

The book is chucked full of photos. A couple of my favorites include meeting with the organizers of “The March on Washington for Job and Freedom" and the family of Medgar Evers two weeks after his assassination by a white supremacist. 

Even though the audio is faulty,  it is nonetheless worth the time. The foreword by Caroline Kennedy is so thoughtful and touching, and overall, the book and recordings are treasures.   

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