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Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency

National Archives Museum

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT

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Historian Mark K. Updegrove offers an illuminating account of John F. Kennedy’s brief but transformative tenure in the White House. Nearly 60 years after his death, JFK still holds an outsize place in the American imagination, yet his years in office were marked by more than his style and elegance. The author describes his Presidency as the story of a fledgling leader forced to meet unprecedented challenges, and to rise above missteps to lead his nation into a new and hopeful era. Updegrove reveals how JFK’s first months were marred by the Bay of Pigs invasions, a disastrous summit with the Soviet Premier, and a mismanaged approach to the civil rights movement. But the young President soon proved that behind the glamor was a leader of uncommon fortitude and vision. A humbled Kennedy conceded his mistakes and, importantly for our times, drew important lessons from his failures that he used to right wrongs and move forward undaunted. Indeed, Kennedy grew as President, radiating greater possibility as he coolly faced a steady stream of crises before his tragic end. Incomparable Grace compellingly reexamines the dramatic, consequential White House years of a flawed but gifted leader too often defined by the Camelot myth that came after his untimely death.


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