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Live Stream

JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century

Registration ends 1 hour before program begins

Join us for a virtual conversation with Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Fredrik Logevall, who has written a revealing biography about our iconic, yet still elusive, 35th president.

At the time of his assassination in 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at the helm of the greatest power the world had ever seen, a booming American nation that he had steered through some of the most perilous diplomatic standoffs of the Cold War. Born in 1917 to a wealthy Irish American family, JFK developed political ambition at an early age. His meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president helped mythologize him, as did the many hagiographic portrayals of his dazzling charisma. Reports of his extramarital affairs, and disagreements over his political legacy, have also proliferated since his untimely death, but all these accounts fail to capture the full person.

Attracted by this gap in our historical knowledge, Logevall spent the last decade searching for the “real” JFK. The result is a two-volume biography that effectively contextualizes JFK amidst the roiling American Century. We will discuss volume one, which covers the first 39 years of his life—from his birth through his decision to run for president—revealing his early relationships, his formative experiences during World War II, his ideas, his writings and his political aspirations. Logevall shows us a more serious, independent-minded Kennedy than we’ve previously known, especially his distinct international sensibility, which developed amid the tumult of mid-century America and the Second World War, preparing JFK for his crucial role in keeping the Cold War cold.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

MLF: Humanities

Copies of Logevall's book are available for purchase at checkout (U.S. domestic shipping only) 

This is a free, online-only program; register to receive a link to the live-stream video

We welcome donations made during the registration process; these help support the production of our online programming during these uncertain times

Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Kennedy photo by Cecil (Cecil William) Stoughton

Fri, Oct 2 / 10:00 am PDT

United States

Image - Fredrik Logevall
Fredrik Logevall
Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs and Professor of History, Harvard University; Author, JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917–1956
Image - George Hammond
In Conversation with George Hammond
Author, Conversations With Socrates

10–11 a.m. (Pacific Time) program