Image - cover of the book "Incomparable Grace"
Past Event

JFK: Incomparable Grace

Nearly 60 years after his death, John F. Kennedy still holds an outsize place in the American imagination. Baby Boomers certainly remember his dazzling presence as president, but his brief time in office was marked by more than just style and elegance. His presidency is a story of a fledgling leader forced to meet severe challenges, and to rise above his early missteps to lead his nation into a new and more hopeful era.

Kennedy entered office inexperienced but alluring, his reputation more given by an enamored public than earned through achievement. Presidential historian Mark Updegrove details the setbacks of JFK’s first months: the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, his disastrous summit with Soviet Premier Khrushchev, and his mismanaged approach to the Civil Rights Movement. But soon the young president proved that behind the glamour was a leader of uncommon fortitude and vision. A humbled Kennedy conceded his mistakes and—important for our times—drew lessons from his failures that he used to right wrongs and move forward, radiating greater possibility as he coolly faced a steady stream of crises before his tragic end.

Join us as Updegrove reexamines the dramatic, consequential White House years of a flawed but gifted leader, whose brief but transformative tenure has too often been obscured by the Camelot myth that engulfed JFK after his assassination.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

Photo by Jay Godwin.

April 20, 2022

The Commonwealth Club of California
United States

Image - Mark Updegrove

Mark Updegrove

President and CEO, Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation; Presidential Historian, ABC News; Author, Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency

Image - Dan Ashley

In Conversation with Dan Ashley

Co Anchor, ABC 7 News; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors; Twitter @DanAshleyABC7

Watch the Video