SOCIAL SCIENCES

Union Jack: JFK's Special Relationship with Great Britain

Univ. Pr. of New England. Jun. 2017. 272p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611688528. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781512600933. HIST
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Sandford (Harold and Jack) sets out to show how John F. Kennedy's formative experiences in Britain influenced his thinking as U.S. president and allowed him to strengthen the "special relationship" with the UK. From his early reading habits to his frequent experiences traveling to London with his father Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. (U.S. ambassador to the UK), Kennedy developed a deep affinity for British art, theater, music, political traditions, and rhetoric. In person, he observed the effects of Britain's appeasement of Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler, World War II's devastation, and Europe's reconstruction. Still in his early 20s, he befriended British aristocracy, who would continue as close friends for the rest of his life, including politician David Ormsby-Gore and socialite Deborah Mitford. This network of friends aided his decision-making on the signal issues of his presidency: the Suez Crisis, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Sandford records a number of Kennedy's sexual adventures and his endnotes contain unnamed private sources as well as archival and secondary ones.
VERDICT A lively, well-researched book for readers whose interest in the era has been piqued by the 2016 film Jackie, Barbara Leaming's Kick Kennedy, and the TV series The Crown.

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