Why England Slept by John F. Kennedy with a new foreword by Henry R. Luce
New York : Wilfred Funk, 1961. Hardcover. 252 pages ; 21 cm. Price clipped dust jacket, gift inscription on flyleaf, no other markings elsewhere, light foxing to side page edges, and binding are sound.
"Imagine that as a young man in college you wrote a book of judgment on the behavior of a contemporary empire, its leaders, and its people...
"Imagine that 20 years later when you are still young, you become President of the United States at a time when America faces grim possibilities of destruction and surrender ...
"Imagine, then, that you re-read the book you wrote in college and find that you would not be embarrassed by having it exposed again; this surely would be an extraordinary experience. Perhaps nothing like it ever happened before in the lives of all the leaders of men.
"This has been the experience of John F.Kennedy, 35th President of the United States "-Henry R. Luce
Written when John F. Kennedy was a senior at Harvard and published in 1940, Why England Slept is a brilliant appraisal of the tragic events of the thirties that led to World War II: it is an electrifying account of England's unpreparedness for war and a sober and serious study of the shortcomings of democracy when confronted by the menace of totalitarianism.
Many of John Kennedy's most impressionable years were spent in London where he was able to study at first-hand the epoch-making events of this crucial period before World War II. His remarkably mature interpretations of these days provide a startling chapter in modern history.
In Why England Slept, the author discusses democracy versus dictatorship, the psychology of a nation's people, defense expenditures, disarmament and rearmament, appeasement, pacifism, the role of capitalism in England's unpreparedness, and the penalty of Munich - among other things. Many of the ideas he expresses here are extremely relevant today.
Alarming in their implications and perhaps even prophetic in their interpretations, the conclusions presented by Kennedy, the college senior, are those of a keen student of international relations. When this book first appeared in 1940, the New York Times called it "a notable textbook for our times." The Wall Street Journal called it "required reading for all who are sincerely concerned with maintenance of our institutions." The Chris-tian Science Monitor called it a "sober, reliable, straightforward analysis of Great Britain's slowness in rearming to meet the Nazi menace." Long out of print, Why England Slept has been re-published by popular demand.
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