2020 Book Review: An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

I have to confess, on this list of all the books I’ve reviewed and will, this book is not my own. It was a borrow from my mother, who enjoys biographies. This, like most biographies, covers the highlights of the subject’s life, but also taught me a few new ones. It really digs into Kennedy’s life and shows a side of him I was never taught in school.

It is said that such focus has been on the death of a man that very clearly had so much life before his end. This book covers his illness, even how despite being sick he served active duty in the South Pacific as the captain of PT-109. I wondered time to time if the author tired of writing about the former president or if some lack of detail was purposely chosen to gloss over aspects of his life with some way he writes portions, but either way it didn’t cause me to lose momentum in my reading.

I didn’t expect a book to focus mainly on his passing, but his wife and his time in office mentioned far less than expected compared to other books I’ve read about him. It wasn’t until I was reading more about the book as a product that I learned how much had been left out. I am not sure if some of what I read about is true or not, but it is sad that if he had lost a child with his wife while in office was left out why it was. This isn’t something I knew of before, and if it’s true, I would’ve like to have learned about how he and his wife handled such a terrible loss. It must’ve really hurt Jackie O.

This is a VERY thick book and wasn’t something I could read in one sitting, but over many days. This is how I recommend this book be read. A long-lasting reading, as it is just so large.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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