Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
Description: I feel like the first page of the book describes it perfectly: “These are the stories of the pressures experienced by eight United States Senators and the grace with which they endured them-the risks to their careers, the unpopularity of their courses, the defamation of their characters, and sometimes, but sadly only sometimes, the vindication of their reputations and their principles.”
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot more than I had expected. What surprised me is that this book wasn’t just informative but entertaining, filled with stories that were well written and interesting I was able to learn a lot. This book is well written and I was impressed that even though this was written in 1955, I didn’t get lost in the language that can sometimes happen when reading books 50+ years old. From the perspective of someone running for office I really appreciated this book and its stories in it. In the future I will keep this book in mind and reflect on the lessons in here.
Read This Book If: If you like reading political history and think it would be interesting to read stories about Senators defying their party and constituents at the cost of losing popularity and re election to do what they felt was right. The book starts with John Quincy Adams, focuses on Senators in the civil war era trying to delay it, and goes up to Robert Taft in 1948. George Norris a representative from Nebraska has his own chapter in the book, showcasing his determination to help people from war and poverty, with that being said if you enjoy the history of politics in Nebraska you might enjoy this chapter of the book.
Notable Quotes: “In no other occupation but politics is it expected that a man will sacrifice honors, prestige, and his chosen career on a single issue. Lawyers, businessmen, teachers, doctors, all face difficult personal decisions involving their integrity-but few, if any, face them in the glare of the spotlight as do those in public office.”
“Necessity compels me to speak true rather than pleasing things…I should indeed like to please you; but I prefer to save you, whatever be your attitude towards me.”
“For, in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, “holds office”; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve”