John F. Kennedy was not only a president, but also a symbol for America's most cherished ideas. In The Kennedy Obsession, John Hellmann takes a thoroughly original approach to understanding Kennedy's star power and his carefully crafted public image. Tracing Kennedy's self-creation as diligent scholar, bashful hero, and sensitive rebel-cued by cultural figures such as Lord Byron, Ernest Hemingway, and Cary Grant-and the images of Kennedy in the aftermath of his assassination, Hellmann reveals the painstaking transformation of private life into public persona, of a man into perhaps the major American myth of our time.
John Hellmann is professor of English at the Ohio State University at Lima and the author of American Myth and the Legacy of Vietnam and Fables of Fact: The New Journalism as New Fiction.
Prologue: A Bedside Visit 1: How Kennedy Awoke: Jack's Reading and Why England Slept 2: John Hersey's "Survival": A Literary Experiment and Its Political Adaptation 3: The Old Man and the Boy: Papa Hemingway and Profiles in Courage 4: The Hollywood Screen and Kennedy's Televised Showdown with Truman 5: The Erotics of a Presidency 6: An Assassination and Its Fictions