So many books I’ve read of late remind me of how little I know.

I suppose it’s better to learn now than to forever be ignorant.

John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage (HarperCollins, 1956) opened my eyes (or ears, since I listened to the book) about the U.S. Senate, individual lawmakers, historical times, political will, and public sentiment during contentious times that I knew nothing about.

Thank you to the friend who recommended it. I knew of the book, but not what it was about.

The JFK Presidential Library and Museum’s website says, “When Kennedy took a leave of absence from the Senate in 1954 to recover from back surgery, it gave him the opportunity to study the topic of political courage. The project resulted in the publication of Profiles in Courage, which focuses on the careers of eight United States senators whom Kennedy felt had shown great courage under enormous pressure from their parties and their constituents.”

In 1957 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography.

The senators profiled are: John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft.

While I had heard of some of these men, I couldn’t tell you much. They certainly are names worth knowing.

We are living in divisive times. But this clearly isn’t the only time the United States has been divided.

What the book proved is there are people out there willing to do what’s right for the greater good and not just themselves. We could use more of that today.

This is a short book, but packed full of information.

I listened to it, which was interesting because John F. Kennedy Jr. read it, and Caroline Kennedy wrote and read a new introduction.

The end is so incredibly relevant to our world today; it’s about Kennedy’s take on democracy.

“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality,” Kennedy wrote.

Pin It on Pinterest