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Lot #78
John F. Kennedy Signed Book as President, Presented to Press Secretary - Why England Slept

President Kennedy presents a 1961 edition of Why England Slept to his former press secretary

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Estimate: $6000+
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President Kennedy presents a 1961 edition of Why England Slept to his former press secretary

Signed book as president: Why England Slept. Later printing. NY: Wilfred Funk, 1961. Hardcover with dust jacket, 6 x 8.5, 252 pages. Signed and inscribed on the first free end page in blue ballpoint to his former press secretary, "For Bob Thompson, with the high regards of his friend, John F. Kennedy. Autographic condition: fine. Book condition: VG+/VG, with small nicks and edge tears to the jacket.

Based on his Harvard thesis, Kennedy's first book examines the years leading up to World War II and the measures taken—or not taken—by England to extinguish the German threat before it developed into world war. First published in 1940, the book sold 80,000 copies in the United Kingdom and the United States and earned $40,000 in royalties. On Kennedy's ascension to the presidency in 1961, the book was reprinted in New York by Wilfred Funk.

Robert E. Thompson (1921-2003) was a top political writer and Washington journalist who worked as John F. Kennedy's press secretary in the late 1950s, quitting just prior to the then-Senator's presidential campaign. The men met through Robert F. Kennedy, who had befriended Thompson during the McClellan Committee hearings into labor racketeering. It was at a party in 1958 at RFK’s Hickory Hill estate that JFK asked Thompson to become his press secretary. One of Thompson’s major contributions to his new boss’s 1958 senatorial reelection campaign was a movie he put together entitled ‘The U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy Story,’ which was broadcast on Massachusetts television. Kennedy later remarked that ‘it was the best thing (he) had in the campaign.’ Thompson left Kennedy’s staff in 1959 and joined the Washington Bureau of the New York Daily News, where he eventually became their White House correspondent and was assigned to cover the new American President: John F. Kennedy.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring JFK 60th / Presidents
  • Dates: #678 - Ended November 08, 2023

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