The composite picture of the late President Kennedy which comes through from the many eulogies and biographical sketches which have appeared in print and over the airwaves in the weeks since his death is that of a man of genuinely outstanding qualities. He had great personal charm and ability to inspire devotion and loyalty among his friends and associates. He was, we are told, a man of acute intelligence and cultivated tastes. He had a strong will and the courage to back it up in action. He was a skilled politician who had a sense of history and an understanding of the institutional framework within which he was called upon to function. Many of those who knew him well have not hesitated to call him a great man and a great President, comparing him in all seriousness to his predecessor of a hundred years ago who was also killed while still in office. Even allowing for inevitable exaggerations, we who never knew him can hardly fail to be convinced that he must have been a remarkable man, well above the average of the thirty-three Presidents who had occupied the office before him.
This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.