Chris Matthews On John F. Kennedy, 'Elusive Hero'32:26

This article is more than 9 years old.

Few political figures have captured the public's imagination more than John F. Kennedy. The nation's 35th president was young, handsome and a war hero with a beautiful wife, who led the country briefly through a time of monumental challenge and change.

An assassin's bullet cut Kennedy down in his prime, leaving all kinds of questions behind: What kind of a president was he really? How did he change the country? And how might he have changed it further had he lived longer?

Over the past two decades questions like these have inspired a number of biographies of JFK. Now comes the latest, from political commentator Chris Matthews, who asks a most basic question: "What was Jack Kennedy like?" What made him tick?

Chris Matthews is host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show". His new book, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, draws on archival material, but also on plenty of original interviews with JFK's friends and advisers, including the late former House Speaker Tip O'Neil, for whom Chris Matthews worked.

You can read an excerpt of Jack Kennedy, below:


    • Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" and author of Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero

This program aired on December 21, 2011.