Survival: From a PT Base in the Solomons comes this nightmare epic of the will-to-live (in Reader's Digest, Vol. 45, No. 268)
Pleasantville: Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1944. Magazine. Duodecimo. Light extremity wear and faint scattered soil to covers. Interior mildly age-toned. Fine overall.
This is a complete issue of Reader's Digest magazine containing the article that launched John F. Kennedy's political career.
John Hersey, a Kennedy family friend, had gotten this flattering account of the PT-109 incident into the 'New Yorker' two months earlier, but Joe Kennedy, with political hopes for his son, didn't like the 'New Yorker's' limited circulation and narrow audience demographic. He pressed senior editor Paul Palmer for this far more widely and evenly distributed appearance in 'Reader's Digest.' It was a shrewd move, and the name recognition it produced proved crucial to Kennedy's early political success in Massachusetts. Indeed, this 'Reader's Digest' version of the PT-109 story was reprinted for each of JFK's subsequent campaigns, including his 1960 Presidential victory.
As to the PT-109 incident itself, few would argue that young Lt. Kennedy acted heroically in his efforts to rescue his men after his boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer. But veteran PT commanders were incredulous that Kennedy's fast and highly maneuverable PT-109 had failed to evade the much larger, slower ship in the first place. In fact no other PT boat was ever rammed by an enemy ship before or after Kennedy's, and he narrowly escaped court-martial for the incident.
In any case, this is a tangible and important piece of Kennedy political strategy that ultimately influenced history.