Pleasantville: Reader's Digest Assoc. , Inc., 1944. Magazine. Duodecimo. 128 pages. Near fine.
Complete issue of Reader's Digest magazine containing John Hersey's story of John F. Kennedy and PT-109. To put it simply, this is the article that launched Kennedy's political career. Hersey, a Kennedy family friend, first published this flattering account in the 'New Yorker. ' But Joe Kennedy, unhappy with the New Yorker's relatively small circulation, pressed editor Paul Palmer for this appearance in the much more widely read 'Reader's Digest. ' It was a shrewd move, and this condensed version of the PT-109 incident proved crucial to Kennedy's early political success. Indeed, this version was reprinted for each of JFK's subsequent campaigns, including his 1960 presidential run. As to the story itself, few would argue that young Lt. Kennedy acted heroically in his efforts to rescue his men after his PT 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 ramming 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. The magazine is bound in green printed covers with a stapled binding. There is some minor extremity wear and an isolated curved tear of maybe .75" in the lower third of the back cover.