John F. Kennedy was known for his lifelong love of books. Largely stemming from the long hospital stays experienced in his youth, Kennedy developed a voracious appetite for the written word, and military history in particular. He read most, if not all, the books Winston Churchill wrote, and often cited John Buchan’s Pilgrim’s Way as a favorite. He even gave a copy of the memoir to Jackie when courting her, to help explain the kind of person he was.

In a list of Kennedy’s favorite books during his presidency, the JFK Library includes Buchan’s classic and other works of social, military and political history, along with one of Ian Fleming’s classic Bond novels. Read on for a selection of JFK’s favorite books.


Lord Melbourne by David Cecil 

Montrose by John Buchan 

Marlborough by Sir Winston Churchill 

John Quincy Adams by Samuel Flagg Bemis 

The Emergence of Lincoln by Allan Nevins 

The Price of Union by Herbert Agar 

John C. Calhoun by Margaret L. Coit 

Talleyrand by Duff Cooper 

Byron in Italy by Peter Quennell 

The Red and the Black by M. de Stendhal 

From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming 

Pilgrim’s Way by John Buchan

(via The JFK Library)

Categories: Politicians

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