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)