JFK and the Masculine Mystique: Sex and Power on the New Frontier (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press) is slated for release on November 8, 2016. It examines John F. Kennedy as a cultural figure as well as a political leader, arguing that his great popularity and charismatic image was rooted in his leadership of a crusade to regenerate American masculinity. In an age much given to anxiety over male decline, his cool sophistication, vigor and virility, and tough-minded pragmatism generated enormous appeal and made him a new kind of celebrity political leader.
Advance Praise for JFK and the Masculine Mystique
“In brilliantly dissecting the style of JFK, Steven Watts has elucidated the substance of Kennedy’s time—its politics, its culture, its social, gender, and domestic arrangements. No more discerning book has been written about Kennedy.” – Benjamin Schwarz, national editor, The American Conservative
“Sometimes the most important historical insights are hiding in plain sight.One is the connection between John F. Kennedy’s popularity and the obsessive masculinity of American popular culture during the early 1960s, a connection historians have overlooked for decades. Now—at last—Steven Watts has probed it with elegance, authority, and a wealth of fascinating detail. The result is a devastating takedown of the Kennedy cult. JFK and the Masculine Mystique reveals the cultural pathology that underlay Kennedy’s reckless foreign policy and paved the way for the invasion of Vietnam. Camelot will never look as shiny or magical again.” – Jackson Lears, professor of history at Rutgers University and author of Rebirth of a Nation
“Steven Watts’ JFK and the Masculine Mystique: Sex and Power on the New Frontier is a fantastic look at the famed machismo of the thirty-fifth president. While Watts is writing about astronaut Alan Shepard or author Norman Mailer, the Rat Pack led by Frank Sinatra or the sexy hubris of Hugh Hefner, his mastery of American culture and history is self-evident. This book sparkles with fresh insights and unforgettable anecdotes. Highly recommended!” – Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America
“Watts probes the masculine allure JFK represented and how it changed a nation’s impression of what a man and political leader should embody…. Perhaps the book’s most compelling viewpoints are formed from the astute attention paid to the interconnectedness of the ‘Kennedy Circle’…. Particularly provocative are chapters featuring Norman Mailer, Frank Sinatra, Hugh Hefner, Kirk Douglas, and Tony Curtis….Consistently bolstered by solid research and convincing arguments…. A fresh perspective on a president whose style, legacy, and politics continue to inspire discussions about freedom and leadership values.” – Kirkus Reviews
To see a Q&A with Steven Watts on JFK and the Masculine Mystique in Stay Thirsty online magazine click on this link: http://www.staythirstymedia.com/201610-094/html/THIRSTY.html
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