Viking pre-empts 'major' JFK biography

Viking pre-empts 'major' JFK biography

Viking has pre-empted a major new biography of former US president John F Kennedy.

The book, which does not yet have a title, will be written by historian Fredrik Logevall, who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for history for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Random House).

Viking publisher Daniel Crewe acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Joelle Dieu at Random House US, where David Ebershoff bought world rights from Warren Frazier of John Hawkins and Associates.

The book will be based on Logevall’s research in archives across America, with insights from recently released materials such as Oval Office tapes and interviews with Jackie Kennedy.

Crewe praised Logevall’s “incredible ability to combine deep and wide-ranging scholarship with utterly gripping narrative”.

“His portrayal of one of the most important and fascinating figures of the 20th century and the country he led will be beautifully written, full of insights based on a lifetime of research, and, quite simply, the landmark account of John F Kennedy’s life and legacy,” Crewe added.

Logevall’s Embers of War, which start with a young JFK arriving in Saigon in 1951 on a factfinding mission, also won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians, and the American Library in Paris Book Award.

Talking about his new book, Logevall said: “John F Kennedy’s presidency was enormously consequential for the United States and the world, and his legacy endures in profound, sometimes surprising ways.

“He was born in 1917, mere weeks after America’s entry into World War I, and rose alongside his country to a position of supreme power in the world, dying in 1963, a year that is arguably the zenith of the so-called American century.

“I am telling the story of that rise of both man and nation, and of the presidency that remains of consequence to this day.”

The book does not yet have a release date.