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Jack and Lem: John F. Kennedy and Lem Billings: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship

Jack and Lem: John F. Kennedy and Lem Billings: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship - 07 edition

ISBN13: 978-0786719891

Cover of Jack and Lem: John F. Kennedy and Lem Billings: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship 07 (ISBN 978-0786719891)
ISBN13: 978-0786719891
ISBN10: 0786719893
Cover type:
Edition: 07
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Published: 2007
International: No

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Jack and Lem: John F. Kennedy and Lem Billings: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship - 07 edition

ISBN13: 978-0786719891

David Pitts

ISBN13: 978-0786719891
ISBN10: 0786719893
Cover type:
Edition: 07
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Published: 2007
International: No
Summary

Though much has been published about the life and death of John ''Jack'' Kennedy, little is known about his strange and enduring friendship with Kirk LeMoyne Billings, known by almost everyone as Lem. From the time they met at Choate School for Boys until the gunfire in Dallas thirty years later, Jack and Lem remained best friends, and for the rest of his life Lem was a prominent fixture in the Kennedy family. Award-winning journalist and Kennedy scholar David Pitts tells the story of this unusual friendship with the aid of hundreds of letters and telegrams exchanged between Jack and Lem--including previously unavailable letters released by the Kennedy Library in 2004 and Lem Billings's oral history--and interviews with the people who knew them. Featuring interviews with Ben Brandlee, Gore Vidal, Ted Sorensen, friends, family, and many others, the story begins with the early years at the Choate School for boys, follows their relationship through Princeton, Europe, World War II, Kennedy's rapid political ascent, and his time at the White House. Though Lem never held an official role in the Kennedy administration, Jack valued Lem's friendship and insight enough to grant him his own room at the White House. And while this is the story of Jack and Lem, it is also the story of the climate for gays during the Kennedy era--the story of a great friendship that grew and survived against the odds during a period of both unparalleled idealism and rampant homophobia.

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