“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on": First Edition of John F. Kennedy's Why England Slept

  • Why England Slept.

Why England Slept.

Item Number: 50045

New York: Wilfred Funk, Inc, 1940.

First edition of John F. Kennedy’s first book. Octavo, original red cloth. Introduction by Henry R. Luce. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with some light rubbing and wear to the extremities. Uncommon in this condition.

Published the year Kennedy graduated from Harvard, Why England Slept was an expansion of his senior thesis. The title is a variation on the title of Winston Churchill’s work, While England Slept, published about two years before Kennedy’s. It was dedicated to John's parents, Rose and Joe Kennedy. In this work he attempts to explain why England was so poorly prepared for World War II and why England’s leaders settled upon the disastrous policies of appeasement. The book served as a warning to those in our country who felt that appeasing Hitler and staying out of the war was a viable option. It became a bestseller in the United States and went through several printings in its first year. (Newcomb, 10).