“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on": First Edition of Why England Slept; Inscribed by Kennedy to His Father's Secretary and Who Transcribed this Work

  • Why England Slept.

Why England Slept.

$25,000.00

Item Number: 82340

New York: Wilfred Funk, Inc, 1940.

First edition of John F. Kennedy’s first book. Octavo, original red cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Miss Brown with many thanks for her help in bringing out this book Best wishes Jack Kennedy.” The recipient Mona Brown was a personal assistant and secretary to Joseph Kennedy for seven years, a period of time which included his ambassadorship to the United Kingdom. She was part of the Kennedy household’s innermost circle and spent a considerable amount of time with the Kennedy children, especially young Jack and Kathleen. She transcribed Why England Slept for Jack, the basis for which was his Harvard thesis. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional association.

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)

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