Why England Slept; The Dedicatee Copy Given by John F. Kennedy to His Mother Rose

  • Why England Slept.
  • Why England Slept.

Why England Slept.


Item Number: 5850

New York: Wilfred Funk, Inc, 1940.

First edition of John F. Kennedy’s first book. Octavo, bound in full blue leather, all edges gilt. The dedication copy of John F. Kennedy’s first book, Why England Slept, with Rose Kennedy’s embossed name on the front panel. This copy was specially bound for the author’s mother, Rose Kennedy and presented to her. This copy brought $52,900 at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sale at Sotheby’s in May 1996. Housed in a full dark blue morocco clamshell box. Unique.

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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