In the Office With: Chris Matthews
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|As a child in northeast Philadelphia. Matthews was raised in nearby Somerton.|
It was thrilling to write about Kennedy [for Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero]. Before he came along, politics meant gray men in three-piece suits, indoor types, sexless. What Kennedy did was grip the country. From the black-and-white world in which we had been drifting, we suddenly opened our eyes, feeling alive and energized, seeing things in Technicolor. He sent us around the planet in the Peace Corps, then rocketing beyond it to the moon. Most of all—and, to me, this is what matters above everything else—he saved us from the perilous fate toward which we were headed.
Writing a book like this—or any book, for that matter—requires extensive research. If you want the story, you have to go where it’s at and get it. I was able to find the original source for President Kennedy’s famous quote, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,’ by going to the archives of The Choate School in Connecticut. The only way to break new ground is to go to the people who know the history and ask them the right questions.
It is this approach to writing that helped me to discover the greatness and the enigma of JFK. In searching for him, I found a fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know, just like the great men I read about and admired during my childhood.”