Picks and Pans Review: An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
updated 05/26/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/26/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Let's get right to the juicy part: Yes, Kennedy's womanizing makes Bill Clinton's dalliances seem merely naughty by comparison. But Kennedy's epic conquests were tied to an acute sense of mortality, concludes biographer Dallek, who writes that JFK was far more promiscuous with drugs. Revealing previously undisclosed medical information, Dallek details the chronic bone, glandular and abdominal diseases that hospitalized Kennedy for months at a stretch and led to excruciating pain, for which he took an almost Elvis-sized array of steroids, amphetamines, Phenobarbital and coals-to-Newcastle quantities of testosterone.
Neither debunking nor further mythologizing, Dallek fashions a balanced but fast-paced tale of sex and power that scribes from Shakespeare to Susann would have killed for. (Little, Brown, $30)
BOTTOM LINE: Camelot confidential shines