The Presidential Recordings

John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises

The Presidential Recordings

Three-volume slipcased set

Hardcover + CD-ROM

Timothy Naftali (Editor), Ernest May (Editor, Harvard University), Philip D. Zelikow (Editor, University of Virginia)

Overview | Inside the Book

The most remarkable window that Americans have ever had into how their country is governed.

These volumes provide a unique glimpse into the real workings of the Kennedy White House, presenting perhaps the most reliable record of the Kennedy presidency ever published. In the summer of 1962, President John F. Kennedy installed a secret taping system in the White House. His aim was to record meetings and conversations he considered important, probably intending to use them when he wrote the memoir of his years in office, a book he never had the chance to write. The tapes are now being authoritatively transcribed, and those for the period from the installation of the tape system through October 28, 1962 (the end of the Cuban missile crisis), are presented here in their entirety.

Texts with CD-ROM

Book Details

  • Hardcover + CD-ROM
  • October 2001
  • ISBN 978-0-393-04954-1
  • 6.7 × 10 in / 752 pages
  • Volume(s): 1-3
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“It is hard to imagine a more instructive or exciting history than the presidential recordings of JFK's 'Great Crises.' The tense debate, the confusion, the insights, the jokes, the courage—it's all there, as it really happened. This is the true 'West Wing.'” — Evan Thomas

The Great Crises is a treasure trove of new insights and information on three of the most promising and dangerous months in American history. These volumes will intrigue the general reader and keep historians working hard for a long time as we assess and reassess John Kennedy's presidency.” — Michael Beschloss

“These volumes of presidential recordings both fascinate and illuminate. They show how John F. Kennedy reached his vital decisions, and they cast important new light on the conflicts of our times. This is history in the raw, and it is compelling.” — Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

“There is nothing comparable to this multi-volume collection of presidential materials. This work is and will be an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the twentieth-century American presidency.” — Robert Dallek

Also by Timothy Naftali All

  1. Book Cover"One Hell of a Gamble": Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964


  2. Book CoverKhrushchev's Cold War: The Inside Story of an American Adversary


  3. Book CoverThe Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy Volumes IV-VI: The Winds of Change: October 29, 1962 - February 7, 1963


Also by Ernest May All

  1. Book CoverThe Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Concise Edition / Paperback

  2. Book CoverThe Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson: The Kennedy Assassination and the Transfer of Power: November 1963-January 1964

    Three-volume slipcased set / Hardcover + DVD

    Volume(s): 1-3

  3. Book CoverThe Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson: Toward the Great Society: February 1, 1964-May 31, 1964

    Three-volume slipcased set / Hardcover

    Volume(s): 4-6

Also by Philip D. Zelikow All

  1. Book CoverAmerica and Russia: Memos to a President


  2. Book CoverAmerica and the Balkans: Memos to a President


  3. Book CoverAmerica and the East Asian Crisis: Memos to a President


All Subjects