Why England Slept
by John F. Kennedy
April 2016, 152pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4990-9
$83, £62, 70€, A119

Originally John F. Kennedy’s senior thesis written when he was an undergraduate student at Harvard, the redrafted version published as the book Why England Slept sold 80,000 copies in Britain and the United States.

Originally published in 1940, Why England Slept was written by then-Harvard student and future American president John F. Kennedy. It was Kennedy's senior thesis that analyzed the tremendous miscalculations of the British leaders in facing Germany on the advent of World War II, and in doing so, also addressed the challenges that democracies face when confronted directly with fascist states.

In Why England Slept, at the book’s core, John F. Kennedy asks: Why was England so poorly prepared for the war? He provides a comprehensive analysis of the tremendous miscalculations of the British leadership when it came to dealing with Germany and leads readers into considering other questions: Was the poor state of the British army the reason Chamberlain capitulated at Munich, or were there other, less-obvious elements at work that allowed this to happen? Kennedy also looks at similarities to America’s position of unpreparedness and makes astute observations about the implications involved.

This re-publication of the classic book contains excerpts from the foreword to the 1940 original edition by Henry R. Luce, an American magazine magnate during that era; the foreword to the 1961 edition, also written by Luce; and a new foreword by Stephen C. Schlesinger, written in 2015.

Features

  • Provides fascinating insights into the young mind and worldview of then-Harvard senior John F. Kennedy via his thesis, for which he'd toured Europe, the Balkans, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s
  • Presents both a pointed indictment of British policy leading up to World War II as well as an examination of the weaknesses, merits, and pitfalls for democratic governments based on capitalist economies
  • Features a new foreword written by Stephen C. Schlesinger, senior fellow at the Century Foundation in New York; author of Act of Creation: The Founding of The United Nations, winner of the 2004 Harry S. Truman Book Award; former director of the World Policy Institute at the New School (1997–2006); and former publisher of the magazine The World Policy Journal
Stephen C. Schlesinger, JD, is fellow at the Century Foundation in New York and author of Act of Creation: The Founding of The United Nations, winner of the 2004 Harry S. Truman Book Award. He is coauthor of the 1982 book Bitter Fruit, a classic study of U.S. interventionism abroad, and coeditor of Journals: 1952–2000 and The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., two books comprising the writings of his father, the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr.; former director of the World Policy Institute at the New School (1997–2006); and former publisher of the magazine The World Policy Journal. Schlesinger received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University, a certificate of study from Cambridge University, and a juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School. In the early 1970s, he edited and published The New Democrat Magazine. In 1972, he served as a speechwriter for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. Schlesinger was later the weekly columnist for The Boston Globe's "The L't'ry Life." Thereafter he spent four years as a staff writer at Time magazine. For 12 years, he served as New York state governor Mario Cuomo's speechwriter and foreign policy advisor. In the mid 1990s, Schlesinger worked at the United Nations at Habitat, the agency dealing with cities.
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