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Abridged
Ask Not - Abridged by Thurston Clarke
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Ask Not - Abridged

The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America

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Narrator Edward Herrmann
Length 5 hours 40 minutes
Language English
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A close-up on one of American history's most splendid events, JFK's inaugural week, and the creation of the speech that inspired a generation and brought hope to a nation
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." On the January morning when John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency and stood to speak those words, America was divided. Citizens around the world were torn by fears of war. Kennedy's speech—called the finest since Lincoln at Gettysburg, the most memorable of any 20th-century American politician—did more than reassure: It changed lives, marking the start of a brief, optimistic era of struggle against "tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself."

Ask Not is a beautifully detailed account of the week leading up to the inaugural which stands as one of the most moving spectacles in the history of American politics. At the heart of the narrative is Kennedy's quest to create a speech that would distill American dreams and empower a new generation. Clarke's portrait of JFK during what intimates called his happiest days is balanced, revealing the president at his most dazzlingly charismatic (and cunningly pragmatic). As the snow gradually covers Washington in a blanket of white, as statesmen and celebrities arrive for candle-lit festivities, Kennedy—an obsessed perfectionist—pushes himself, his family, and advisors to the limit—to create greatness, to find the words which captured what he most truly believed and, as it happened, which far outlasted his own life. For all who seek to understand the fascination with all things Kennedy, the answer is here. Ask Not explains the phenomenon to the heart and mind.

Thurston Clarke has written a dozen widely acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including several New York Times Notable Books. His Pearl Harbor Ghosts was the basis of a CBS documentary, and his bestselling Lost Hero, a biography of Raoul Wallenberg, was made into an award-winning NBC miniseries. His articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and other awards and lives with his wife and three daughters in upstate New York.

Edward Herrmann's many television credits include his Emmy-nominated portrayals of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his guest role in The Practice, for which he won an Emmy.  He has also played the part of Richard Gilmore on the popular television series Gilmore Girls and appeared in Grey's Anatomy, 30 Rock, and Law & Order.  On stage, Edward has appeared on Broadway, most notably as Frank Gardner in Mrs. Warren's Profession, for which he won a Tony Award.  His film work includes roles in The Great Waldo Pepper, The Paper Chase, Overboard,The North Avenue Irregulars, and Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo. Edward has narrated over 300 titles, including Thurston Clarke's Ask Not, published by Macmillan Audio.  AudioFile magazine has deemed Edward a "Golden Voice," and he has received multiple awards and nominations for AudioFile's Earphones Awards and Audie Awards.

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Reviews

“Thurston Clarke's meticulous research uncovers many fascinating nuggets, including the debunking of the popular myth tha Ted Sorenson was the primary author of the speech. Read with just the right senes of nobility by Edward Herrmann, this audiobook offers something the print version can't--a recording of the actual JFK speech interspersed with play-by-play commentary.” —AudioFile Expand reviews