Theodore Sorensen and ‘Profiles in Courage’


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Theodore Sorensen, John F. Kennedy’s close advisor and speechwriter in the Senate and the White House who died Sunday at age 82, was the subject of speculation over who actually wrote Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1956 bestseller ‘Profiles in Courage.’

In examining the available evidence for his 1980 book ‘Jack: The Struggles of John F. Kennedy’ — and ‘augmented by those who were intimately associated with the project’ — Herbert S. Parmet concluded that Kennedy ‘served principally as an overseer or, more charitably, as a sponsor and editor’ of ‘Profiles In Courage,’ while ‘the research, tentative drafts and organizational planning were left to committee labor.’


But, Parmet wrote, ‘the burdens of time and literary craftsmanship were clearly Sorensen’s, and he gave the book both the drama and flow that made for readability.’

--Dennis McLellan