The host of MSNBC's 'Hardball' goes back to the president's childhood in 'Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.'
The host of MSNBC's 'Hardball' goes back to the president's childhood in 'Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.'Jack Kennedy: Elusive HeroBy Chris MatthewsSimon & Schuster, 406 pp., $27.50, non-fictionLike millions of Americans, Chris Matthews is still fascinated by President John F. Kennedy nearly a half century after his assassination.In this new biography of the "elusive" JFK, the host of MSNBC's Hardball goes back to Kennedy's childhood to discover what made the future president the man he was. There were always "two Jacks." One was "sunny and full of good humor," the other lonely "with a craving for company" and "already a victim of persistent ill health," Matthews writes. And Kennedy was ambitious, if ever enigmatic.USA TODAY says: *** out of four. "Sure to be a hit with readers who love the inside baseball of politics and the Kennedy cult of personality."•11/22/63 byStephen KingScribner, 849 pp., $35, fictionCraving more about JFK? Then Stephen King's time-traveling thriller should fit the bill. Schoolteacher Jake Epping is whisked back in time to try to prevent Kennedy's assassination. Can Jake keep Lee Harvey Oswald from squeezing the trigger in Dallas?USA TODAY says: * * * * out of four. "King's latest epic is as fascinating as the premise sounds. … It is not typical Stephen King. It is extraordinary Stephen King."• The Prague Cemeteryby Umberto EcoHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, 464 pp., $27, fictionUmberto Eco's first novel in seven years - a best seller abroad — is a literary thriller set in late-19th-century Europe. Its protagonist is a detestable anti-Semite - and a master forger of documents (not to mention a murderous spy).USA TODAY says: *** out of four. "It's provocative and suspenseful, and it's already drumming up controversy."•Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hopewritten and read by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark KellySimon & Schuster Audio, $39.99, unabridged, 11.5 hours, non-fictionCongresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, tell the inspiring story of Giffords' road to recovery since she was shot in the head by a would-be assassin. Kelly reads most of the audio book, but Giffords takes over in the final chapter.USA TODAY says: *** out of four. "A powerful story … In harrowing detail, Gabby captures Giffords' injuries and her struggle to regain her life and health."•The Battle of the Craterwritten by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen; read by William DufrisMacmillan Audio, $44.99, unabridged, 12 hours, fictionWhen he's not running for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich (with writing partner William Forstschen) pens historical fiction. Their latest, about the catastrophic 1864 Battle of the Crater during the Civil War, will appeal to history buffs.USA TODAY says: *** out of four. "William Dufris provides a lively narration and handles a variety of accents."To read full reviews, go to books.usatoday.comFor more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to email@example.com. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com.