Union Jack

JFK's Special Relationship with Great Britain

Christopher Sandford

John F. Kennedy carried on a lifelong love affair with England and the English. From his speaking style to his tastes in art, architecture, theater, music, and clothes, his personality reflected his deep affinity for a certain kind of idealized Englishness. In Union Jack, noted biographer Christopher Sandford tracks Kennedy’s exploits in Great Britain between 1935 and 1963, and looks in-depth at the unique way Britain shaped JFK throughout his adult life and how JFK charmed British society. This mutual affinity took place against a backdrop of some of the twentieth century’s most profound events: The Great Depression, Britain’s appeasement of Hitler, the Second World War, the reconstruction of Western Europe, the development and rapid proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the ideological schism between East and West. Based on extensive archival work as well as firsthand accounts from former British acquaintances, including old girlfriends, Union Jack charts two paths in the life of JFK. The first is his deliberate, long-term struggle to escape the shadow of his father, Joseph Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. The second is the emergence of a peculiarly American personality whose consistently pro-British, rallying rhetoric was rivaled only by Winston Churchill. By explaining JFK’s special relationship with Great Britain, Union Jack offers a unique and enduring portrait of another side of this historic figure in the centennial year of his birth.

Cloth: $29.95 | E-book: $24.99
ISBN-13: 9781611688528
Pages: 272 | Size: 6.25 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: June 6, 2017


  • Union Jack is political history of a high order. In this very crowded year, it is the Kennedy book to beat.

    National Review
  • Elegantly told, full of sage asides and amusing observations.

    Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture
  • Union Jack is a fresh and richly-researched addition to the body of literature about John F. Kennedy. In it, Christopher Sandford delivers a colorful account of how JFK transcended his Irish heritage and his father’s antipathy to the British to develop, as a young man, a special affinity with many influential friends in England and to build, as president, a strong relationship with the Tory government of Harold Macmillan.

    Curtis Wilkie
    co-author of The Road to Camelot
  • Masterful. . . . Some books have explored JFK’s early visits to England, others have looked at his fascination with Winston Churchill, and a few have examined his commitment to the Special Relationship—but no author has combined all these elements in such a compelling fashion.

    Philip White
    author of A Lion in the Heartland and Whistle Stop
  • Sandford shows how a young and privileged American, promiscuous as he is politically precocious, befriends like-minded roguish Brits who together grow to professional adulthood and save the Cold War world from catastrophe. An amazing story discovered and entertainingly told, it gives whole new meaning to our Special Relationship with Great Britain.

    James W. Graham
    author of Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea

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