Charles de Gaulle’s copy

Charles de Gaulle? Wasn’t he Charlemagne’s brother?

Uh, no.

If you are of the baby boomer generation, you know that Charles de Gaulle was a French statesman, a World War II general, and president of France from 1959 to 1969. If you are a generation X or Y or whatever, knowledge of de Gaulle just might be on the limited side.

The book in question is To Turn the Tide by President John F. Kennedy, published by Harper & Bros. in 1962. It discusses the goals of JFK’s first legislative year via his statements and addresses from his election through the 1961 Congress. The book was edited by John W. Gardner and includes a foreword by Carl Sandburg. It also includes a special introduction by President Kennedy.

Front of book

Front of book

The book includes JFK’s personal presentation, “With very best/wishes/John Kennedy.” Although that inscription is rather generic, any book inscribed by JFK, beloved president of the 1960s whose assassination stunned our nation, and the world, is a book worthy of pursuit.

JFK inscription

JFK inscription

But what really “makes” this book is the copy of orders from the United States Information Service, dated Jan. 25, 1962, stating “The Agency is air shipping (via diplomatic pouch) Special Attention PAO one autographed copy/of President Kennedy’s To Turn The Tide. This book is intended for personal/presentation by the Ambassador at his discretion to:/President Charles de Gaulle./Please alert your mail room to make certain that this inscribed book/is brought to your attention promptly upon receipt.” It goes on to request a report on the presentation including local publicity

Now this is a cool book. Way cool. And you don’t have to be a baby boomer to appreciate its significance.


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