CLOSE
Getty
Getty

JFK's Wartime Diary Sells for $718,750

Getty
Getty

Presidential possessions have always commanded attention and high prices at auction, but few former leaders have held the interest of collectors more than John F. Kennedy. In 2013, his leather bomber jacket sold for $570,000 and an 18 karat ring fetched $90,000. The latest in Kennedy artifacts expected to command a premium didn’t disappoint.

On April 26, a 61-page diary kept when Kennedy was a journalist stationed in Europe for the Hearst newspaper company in 1945 sold for $718,750, far exceeding Boston-based RR Auction’s $200,000 estimate. The writings—mostly typed, with 12 pages of handwritten materials—contain Kennedy’s thoughts on the Soviet Union, musings on the aftermath of Adolf Hitler’s reign of destruction, and passages on the United Nations.

In a glimpse of the contents provided by ABC News, Kennedy, who was 28 years old at the time, took an intriguing position on the German dictator, writing that “he had in him the stuff of which legends are made” and that “within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived."

The diary was later given by Kennedy to one of his campaign workers in 1959. The assistant, Deirdre Henderson, told NPR that she had largely ignored the document due to the time constraints of supporting Kennedy's presidential bid. The writings were eventually published under the title Prelude to Leadership in 1995.

[h/t Associated Press]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
literature
The Best Children's Books of the Year, According to Bank Street College of Education
iStock
iStock

The Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education in New York City recently released its 2018 list of the best children's books on the market. Separated into five age-appropriate categories, the list includes more than 600 titles published in the U.S. and Canada in 2017.

In making their selection, judges considered books' literary merit, presentation, and potential emotional impact on young readers, as well as originality of the story, credibility of the characters, and absence of stereotypes. They also looked for positive representations of religious and ethnic differences.

Nonfiction books were checked for accuracy, balance, and documentation, while poetry books were assessed for their language, sound, rhythm, substance, and emotional intensity. Each book on the list was read and reviewed by at least two members of the committee, and then considered by the committee as a whole.

Of the books on the list, three are selected for special awards each year. For 2018, the Josette Frank Award—given to an outstanding novel in which a child character handles difficulty in a positive and realistic way—was awarded to Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson. The Claudia Lewis Award for poetry went to One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes, and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for inspiring nonfiction went to Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-Tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens by Kara Hagedorn.

Below is a selection of some of the books on the list. All of the titles below were awarded "outstanding merit" by the committee. For the full selection, click on the PDF link next to each individual category.

Under five category [PDF]
Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root and G. Brian Karas
Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown
Mine! by Jeff Mack
Noisy Night by Mac Barnett and Brian Biggs
Sam & Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Snow Scene by Richard Jackson and Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer and Richard Jones

Five to nine category [PDF]
After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat
Alfie: The Turtle That Disappeared by Thyra Heder
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas by Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban
Good Night, Planet by Liniers
Pandora by Victoria Turnbull
Robinson by Peter Sís
Sleep Tight, Charlie by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo
Spiders!: Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle and Meryl Henderson

Nine to twelve category [PDF]
All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander and Kelly Murphy
If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
Little Bits of Sky by S. E. Durrant and Katie Harnett
Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King
Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain, Philip C. Stead, and Erin E. Stead
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Twelve to fourteen category [PDF]
Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali
Satellite by Nick Lake
The Book of Chocolate: The Amazing Story of the World's Favorite Candy by H. P. Newquist
The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner
Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner and Maxime Plasse
Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M. T. Anderson and Andrea Offermann

Fourteen and up category [PDF]
Between Two Skies by Joanne O'Sullivan
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

A print copy of The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2018 Edition ($10, plus $3 shipping) can be purchased by emailing bookcom@bankstreet.edu.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
getty images
arrow
Lists
6 Celebrities Rejected for Military Service
getty images
getty images

For every actor or entertainer who interrupted a lucrative career to serve their country during wartime—Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable among them—several others were denied the opportunity. Here are a few notable personalities who never got the chance to suit up.

1. ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Alfred Hitchcock was known for his pear-shaped appearance and for the droll delivery he used to great comedic effect in interviews and in segments for his television anthology series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (His famous sketched silhouette originated with that program.) But that well-fed physique didn’t always work to his benefit: During World War I, the young filmmaker tried to enlist in the British service, but his weight prevented him from being called up. 

Hitchcock would later do his part during World War II, supervising a documentary that highlighted the atrocities of wartime concentration camps. Never completed, the lost footage was assembled into a film, Night Will Fall, which premiered on HBO in January 2015.

2. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Bruce Springsteen
Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen’s landmark “Born in the USA” was the singer’s reflection on the plight of American veterans returning home from Vietnam. He would have been among their number, save for the fact that he failed his Army physical. At 19, Springsteen, who was already working as a musician, was called up but given a status of 4-F (unfit for duty) owing to a concussion from a motorcycle accident. In 1984, he told Rolling Stone that he had also tried to give “crazy” answers on the induction forms to further ensure he wouldn’t be drafted.

3. ORSON WELLES

Orson Welles
Getty Images

Following his career-defining work in Citizen Kane, Orson Welles became a regular presence in the Hollywood trade papers—and in Hearst publications, which had allegedly been incensed by Kane’s loose portrayal of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Increasingly, Hearst’s pages questioned why the 28-year-old wasn’t following other performers into service during World War II. Exasperated, Welles showed up for a physical in Los Angeles that he subsequently failed for undisclosed reasons. (It was later rumored skeletal inflammation and asthma were among the complications.) Exiting the exam room, Welles was so agitated by the presence of reporters that he threatened to throw one out of a window.

4. BRUCE LEE


ABC Television, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

By all accounts, Bruce Lee was a physical specimen who was far from being a glorified stuntman: He trained rigorously in several different martial arts and was rumored to have several real altercations in Hong Kong. In 1963, prior to the 22-year-old Lee finding fame on The Green Hornet series, he was called in by the U.S. Army for a physical. Doctors refused him entry based on poor eyesight, a sinus disorder, and the fact that one of his testicles was undescended.

5. JULIA CHILD

Julia Child
Getty Images

At 6-foot 2-inches, the celebrated chef found her height to be an obstacle when she attempted to enlist in both the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and Women’s Army Corps during World War II; both rejected her owing to her height. Child eventually found a home with the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, and even helped develop shark repellent to keep underwater bombs from going off prematurely.

6. PAUL NEWMAN

Paul Newman
Getty Images

Renowned for his philanthropic efforts, it comes as little surprise that Newman was itching to defend his country during the second World War. But his hopes of being put to work as a pilot were dashed when a physical revealed he was colorblind. Not wanting to throw in the towel, he accepted a position as a radio man and later as a turret gunner. Despite the early obstacle, Newman returned home to Ohio with several military honors to his credit.

BONUS: CLARK KENT

Superman
Getty Images

While comics enjoyed unprecedented levels of popularity in the 1940s, creators often struggled with how best to acknowledge that any one of their super-powered characters could end World War II in a matter of moments. To explore that theme would be to minimize the role of real, active soldiers. To help alleviate reader curiosity, a comic strip published by the McClure Syndicate had Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, attempt to enlist. He was rejected when his x-ray vision mistakenly forced him to read an eye chart in another exam room.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios