To celebrate the centennial of JFK’s birth, a panel of expert historians and commentators takes a fresh look at John F. Kennedy’s lasting contributions.

Discover JFK at his best — thought-provoking, inspiring, eloquent and wise — on wide-ranging topics, including civil rights, the race to the moon, the environment, immigration, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and much more, as brought together in the new book, JFK, A Vision for America. We’ll see the deep relevance of his words today, as well as his lasting power and influence as an outstanding American leader and orator.

JFK: A Vision for America will be on sale, and authors Stephen Kennedy Smith and Douglas Brinkley, will sign copies following the talk.

Brief Bios

Stephen Kennedy Smith is a lecturer at the Sloan School of Management as well as a fellow at the Connection Science Group at MIT. He received his BA from Harvard University, JD from Columbia University, and EdM from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has served on the staff of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees and is a three-time recipient of the Danforth Award for Excellence in Teaching at Harvard University, where he taught at Harvard Law School. He continues to be active in Democratic politics and lives in New York City.

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University, the CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Audubon. He is the author of a number of bestselling books, including Cronkite, which won the Sperber Prize for best book in journalism, and The Great Deluge, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He is a member of the Society of American Historians and the Council on Foreign Relations. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and three children.

Born in Montreal, Robert MacNeil spent five years working for Reuters News Agency in London, then worked for NBC News and the BBC Panorama program before joining PBS in New York. He was executive editor and co-anchor of The MacNeil-Lehrer Report, later expanded to an hour, from its origins in 1975 until his retirement in 1995. He is a Trustee Emeritus of the Newseum (the Museum of Journalism in Washington, DC), and he served 17 years as chairman of the MacDowell Colony, the artists’ retreat in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Mr. MacNeil is the author of four novels, Burden of Desire, Portrait of Julia, The Voyage and Breaking News, and three memoirs, Wordstruck, The Right Place at the Right Time and Looking for My Country, Finding Myself in America. He is co-author of The Story of English and Do You Speak American?, both companion books to PBS TV series.

Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, reporter, columnist and television producer and analyst. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers: The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies (2013), The Promise: President Obama, Year One (2010) and The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (2006), also one of the Times' "Notable Books" of the year. Since 1996, Alter has been an analyst and contributing correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, appearing on-air two or three times a week. After 28 years as a columnist and senior editor at Newsweek, where he wrote more than 50 cover stories, Alter is now a twice-monthly columnist for the Daily Beast. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Esquire, Bloomberg View and other publications. He is an executive producer of Alpha House, a half-hour political comedy created by Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman that is available for viewing on He is at work on a full-length biography of former President Jimmy Carter and is producing a documentary about the lives of legendary journalists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill.

Details & Ordering

  • The Legacy: JFK at 100 with Stephen Kennedy Smith, Douglas Brinkley, Robert MacNeil and Jonathan Alter

    Date: Mon, May 1, 2017, 8 pm

    Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd St

    Venue: Buttenwieser Hall

    Price: from $40.00

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