Jumpin'Jack Flash

TITLE: JFK: RECKLESS YOUTH

AUTHOR: NIGEL HAMILTON

PUBLISHER: RANDOM HOUSE; 861 PAGES; $30

THE BOTTOM LINE: The first volume of a new Kennedy biography raises but does not settle the character issue.

Life is short. Biography is long. Nigel Hamilton's massive JFK: Reckless Youth takes the playboy politician only to 1946, when he was first elected to Congress at the age of 29. There are thousands of pages to come.

Hamilton, whose previous biographies include three volumes on Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, is currently the John F. Kennedy Scholar and Visiting Fellow in the John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs...

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