Wisconsin for Kennedy: The Primary That Launched a President and Changed the Course of History


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Coffee @ The Kennedy Museum

Join us for a hot cup of coffee and a fresh bagel as author B.J. Hollars speaks about his book Wisconsin for Kennedy: The Primary That Launched a President and Changed the Course of History.

When John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, he did something no candidate had done before: he leveraged the power of state primaries to win his party’s nomination. Kennedy’s first battleground state? Wisconsin—a state that would prove more arduous, more exhausting, and more crucial to winning the presidency than any other.

Wisconsin for Kennedy brings to life the stories behind JFK’s history-making 1960 Wisconsin primary campaign, and how Kennedy’s team managed to outmaneuver his politically seasoned opponent, Hubert Humphrey. From Jackie Kennedy commandeering a supermarket loudspeaker in Kenosha, to the Wisconsin forklift driver who planned President Kennedy’s final trip to Dallas, this captivating book places readers at the heart of the action.

Author B.J. Hollars chronicles JFK’s nail-biting Wisconsin win by drawing on rarely cited oral histories from the eclectic team of people who worked together to make it happen: a cranberry farmer, a union leader, a mayor, an architect, and others. Wisconsin for Kennedy explores how Wisconsin helped propel JFK all the way to the White House in a riveting historical account that reads like a work of rollicking, page-turning fiction.

B.J. Hollars is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and the founder and director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild. His books include Year of Plenty: A Family’s Season of Grief; Go West Young Man: A Father and Son Rediscover America on the Oregon Trail; The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders; and Hope Is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic. Hollars is the recipient of the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Nonfiction, the Anne B. and James B. McMillan Prize, and the Council of Wisconsin Writers’ Blei/Derleth Nonfiction Book Award. His work has been featured in the Washington Post and on NPR. Visit him at www.bjhollars.com.

Coffee provided by Bagels and Beyond Hyannis.


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