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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Kennedy Half Century by University of Virginia

443 ratings
127 reviews

About the Course

When John F. Kennedy entered the presidential limousine at Love Field in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, he began his ride into history. That journey continues even today and we call it the Kennedy legacy. This course will explore the Presidency, assassination, and lasting legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Students will learn how JFK’s life, administration, and tragic death have influenced the general public, the media, and each of the nine U.S. presidents who followed. Understanding the Kennedy legacy and being able to identify elements of his legacy within the context of modern politics helps understand many of the vexing problems that developed over the last half century as well as many of the challenges that confront us today. November 22, 1963 was so powerful a moment that in the fifty years since the assassination, every U.S. President that followed JFK has used Kennedy’s words and actions in an effort to craft their own political image. Why does Kennedy’s influence persist, and will it continue? What are the effects? We’ll address these questions and more as we explore The Kennedy Half Century. Follow on Twitter: @JFKclass....

Top reviews

Jul 4, 2017

Larry Sabato is a true genius in political thought. Great realizing that he is fascinated by John Kennedy as I am. There was technical difficulty in Coursera realizing that I had finished the course.

Oct 21, 2015

I really loved this class! Professor Sabato taught this class so eloquently and so well. I have studied the JFK Presidency and Assassination for years, and I loved learning more from this course.

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101 - 125 of 127 Reviews for The Kennedy Half Century

By Jonny J

Jan 25, 2017


By Daniel B

Mar 24, 2017


By Todd D F

Nov 16, 2015


By Windye B

Feb 13, 2021

I think that from the outset it should have been made clearer that most of the course content is based on the instructor's book so that the student could decide between the options of reading the book either before/during the course for a more in-depth analysis or selecting a different option of learning about JFK from another more unbiased source of information.

With that said, the course was still very informative, and the author presented the information from an angle that combined both personal observation and secondary research, which in my opinion made the presentation of material more interesting and memorable than if the instructor had instead served as a narrator who was simply reading off lists of facts about JFK.

Overall, I would recommend this course as a good introduction to the overall history of JFK's life and lasting legacy.

By laura k

Aug 3, 2020

I very much enjoyed the course. It was very informative especially in how Kennedy's legacy has affected those Presidents who came after him. My only complaint about the course was that every once in a while I felt it was more of an advertisement for the Kennedy Half Century Book and Website. I have the book and have visited the cite, but I don't think the course needs so many references to getting the book. What I think would be best is that maybe parts of the book become essential readings within the course. I don't like to be pushed to buy something and so many references to the book made me feel like I was being pushed to buy. I did really enjoy everything else. Thanks so much for the hard work that went into putting this together.

By Thomas J

May 22, 2020

The subject matter and the presentation was very good. However, I agree with others that the course was really just a collection of videos that all together make up an interesting documentary. Not really what I would expect from a Coursera course especially if you pay for the certificate. Additionally, the constant reminder to buy the book makes the course much like an informercial at times.

By Maria E G

Jul 12, 2020

It was a well organised and excellently delivered course.Professor Sabato was extremely engaging and he provides a wide range of historical sources which help make the topic come alive. You just want to keep going on with the next lesson

By Mohamed M A

Sep 3, 2015

Nice course, it's content is highly tied to it's title. It gives you an overview over the US presidents since JFK not only him, also some information before he took the leadership.

You can finish it in 5 days or less !


Jul 21, 2020

The instructor said Obama lived in the Philippines. It was Indonesia. So this makes me wonder about the veracity of his book. However, he does seem to have a deep love of Kennedy, and this was fun to hear.

By Tamsin B

Aug 29, 2020

A little heavy on the sales pitch for the prof's book but nice to see video footage etc used. A little skippy on the more recent presidents but I guess that is fairly likely as time goes on

By Craig P

Jun 30, 2020

I loved the course and learnt so much! It would get a 5-star review, if not for the completely over-the-top marketing of the book in the obvious search for additional sales.

By Abdulrahman H

Jan 21, 2017

The course is really really great, the reason that i gave it 4 stars not 5 is only because the professor has been frequently promoting for his personal book!

By salamades

Aug 22, 2016

A nice course about Kennedy. I didn't know much about him and this course make me able a little more to understand his qualities and his drawbacks.

By Robert D

Aug 22, 2020

Excellent and thorough detail from beginning to end. Would have given 5 if not for the constant sales 'plugs' for the book.

By Valentina B

Jan 24, 2016

History made easy, helps understanding a lot of the things going on now in the scenario of politics in America

By Tom D

Jun 14, 2019

No other students took the course with me, so there was no interaction with students o professor.

By Maria K

Jan 3, 2018

It was interesting to learn about the influence of Kennedy.

By Joan E F

Aug 31, 2015


By Vicky

Oct 31, 2017

Professor Sabato explains everything in a really nice manner, slowly enough to not get confused and fast enough to not get bored. The course in itself is well organised and the material provided (videos, photos, recordings etc) is a "nice touch". I am really glad I followed the course and I would recommend it to anyone, since the topic is important not just for humanities students. Also the workload is so little that allows even the busiest of you to follow it, I promise! I had fun and I cannot wait to buy the book. Thank you!

By Hugh G

May 16, 2018

The course spent too much time on the details of the assassination; the discussion of the following half century was weak, with a peculiar emphasis on tax cuts and military action -- did terrorism 'restore purpose' to America's foreign policy? The frequent exhortations to consult the professor's book for important details were particularly vexing.

By Gary B

Jul 9, 2020

I would rate it only 2.5 stars.

This started out as an interesting course on Kennedy during weeks 1 & 2 but then turned into a glorified infomercial on the book written by the instructor.

By Jim C

Oct 15, 2017

I wish there was more about his life and career, less on following presidents. Half the course focused on the assassination, which is misleading

By Donald B

May 22, 2020

None of the videos would download.

By kjj2015109044

Nov 26, 2015


By Hanno H

Jan 31, 2020

Why pay for a course, when every video has the lecturer displaying his book, telling you to "go check out the book", suggest and recommend you "get the app" and over and over again state that "this course cannot go into the details, but go buy the book". Which book you ask? The one with the same title as the course, written by the lecturer.

The course is well done, and fun to listen to, but the constant pushing of the book is kinda ruining it for me. I got so annoyed that I stopped half way through.