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

475 ratings

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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1 - 25 of 138 Reviews for The Kennedy Half Century

By Michelle M

Dec 31, 2018

A fairly well rounded course on JFK and his legacy. Some new information interwoven with some traditional history on JFK. Overall an interesting course.

By David H

Oct 7, 2019

I found the course very insightful when considering the huge influence JFK had on future presidents and policies. I do believe he rocked too many boats and it cost him his life. Professor Sabato has put together a well organized and chronological timeline before,during and after JFK's Presidency. Further reading is definitely required and a good start would be Sabato's book, which he repeatedly endorsed. Overall an enjoyable and informative course.

By John C

Feb 25, 2019

Extremely informative course. I especially liked the fact that it showed JFK in a humanistic and real light rather than how he was often romanticized by the general public. I also liked that LBJ was talked about in some positive light, illustrating that he was the forerunner to many of the policies set up by JFK.

Very informative and very educational and entertaining.


By Berangere

Feb 22, 2021

Brilliant course! Mr Sabato is a wonderful speaker, and made this course extremely interesting. It provides clear information, but also opinions and analysis. It was a pleasure to complete!

By Jose R

Aug 29, 2017

Excellent course, taught in a very proactive way. You can tell that this is one of Dr. Sabato's favorite subjects. Way better than other history courses that I have taken. Congratulations!

By Amelia R

Feb 1, 2016

Great course! I definitely enjoyed watching every single video and doing my own side reasearch on things I wanted to learn a little bit more about. I did buy the book, but that is also something I didn't like about the course. It seemed like the course's sole purpose was to get us to buy the book. There were so many moments where it would have sufficed to expand or explain something a little further, instead of just giving us an inconclusive idea and then tell us to check the book. This made it look and feel more like an advertisement for the book. But despite all that, I learned a lot and it was a great topic and wonderfully prepared. You just have to ignore the book deal.

By jean j

Oct 15, 2015

good course. professor tries to sell his book too much. it's emba

By Manuela P

Sep 29, 2015

I wish a more extensive exam was administered. I think it was far too easy to pass. Gives the impression the course was not to be taken seriously, while, quite on the contrary, it was interesting and would deserve much effort.

By michael m

Dec 14, 2016

Subject matter was well presented except too many stops to push his book.

By Marco B

Oct 6, 2016

An interesting documentary but I wouldn't call this a university course. Quite annoying the continuous advertising of the professor's book.

By Keith R

May 26, 2016

Seems light on material. Professor misses no opportunity to pitch his book.

By Leah G

Apr 7, 2017

I enjoyed the course and the book very much. Kennedy's life, presidency, and legacy is a fascinating topic in modern American political history, and Professor Sabato took an interesting approach to it. I'm too young to have as visceral a reaction to the stories as my parents do, and partly I wanted to understand that generation of Americans and the effect that these events had on them better. Also, the Kennedy years were such an interesting historical moment, a time of great change and great potential (for both good and awful things). It was very interesting to listen to the professor trace the historical effects of many of the events of those days, and to see him measure the impact on later presidencies and world events. It was a brief class, and even the book couldn't go into enough detail for many of these topics, but I thought this was a good overview, and it merely sharpened my interest to learn more from other sources with other perspectives or areas of focus in the future. A very interesting and stimulating course.

By Ann D

Jul 6, 2022

The course was wonderful. It reminded me of a lot of things. When I was in kindergarten (1960) I saw JFK when he came to town campaigning for president. A lot of years later, when I began working as a reporter (1980), I covered John Connelly's news conference. He have planned it as a political news conference for his presidential campaign, but most of the questions were about November 22,1963. When Ted Kennedy ran for president, I pestered his advance workers until I was granted a one-on-one interview with Mr. Kennedy on board his chartered plane. Also during that campaign season, I saw Rose Kennedy. I understand that was during her only campaign trip around the country that year.

By Jackson D B

Apr 10, 2022

It is obvious that to know more about his life, legacy and conspiracy surrounding his death, one ought to purchase and read the book written by the lecturer of this course. Nevertheless, this course, in my opinion, has revealed the importance of JFK's presidency tenure in American history, considering that I belong to the millennial who hasn't been born yet during that historical period and from another country outside the US. Certainly, JFK and Kennedy's family has impacted America in more ways one could imagine and their influence on American history is something that anyone cannot ignore.

By J P W

Aug 18, 2015

This is a fabulous course, covering the political career and tumultuous personal life of the enigmatic and iconic figure JFK. The course presented in a thoughtful and reflective manner which offers valuable insights from an individual who is not only well versed in the field but who also adds a charming sense of personal involvement spiced with his own insights and recollections from the period. relevant, interesting and informative, this is a true learning experience and one of the most interesting courses I have undertaken to date.

By Scott M

Jun 6, 2020

Having been born in 1955, I have childhood memories of the Kennedy Administration, especially the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination. This course has helped me to understand the perspectives and experiences of those who were adults at that time. The only thing I don't quite like is the amount of time Prof. Sabato spends promoting his own book. I'm not sure that is really appropriate for Coursera. But the course is still a masterwork among Coursera courses.

By Anujay S

Sep 8, 2020

Extremely well researched, unbiased and brilliantly presented account on John F. Kennedy's personal and political life, his career, his opponents, successors and legacy. One of the most amazing courses I've done in Coursera, once again by the University of Virginia. Thank you Prof. Sabato for making this course and taking extreme efforts to let us know about Kennedy and the developments related to JFK after a half-century.

By Darlene M

Mar 14, 2016

The legacy and assassination of JFK impacted my life greatly. As a 7th grader in my grade school, we held an election and I ran and won the election as JFK. I remember exactly where I was when the assassination occurred. I have studied President JFK ever since so this course was highly interesting to me and appreciated hearing a new perspective on his legacy and learning of his influence on his presidential successors.

By Mauricio E

Jul 30, 2020

Very well organized, enough information and good narrative.

I like the comment that Kennedy has been more recognized and admired not for his realizations but for the tragic event of his death on the top of his career, something similar occurred with the beatles, they continued been famous due to his abrupt split on the top of their career.

Thank you for give me the opportunity to learn about the history.

By Véronique A S

Aug 18, 2015

Liked the course a lot, very nice instructor who you like listening to. he articulates very well and has a good voice and pace of speaking.

my suggestion would be to include subtitles for the video's of the speeches of JFK, or the intervieuws with former presidents, because the audio is not that clear and for non-native English speakers, difficult to understand.

Many thanks, very good course!


By Yolanda C L G

Nov 21, 2016

Fabuloso, excelente. Me encantò este curso. Es ameno, bien explicado, completo, imparcial. Muchas gracias, profesor Sabato. En mi familia siempre hemos admirado a John Kennedy, pero a partir de que tomè este curso, le admiraremos màs. Su curso ademàs me motivò a superarme en todos aspectos. Kennedy no era un conformista. A mi nivel, tampoco debo serlo yo.

By Jeff H

Nov 4, 2015

Thank you very much Prof Sabato for a very interesting course. I found the historical videos fascinating and your clear explanations and personal memories very effectively brought back a very important chapter of world's history. Thank you also to the other members of Virginia university were involved in the organization of this course.

By Joni P

Jul 6, 2020

University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato gives a fascinating series of lectures about the influence of JFK. I was acquainted with much of the material about Kennedy's life, but not as aware of the deceased president's large influence on his successors. Who knew Ronald Reagan was such a big JFK fan?

Highly recommend course!

By Frederick A

Sep 9, 2020

This is a good course (heavy on personal reminiscences) , but what is the difference between political science and history? This was definitely a history course albeit taught by a political scientist But why is there no printed certificate lot completion as for other other Coursera classes? Or will that come later?