Which President won a Pulitzer… for a book he didn’t write?

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

The only US President to win a Pulitzer Prize was John F. Kennedy. However, he is also probably the only man in history to have won the prize for a book he did not write but rather was written for him by a ghostwritten. 

The alleged ghostwriter of that book – Profiles in Courage (1957) – was Theodore Chaikin “Ted” Sorensen, JFK’s speechwriter.

The main lobbying power behind Kenndy’s Pulitzer win was his father, Joseph Kenndy. Joseph always wanted his son to be a president. Originally he groomed his eldest son, Joseph “Joe” junior, for the job. But sadly, Joe junior, a WW2 pilot, was shot down in 1944. Consequently Joseph Senior focused his efforts on the next in line, JFK.

As part of the overall effort, Joseph decided that JFK would win a Pulitzer prize by hook or by crook. Indeed, even though the book was not one of the finalists presented to the 1957 Pulitzer Prize board selection committee, Senior managed to sneak it. He asked columnist Arthur Krock – his political adviser and a longtime member of the prize board – to add it to the committee’s list and persuade others to vote for it. 

And the rest, ladies and gents, is history 

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