This book looks at how John F. Kennedy confronted the challenge of the Cold War, molding the narratives of "consensus history" into the activist rhetoric of the New Frontier. It examines how his image, heroic style of leadership, and legacy -- America's war in Vietnam -- had an impact upon his successors. Covering the period from 1960 to the present, the book draws upon a wide variety of sources to illuminate its subjects. After Kennedy, "hero," came Lyndon Johnson, "casualty of war"; Richard Nixon, "heroic failure"; Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, "faith-healers"; Ronald Reagan, "star"; George Bush, "deputy"; and Bill Clinton, "survivor." From Kennedy's inauguration to Clinton's impeachment, the book examines the development of the character of the contemporary presidency during one of the most fascinating and turbulent periods in its history.