Last updated on January 1, 2020
The administration of John F. Kennedy continues to draw fascination and examination more than 50 years after his assassination. The young president and his brother had envisioned a new America full of social change, changes in foreign policy and economic reformation. The murders of John and Robert Kennedy permanently changed the course of American history. Following their deaths, the Vietnam War, Watergate, Iraq and many other regrettable events would damage America’s reputation abroad. David Talbot, author of ‘The Devil’s Chessboard’, brings to us this New York Times Bestseller about the relationship between Jack and Robert Kennedy, the obstacles the new administration faced and the aftermath of that fateful trip to Dallas.
Camelot is the word most often used to describe the Kennedy administration, and its usage only grew after Kennedy’s death. His administration is still subject to fierce criticism and debate often dividing people between either for or against its actions from 1961-1963. But from all accounts, it was an eccentric mix of young intellectuals, fanatical military advisers, intelligence agents and law enforcement agencies, some of whom proved to be deadly enemies. Talbot’s masterpiece reveals an administration at war with itself in which the new young president was forced to fight battles on several fronts, each one testing his patience, wisdom and foresight.
The election of John F. Kennedy sparked hope in the minds of thousands of Americans. Social upheaval and the resolution of conflict without weapons at war were attractive to many voters. Racial conflict marred with segregation, horrific violence, communist paranoia, religious division and memories of World War II helped fuel a decade that is one of the most violent in the history of this country. Talbot takes us on a journey investigating what really happened during those times and how dangerously close Kennedy came to losing control of his own government and being provoked into launching nuclear weapons at the Soviet Union. He also faced the threat of losing control of the Senate, at the time filled with conservative Republicans determined to protect supremacist views and the power hold of the conservative right. In this torrid environment, two brothers bonded together walking a tight line in the process.
I’ve heard more than one person that things were never the same after Dallas. The official story to this day is the conclusion reached by the Warren Commission. However, over the past 50 years, pubic faith in the report has decreased exponentially. An increase in assassination books and documentaries has caused many to take another look at what is often called the crime of the century. Following JFK’s murder, Talbot continues along the trail following the life of the night watchman himself, Bobby. His descent into depression, resurgence to public service and entry in the presidential race is one of the most fascinating political stories in the history of this nation. But his assassination in 1968, served as a sense of complete loss to those still mourning JFK and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s deaths while clinging to a shred of faith in state of the country. There are many dark moments in the book and through Talbot we painfully relive each one. But what results in the end, is an invaluable account of an era that helped defined the modern day United States of America.