Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Every December, the White House received holiday cards from all over the world. Each card was carefully saved by White House social staff, and is now housed at the JFK Library. At left is a card from Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, III, of Monaco.
View more holiday cards sent to the White House
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This book tops any documentaries, books, or anything else out there dealing with JFK. I felt like after reading this book, not only do I feel as if I have a better knowledge of the assassination, but I also have a better understanding of the role of the Secret Service. I have gained much more respect for them as well. While I was reading this book, I felt as if I was a "fly on the wall". You feel as if you were right there with the Secret Service during every event. That is just how good and well written this book is. It also answered a lot of the questions I had. I am not one to normally reread books that I have already read, but I could easily reread this book at least five times every year. A must have for any history buff or JFK enthusiast.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
R. R. Costas Jr. (San Francisco, CA United States)
I bought the book because I thought it'd be really interesting to know more about the Secret Service detail in those days and, in particular, to read accounts of the assassination from people who were there in the moment and whose job was to prevent such a thing from happening. I had not been privy to a lot of this information from one source. I thought the book gave a fascinating look at the job of a White House Secret Service Detail, not only safeguarding the President, but also his wife and his children. Compared to what we see today, and I'm sure due in large part due to the Kennedy assassination, it seemed an incredibly simplistic and arcane way to protect the most powerful man in the world. But it was what it was and the Secret Service was not properly funded by Congress at that time.
I think the book also shows to many of us why the Kennedy assassination was such a transforming event for the nation. It does show to those of us who have no recollection of that administration, why the Kennedys gave the country such a good feeling of optimism. They simply seemed to be very decent people all around, imperfections and all, and it showed in the way they treated their Secret Service detail, generating an intense loyalty on the part of the agents. As the agents testify during the book, Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson were not quite as "personal" in their dealings with the detail. Not that they tried any less hard to protect those and every other president, but the genuine affection they had for the Kennedys was palpable.
It was interesting to learn about the agents, but also about the advance work that had to be done in preparation for any presidential trip and how the president also determines how much risk he's willing to take. Kennedy, more than Eisenhower or Johnson, seemed to have an inability to help himself when it came to greeting crowds. This, of course, generated more alarm and concern for the agents but it was the president's prerogative. JFK also preferred to remove the limos' tops pretty much as long as it wasn't raining. To him, it was important for the people to see as much of him as possible in order to generate more voter support. This was also the first time I learned that it was the president who specifically asked (in Tampa) the Secret Service to not have agents riding directly on the back of the limo, for the same purpose of visibility and connection to the crowds. It wasn't some conspirator within the service who made that decision.
The events leading up to and through the assassination were interesting to the extreme. If you know enough about the conspiracy theory there is information here on some of the better known aspects of these theories, but they are mentioned as facts and not with a view to debunk any theories. Examples are the finding of the "magic bullet", the number of shots the agents claim they heard, the car slowing down during the shooting, the positioning of the head wound as reported by agents and doctors versus what others state and the decision to switch caskets and performing the autopsy in Bethesda Naval Hospital instead of in Dallas, as the law dictated.
Particularly heartbreaking is the story of Agent Clint Hill, whose true responsibility was Mrs. Kennedy, but who is the agent we all see in the film of the shooting jumping onto the limo and shoving Mrs. Kennedy back into the car. The poor man, along with the rest of the detail, was traumatize for years and you should watch the 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace that he did in 1975 and which is described in the book. It is impossible not to feel for this man.
Some passages or chapters seemed a little lengthy or unnecessary and that's the reason I didn't give 5 stars. For new information, interesting stories, non-judgmental story-telling and a different perspective on the tragedy, I'd give it the highest ranking.
Friday, December 16, 2011
"Education is, in truth, the only key to genuine African independence and progress."— Senator John F. Kennedy, February 12, 1960
At a key point in the 1960 presidential campaign, a dynamic young leader from Kenya named Tom Mboya visited Senator John F. Kennedy. Mboya led a campaign of his own that would eventually bring hundreds of African students to America for higher education, including Barack Obama Sr., President Obama's father. Kennedy's decision to support the effort became an issue in the election and possibly a factor in his narrow victory.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Eye opening, Riveting, Better than a Clancy novel!
View this from the eyes of the men who were quite literally there. You will see what happens behind the scenes of a protection detail, the toll it takes on the agents & their families, and from a select few-what is was like to lose a President. As they retell the unfolding events, you almost become a member of their team. You see it through their eyes-from the agents on foot near the Presidential limo and the ones riding in the follow-up car. Every detail is etched in their memories, and now laid out in print for you to read. The accompanying photos, and the JFK quotes at the beginning of each chapter allow you to experience that era, whether you lived in that time or not.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Dave Curbow has been an educator in the Alta (now Alta-Aurelia) High School for several years now, teaching primarily English and Creative Writing, but he also teaches a cIass called Critical Thinking - which is definitely not a class from the "old days," when you and I were in school.
The Critical Thinking class encourages its students to do just that - to seriously THINK about subjects, looking at them from all angles and points of view and making informed choices on what to believe.
One of the subjects in the class is the November 22,1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Curbow says he uses the Kennedy assassination as a class topic because of the distinct positions that have developed between those who believe it was the act of Lee Harvey Oswald alone and those who believe it was a conspiracy. And because there is so much written on it,Curbow says, the information can be easily accessed by the students.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Join Marquette University political scientist Dr. John McAdams Saturday, December 10, 2011, at 2 p.m. as he addresses how to think, reason and understand conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
Dr. McAdams has published more than 20 articles in scholarly journals on subjects as diverse as voting behavior in congressional elections, campaign finance, social class and politics, the death penalty and racial disparity in incarceration. For the past 15 years, he has taught a course on the assassination to upper-division Marquette undergraduates and run the Kennedy Assassination Home Page, a website author and former prosecutor and Vince Bugliosi has called “the premier JFK assassination Web site, clearly superior in depth and scholarship to that of his peers.” Dr. McAdams lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.
Museum Curator Gary Mack moderates the conversation with Dr. McAdams, which will provide a blueprint for understanding why conspiracy theories arise and how to evaluate their often contradictory claims.
Following the program, Dr. McAdams will sign copies of his new book, JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy. Visit jfk.org for further details.
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Compelling and well written, this book makes the 'conspiracy theorists' look pitiful and deluded. The fact that the 'conspiracy theory' JFK notion is so huge, seems in many peoples mind to imbue it with credibility. Sorry, but fact's have credibility, emotional pandering to widesread paranoia does not. I wanted to know more about JFK and the assasination, and not have to put up with annoying theories that rely on the weakest evidence, I read this book and was glad I did. Furthermore, upon having read it I feel sure that JFK himself would rather the story be told by his most trusted aides rather than some half baked 'author' trying to make a name for himself in history in rather the same way as Oswald himself was. The fact Clint Hill, Mrs Kennedys trusted agent, put his name to this book speaks for itself.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Restoring the White House
A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy - Feb. 14, 1962 (1 & 2 of 6)