Tag Archives: Kennedy

Camelot’s Protector: Book Review of Jacqueline Kennedy’s interviews with Arthur Schlesinger.

For those that lived during the early 1960’s, Jacqueline Kennedy had become more than just the First Lady of the United States, she had become a star. The star of the show that was played out before the nation, with the young president at her side, and a nation that wanted to copy everything that she was doing. Jacqueline Kennedy only wanted a few things in life, and none of it included becoming this type of figure. However, on November 22nd, 1963, fate would take over and put her in a place only a few First Ladies before her had to endure, that of becoming a widow. Every move that she would make in those moments after the gunshots took the life of her husband, would be etched into the minds of millions of Americans for decades to come. The stained pink dress, watching her husband’s successor take the oath of office, finding the right burial spot, and ensuring the nation would never forget this time in history.

It is with history in mind that Jacqueline Kennedy sat down with famed historian and Kennedy advisor, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. for a series of interviews just months after the events in Dallas. The interviews were recorded by Schlesinger and the agreement would be that they would be sealed for 50 years. According to her daughter Caroline Kennedy, the interviews were unlocked just weeks after her mother’s death so that the family could decide if it was time for them to be released. Caroline had decided that it was not the right time, and it would be another 17 years before the public could hear the voice that had been so strong during such a tragic time.

Over the course of the next seven conversations that spanned months during 1964, Jackie Kennedy shed light on many topics regarding her husband. Some of those topics included his presidential aspirations, what he liked to read, his relationship with his brother Bobby, and his plans for after the presidency. The book features a written form of the interviews and it also includes the recordings themselves. I have found myself listening to these conversations on my way to work, and actually hearing her voice, gives the conversation some life. Mr. Schlesinger is careful to avoid many of the controversial topics that have been printed in the years after. Instead, in these early months after JFK’s death, Jackie is painting the image of JFK that she thought he deserved. Asked at one point in the conversation as to how her husband would have described himself, she states, “An idealist without illusions”. A true statement for a man that had so many visions for the country, but were left unfinished by a life cut short.

Some of the other interesting topics that are brought up by Schlesinger, is the relationship that JFK had with the FBI, and the CIA. When asked about the situation, Jackie states, “I know he was going to get rid of J. Edgar Hoover and he always said that those were the two things he did first- you know, Hoover and Allen Dulles, which I guess he had to do at the time”. There are those that believe that individuals such as Hoover and Dulles had something to do with the assassination, and this statement by JFK’s wife, shows the indifference he had with these two men.

Another person of interest in the interviews that came up, was the name Lyndon Johnson. Jackie felt that her husband tried many times over the course of his administration to involve Johnson with decisions, but that Johnson simply just agreed with everything that was being said. So instead of having a “yes” man, he would send him on trips around the world. One notable statement that Jackie makes about this, is something that happened in our current events today. As a new Air Force One was needed, Johnson pushed for JFK to order four more Air Force Ones, and that Moscow’s planes were much faster. In turn Jackie stated, “Jack wasn’t going to spend that much money for four new planes, and Lyndon kept pushing him to do it”. JFK did not give in to Johnson’s demands, and the rift between the two was growing to a point in which Johnson might be dropped from the ticket. Jackie explains that she did not think that JFK would drop Lyndon in 1964, but that JFK had stated to her, “Oh God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president?” Well the nation did get to see what would happen, and the effects of his presidency left a scar on the presidency that was felt for decades.

The book is a must have for any Kennedy collector, and the recordings are the most valued portion of the book. Within those CD’s, the voices of history are heard, and the protector of Camelot sheds light on the events before JFK’s presidency, during it, and what could have been after it. Jackie Kennedy believed that her husband would have gone around the world, written a book, or even done something with his library. Instead it was left to her to form the image and history surrounding her husband, and she was able to give the country that brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.

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Staying United as a Nation

As the election of 2016 is well underway, and the candidates of both major parties have been selected, I think it would be a good time to see how a debate should go. In the coming weeks we will see two candidates with different views on issues square off. The bickering between them both will be highlighted and the real issues put to the side. I think it is a good time to watch the first televised debate, where two candidates were respectful to each other and were able to showcase their views. The two candidates we have in 2016 have been going at it for months, but in the end, the the United States of American is what matters.The nation needs to come together during this time to pick a leader, and who ever wins, respect that leader. We need to become united as a nation, not divided.

Missing Links…

According to the Warren Commission there is only one thing people need to believe from the Warren Report. That is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the death of the president. I will give a pause for the laughter in that statement. It is mentioned several times throughout the report and it seems like they were trying to convince themselves of it. So why would they want us to believe that a lone nut was able to pull off the crime of the century. For starters they do not want to implicate themselves in the cover up, and the fact that Oswald had indeed worked for the C.I.A. at some point. Lee Harvey Oswald had left the United States on several occasions and had ties to many different types of organizations that would want this President of the United States silenced. The perfect candidate for the architects of this plot fell right into there hands, because of the many actions leading up to the assassination. President Kennedy had created many enemies in his short presidency and these individuals had the motive to want to take out the president. I do believe that Oswald was able to make a couple of shots at the President but he did not make the final kill shot that ended the Presidents life.

In that last statement I just made, it would seem that I would believe what the Warren Commission is trying to put out there. However, Oswald was able to get a gun up to that sixth floor and make the attempt on the President’s life but he missed and he knew it. Just like in the case of General Walker where he took that one shot and missed, he thought that two shots this time would do the trick. At the Sports Dome rifle range outside of Irving, Oswald is seen practicing with his rifle by several witnesses. One of these witnesses is a 12 year old boy who notices that as the man is shooting his gun, he is catching the shell casings at the same time. The boy counts the 1st shot, catch, 2nd shot, catch, 3rd shot, catch. A strange thing for someone to be doing and at the rate he was firing the weapon. The catching of the shells is a key part of this statement because 3 shells were found by the sixth floor window after the assassination. So after all of this practice ( Oswald is seen at the range several times) why would there be shell casings laying on the floor? A setup? Who would put the shells there? Someone other than Oswald put the casings there, because in Oswald’s mind he missed the shot, and he had the casings in his pocket. The police missed this or they choose not to look further into the statements of the witnesses at the rifle range.

By the time Oswald is found in the lunchroom by Officer Baker and Roy Truly he is not out of breath because he left the window at the sixth floor in plenty of time. He is startled at the fact that he is found by the policeman so fast and he hurried to his rooming house to retrieve his gun. It would seem that the plan that was made up for the assassination attempt has gone wrong at some point in Oswald’s mind. The part that Oswald was supposed to play in it seems to be out of control and something is wrong. His actions after the assassination seem to dictate this, and he was prepared to go down with a fight. The quote ” its all over now” was something he said while getting arrested at the Texas Theatre, but we know even 50 years after the assassination, that it is clearly not over.

Innocence Lost..

JFK

I come from a generation that was not able to see or hear John F. Kennedy in real life. We only have seen him through the television and in black and white. Just think if we had the chance to see this man or even hear him speak in person. The world we live in now does not let us get close to a President like it was in those days and we will never have a chance unless we donate a significant amount of money to the campaign of that candidate.

Back then this man was real and he wanted the people to be able to see him, let alone hear his voice. Although at the time of his death, his approval rating was not the greatest, it is widely believed that he would have been elected to a second term because he connected to so many people. He was young, smart and had the looks of a movie star. We have looked for a President like him ever since, and every Democratic Presidential candidate since has had to embrace the Kennedy legacy and know that this is what we are looking for. Someone that had vision into the future and had the best interest of the country at all times.

A day like November 22nd, 1963 is one of those days that impacted everyone, much like Pearl Harbor to the generation before and 9/11 to my generation. The world stopped on this day 50 years ago and it seems that we have never been able to move on ever since. The mistrust in government which started on this day has only gotten worse over the years. We still know that there is more to the assassination then what the government has put in the Warren Report and we have not forgiven them for not giving us the answers.

All it takes is to look at the pictures of the motorcade in Dallas to know that this President was loved and admired by many people. Even in a state like Texas which the President’s advisors thought would be difficult,had in fact turned out much larger crowds than expected. Images of people smiling and waving at the president show their excitement. We haven’t had that trust and excitement of a President looking towards the future since, and it is something we all want. Let’s us all teach our children to remember days like November 22nd, 1963, December 7th, 1941 and September 11th, 2001 not just on the big anniversary’s that occur every 5 or 10 years but every year that these days come by. Let us tell them how it impacted the history of this country. It is up to us to keep the memory alive of these events. We will never know what the world would be like if Kennedy lived, but we know that it would have been a better place had he did.