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Thursday, October 25, 2012
Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly ad Martin Dugard
I was intrigued, what could they write that I did not already know? But they did. Some small details such as pages 135-137, the bringing and transporting the Mona Lisa, Lisa Gherardini, not sure I ever knew her name before. I well recall the publicity in January 1963 about bringing her to the White House, then again, I remember most of the events described in this excellent work.
I read this book accompanied by a nagging feeling of impending doom; yes I knew what would happen, but I knew what would happen with Lincoln as well and did not experience that same sensation reading Killing Lincoln. Perhaps the feeling stemmed from the history that I lived. The same old questions rattle through my mind, what if Oswald had not bee permitted back to America? What if JFK had not gone to Dallas? What if this never had happened? But what if's are fantasy and all that pondering is meaningless. Today in our polarized country with the poorest excuse of a President in my life time, I loved reading about JFK and how he was the President of the country, of all the people. O'Reilly and Dugard write that JFK stopped defining himself by party affiliation, yes he was a consummate politician, but he was the people's man, for the entire nation.
I learned that he was far worse a philanderer than I ever knew with his various bimbos escorted to the White House in Jackie's absence; he outdoes Bill Clinton. I imagine today he would not get away with that conduct. He as a faithful Catholic attended mass regularly; I wonder if he confessed or did not consider his trysts sinful. I also learned that JFK suffered far more from physical complications than I ever imagined and even used crutches sometimes to walk, though not in public. It sounds odd to read about JFK taking a bath, when showers predominate today. I remember huddling with the other girls from our 4th floor in the TV room, (we shared a room and did not have our own TV's back in those dark ages!), October 22, 1962, and I remembered the JFK TV speech about the Russians and missiles in Cuba.....page 117 " The 1930's taught us a clear lesson: Aggressive conduct if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war. This nation is opposed to war. We are also true to our word. Our unswerving objective, therefore, must be to prevent the use of these missiles against this or any other country and to secure their withdrawal or elimination from the Western Hemishpere." On page 119, the authors say that most Americans today who lived through that event remember where they were and what they were doing...just as their parents remembered Pearl Harbor and the death of President Roosevelt. "The terrible news that he now delivers to the public, will make this moment stand forever in the minds of everyone who is watching." We in the east were sure the end was near; the depth of detail in this book confirms, had those missiles gone off most of the East coast and inland would have bee decimated. He ended that speech as his 1961 inaugural, "grabbing his listeners by the heart--or by "the nuts" as he often likes to say--and rally their emotional support." That closing line, "Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right. Not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom--""
On page 242 the authors pose how and when the "destruction of Camelot" might have started--the Bay of Pigs, the anger of Fidel Castro, and the furious reaction in the CIA, or when JFK severed his ties with Giancana, Sinatra and the Mafia and allowed his brother, Bobby to prosecute them as Attorney General.
George de Mohrenschildt, a shadowy Russian college professor who befriended the Oswalds when they arrived in Dallas in 1962 also had ties to Jackie Kennedy; he was a new character to me. He committed suicide in March 1977 just as O'Reilly a young reporter knocked on his door. It adds to the pondering.
The book ends powerfully Page 262 "..each person has dreams about the future--dreams that sometimes come true. Such is life. Yet life can end in less time than it takes to draw one breath." Loved this book.
It is clearly 5 ***** +