Thursday, July 2, 2015

If Kennedy Lived...Book Discussion July 23

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy campaigning in Dallas, was shot by an assassin while riding in his presidential motorcade. His car—a Lincoln Continental—was equipped with a plexiglass bubble top in case of rain. But what had started off as a rainy day, had cleared up by the time the motorcade was ready to go. Lee Harvey Oswald had an unobstructed view of the president as he peered through the scope of his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. But what if the rain hadn’t stopped…?

What if Pres. Kennedy survived the assassination attempt and went on to win a second term as president? What would have US involvement in Vietnam have looked like? How would the Civil Rights Movement have fared? Would the Cold War have progressed any differently? Would the sixties have been the sixties?

In Jeff If Kennedy Lived, Jeff Greenfield imagines this alternate scenario. His decades as journalist and political analyst gives him an insider’s view of Washington politics—the inspired programs and the seedy deal-making. He makes much use of imagined (but plausible) dialog mixed with actual quotations (many times repositioned in time) to write a very readable “history” of JFK’s second term.
If you stay alert, you’ll be rewarded with some fun cameo appearances bearing historical twists and wits. An easy one to spot is the young Hillary Clinton, at a Goldwater rally, marveling at the candidate’s speech and wondering if she will ever get the chance to give a speech. Maybe a little harder is Yippies co-founder Jerry Rubin ruminating about the “under-30s.” 

On July 23rd  at 10am, the Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group will talk about If Kennedy Lived. Come and share your thoughts about Greenfield’s take on Kennedy’s potential. (And, as you read the book, make note of the author’s historical in-jokes and we’ll share them at the discussion.)
If Kennedy Lived is available at the Reference Desk.

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