President Kennedy died fifty years ago today.
The amount of attention being paid to this anniversary is indicative of his impact on our country. Every time I’ve looked at any news source over the last few weeks, I’ve seen several articles about him, his presidency, the assassination, the conspiracy theories, and his legacy.
We miss Camelot.
It hit me today that part of the reason for that is this: it’s been a very long time since America has had a president both parties want to claim as their champion. Nowadays, no one seems to want to claim any elected official for any reason whatsoever.
If you’re looking for an interesting Kennedy-themed read or two, consider these:
11/22/63, by Stephen King: the master story-teller of our time weaves a riveting tale of time-travel and suspense in which frustrated English teacher Jake Epping has the real opportunity to find out the answer to the question, “What if Kennedy had lived?” (For those of you who assume King only writes horror novels, this story is neither gory or horrific at all. In fact, I would actually categorize it as a love story.) In my opinion, it’s King’s best work, which is saying something.
Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, by Arthur M. Schlessinger: These historic and previously unreleased interviews provide an intimate window into Jackie’s world, as well as the world-at-large soon after the death of the President. Though intensely private and personal, these interviews were given by Jackie to Arthur Schlessinger because she felt a duty to future generations. Caroline Kennedy writes a moving forward, and I was struck by the thought of the unpayable debt this nation owes her.
The president’s widow famously kept her feelings and observations to herself, but reading these interviews, one gets a real sense of what a graceful, intelligent and strong woman she was, and the man she and our country lost. The book can be purchased with the audio cd’s of the interviews, which lend another layer to her memories. (You can hear her light a cigarette, or speak to her children when they wander into the room.)
For history buffs, and those who just love a good story, both of these books will not disappoint.