Masters of the Game: The illegitimate presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 17 years ago
This book is based largely on recently released documents, accessed via the Freedom of Information Act, and on the recollections of many of those who heretofore helped safeguard the myth of "Camelot." To say that it tells an interesting story would be a monumental understatement, for the book tells a long suppressed story of corruption, arrogance, abuse of power, and immorality at the highest levels of government. And it is so well researched and so meticulously and methodically documented that there can be little doubt that this is, in fact, the nearest we will ever come to the true tale of Camelot. In his day, John F. Kennedy was seen by many as a prince charming who lived with his beautiful loving wife and children in a idyllic sort of "Camelot;" a man who could and would do no wrong. But nothing could be farther from the truth. As the reader will discover, Camelot was built on mountain money, false publicity, lies, corruption, and deceit and was maintained by secrecy and an all pervasive silence which persisted in various degrees for almost forty years. Without reciting the entire book, here are a few of the many revelations brought forth in these pages: John F. Kennedy suffered from venereal disease (non-gonorrheal urethritis) for most of his adult life and could never be cured because of his incessant sexual excesses. There is strong evidence that Kennedy was married in 1947 to a socialite in Palm Beach and that there was no subsequent divorce, casting doubt on the legitimacy of his later marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier. Jacqueline Kennedy was presumably paid by JFK's father to stand by him if he was elected president, but she planned to divorce him if he lost the 1960 election. Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, spent millions of dollars in publicity over a period of years to promote his son's political career, and later spent even more in bribes in Illinois, West Virginia, and other states, mostly through his criminal contacts, in order to ensure his son's election to the presidency. Following JFK's election, his father insisted that he appoint his brother, Robert, Attorney General ostensibly to stymie any possible investigation of the stolen election. While in office, JFK continued his sexual excesses with loose women, including high-priced prostitutes. Kennedy personally cancelled the second bombing mission during the "Bay of Pigs," resulting in the failure of the invasion. JFK carried on an illicit affair with a woman named Judith Campbell and used her to funnel money and messages to crime boss Sam Giancana in an effort to arrange the assassination of Fidel Castro. There is some indication that JFK may have been blackmailed while he was in the White House so as to influence the awarding of some government contracts. Kennedy didn't force Nikita Khrushchev to back down in the Cuban Missile Crisis as Americans were led to believe. Instead, he secretly agreed never to invade Cuba and to remove NATO's Jupiter missiles fr
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
yes john kennedy was not perfect ( look at all the womanizing) or as healthy as we were led to believe but he wasn't as "bad" as the book makes out. the only gripe i have with this book is that since it did what it's title implied, show the dark side of camelot, it's not a very balanced account. hersh puts the absolute worst possible spin on everything that happened in the administration. I'd recomend the book an unfinished life for a more even handed account
Balancing the Scales of Image
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
You won't get the whole "Camelot" picture with this book but you may not get the whole "Camelot" picture without it. Hersch does a good job of incorporating most of his sources in the text so readers can judge their credibility as they read along--and as they see fit. The bibliography is also written in an easily decipherable way. It's a testament to the strength of an open society that can allow a reporter such as Hersch to spend 5 years probing through such highly sensitive sources of information as the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, organized crime and private bedrooms and will allow it citizens to learn from it. As for believability, what is more gullible, believing the hidden dark side that Hersch paints in this book or the star-struck "Camelot" image? The truth obviously has elements of both and this book simply helps balance the scale. It is assumed that the reader is already familiar with the generally accepted charismatic image of JFK. The value of this book is in understanding the potential disparity that can exist between image and reality for our public figures. But, believe it or not, you can also gain a deeper and more critical appreciation of JFK here by looking beyond the highly choreographed PR image to understand the total human being. I don't recommend this as an "introduction" if you don't either remember or know the basics about this subject. But if you do, even if you think you've heard it all, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and your eyeballs on the edge of their sockets-a fascinating, informative read.
Camelot should be called Oz.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 25 years ago
The on-line reviews of the book are telling: The ones attacking & debunking the book don't provide any substance. They attack the author, they call it sleaze, etc. But not one of them takes issue with the contents of the book, which is what a review should do. To those of you who still are seduced by the Kennedy mystique, I challenge you to find anything substantively wrong with Mr. Hersh's thesis: That JFK, because of his debauched personal life compromised his country in ways we couldn't heretofore imagine. A more apt metaphor for his administration should have been Oz rather than Camelot. And shame on all the people all these years who knew what was behind the curtain, but yet continue to propogate the lie. Unfortunately, there are enough people still out there who try to defend the indefensible, but they distort the debate by avoiding the issues and point out, among other things, problems the author had in compiling the book. Mr. Hersh took great care in researching his book, and that's why the "Marilyn Papers" didn't make it. He was honest enought and thorough enough to make sure only the truth got in. We need to judge the book by it's actual, not it's potential, contents. I wonder what Entertainment Weekly has said in the past about books regarding Richard Nixon? Do they defend him? Call those books sleaze? I doubt it. He was not an attractive man, and his sins are well-documented and easy to believe. But attack the handsome JFK... Ah, pop culture. The air-heads leading the air-heads.
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