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New Book on the Kennedy Family


John Simkin
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Interesting article by David Talbot concerning a new book on the Kennedy family by Christopher Kennedy Lawford (Symptoms of Withdrawal).

http://www.salon.com/books/review/2005/09/27/lawford/

It includes the following passage:

In public, Bobby Kennedy had stated that he accepted the official version of his brother's public execution in the streets of Dallas. But privately, as I have discovered through research for a book on the Kennedy brothers, RFK nurtured strong suspicions of a high-level plot and recruited several of his closest and most trusted associates to quietly investigate the crime. If he made it back to the White House, RFK confided to these associates, he would reopen his brother's case. However, perhaps out of a desire to protect his family, Bobby did not share his suspicions about Dallas widely among his relatives. Since Bobby publicly accepted the Warren Report, writes Christopher in "Symptoms of Withdrawal," the family was reassured that nothing was rotten in America...

The family's decision to stay quiet has proved deeply tragic. It clearly did not serve the country, which following the two assassinations entered a long, dark period whose politics were characterized by imperial overreach and a cult of official secrecy, reaching its zenith in the Bush administration. And, as Lawford's book strongly demonstrates, the Kennedys' silent stoicism also had ruinous emotional effects on the family.

Fortunately, for those seeking a fuller understanding of the murders of the Kennedy brothers, there is a wave of new scholarship on the subject, from Gerald McKnight's brilliant dissection of the Warren Report, "Breach of Trust" (University of Kansas Press), to Gareth Porter's "Perils of Dominance" (University of California Press), a fascinating revisionist history of Kennedy's foreign policy that documents how JFK artfully deflected the relentless pressures from his national security apparatus to escalate the war in Vietnam. Upcoming books on both Kennedy's Cuba policy and Jim Garrison, the New Orleans district attorney lionized by filmmaker Oliver Stone for his lonely battle to crack the JFK case, also promise to shed further light on what historian Douglas Brinkley has called "the 20th century's great murder mystery." The historical portrait that is slowly emerging of JFK and his closest confidant Bobby is of an administration whose inner circle was at sharp odds with the government's national security hard-liners -- from Cuba to Laos to Vietnam to nuclear arms control and peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union.

Perhaps it is too much to expect the family that was victimized by these monumental crimes to lead the charge for justice. As Bobby said during his darkest days of mourning for his brother, "Nothing will bring back Jack." But there is a peace that comes from knowing the truth. And, though he kept his quest secret even from his own family, Bobby could not help pursuing it.

Last year, during an interview with President Kennedy's close advisor Theodore Sorensen, the man who helped give JFK's speeches their poetic vision, I delicately raised the subject of the president's assassination, which Sorensen immediately alerted me was, after all these years, still a "terribly painful" topic for him. Before he cut the discussion short, Sorensen told me in a voice heavy with melancholy that if he could "know that my friend of 11 years died as a martyr to a cause, that there was some reason, some purpose why he was killed -- and not just a totally senseless, lucky sharpshooter -- then I think the whole world would feel better. That brave John F. Kennedy, with all these courageous positions, went into Texas knowing that it was hostile territory, and he ended up dead."

This new wave of scholarly and journalistic investigation promises to finally do just that: show that President John F. Kennedy died for a cause. Perhaps this realization, once it fully sinks into the national consciousness, will bring a measure of solace to the Kennedy family and New Frontier survivors like Sorensen.

"Death is not the greatest loss in life," Christopher Lawford quotes Norman Cousins in "Symptoms of Withdrawal." "The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." Lawford's vigorously honest book tells the story of a family in the tortuous process of coming back to life. Hopefully they -- and the rest of the nation -- will someday complete this task by coming fully to terms with what happened to the Kennedy family, and why.

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According to William Turner (Rearview Mirror - pages 228-229), Edward Kennedy told Sander Vanocur of NBC television shortly after Robert Kennedy was assassinated that he thought that the deaths of his two brothers was linked in some way. He seemed unconvinced that Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan acted as lone gunman. "There has to be more to it" he told Vanocur.

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Interesting article by David Talbot concerning a new book on the Kennedy family by Christopher Kennedy Lawford (Symptoms of Withdrawal).

http://www.salon.com/books/review/2005/09/27/lawford/

It includes the following passage:

In public, Bobby Kennedy had stated that he accepted the official version of his brother's public execution in the streets of Dallas. But privately, as I have discovered through research for a book on the Kennedy brothers, RFK nurtured strong suspicions of a high-level plot and recruited several of his closest and most trusted associates to quietly investigate the crime. If he made it back to the White House, RFK confided to these associates, he would reopen his brother's case. However, perhaps out of a desire to protect his family, Bobby did not share his suspicions about Dallas widely among his relatives. Since Bobby publicly accepted the Warren Report, writes Christopher in "Symptoms of Withdrawal," the family was reassured that nothing was rotten in America...

The family's decision to stay quiet has proved deeply tragic. It clearly did not serve the country, which following the two assassinations entered a long, dark period whose politics were characterized by imperial overreach and a cult of official secrecy, reaching its zenith in the Bush administration. And, as Lawford's book strongly demonstrates, the Kennedys' silent stoicism also had ruinous emotional effects on the family.

Fortunately, for those seeking a fuller understanding of the murders of the Kennedy brothers, there is a wave of new scholarship on the subject, from Gerald McKnight's brilliant dissection of the Warren Report, "Breach of Trust" (University of Kansas Press), to Gareth Porter's "Perils of Dominance" (University of California Press), a fascinating revisionist history of Kennedy's foreign policy that documents how JFK artfully deflected the relentless pressures from his national security apparatus to escalate the war in Vietnam. Upcoming books on both Kennedy's Cuba policy and Jim Garrison, the New Orleans district attorney lionized by filmmaker Oliver Stone for his lonely battle to crack the JFK case, also promise to shed further light on what historian Douglas Brinkley has called "the 20th century's great murder mystery." The historical portrait that is slowly emerging of JFK and his closest confidant Bobby is of an administration whose inner circle was at sharp odds with the government's national security hard-liners -- from Cuba to Laos to Vietnam to nuclear arms control and peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union.

Perhaps it is too much to expect the family that was victimized by these monumental crimes to lead the charge for justice. As Bobby said during his darkest days of mourning for his brother, "Nothing will bring back Jack." But there is a peace that comes from knowing the truth. And, though he kept his quest secret even from his own family, Bobby could not help pursuing it.

Last year, during an interview with President Kennedy's close advisor Theodore Sorensen, the man who helped give JFK's speeches their poetic vision, I delicately raised the subject of the president's assassination, which Sorensen immediately alerted me was, after all these years, still a "terribly painful" topic for him. Before he cut the discussion short, Sorensen told me in a voice heavy with melancholy that if he could "know that my friend of 11 years died as a martyr to a cause, that there was some reason, some purpose why he was killed -- and not just a totally senseless, lucky sharpshooter -- then I think the whole world would feel better. That brave John F. Kennedy, with all these courageous positions, went into Texas knowing that it was hostile territory, and he ended up dead."

This new wave of scholarly and journalistic investigation promises to finally do just that: show that President John F. Kennedy died for a cause. Perhaps this realization, once it fully sinks into the national consciousness, will bring a measure of solace to the Kennedy family and New Frontier survivors like Sorensen.

Good for David Tal

"Death is not the greatest loss in life," Christopher Lawford quotes Norman Cousins in "Symptoms of Withdrawal." "The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." Lawford's vigorously honest book tells the story of a family in the tortuous process of coming back to life. Hopefully they -- and the rest of the nation -- will someday complete this task by coming fully to terms with what happened to the Kennedy family, and why.

This is a really good review of Christopher Lawford's ucoming book. Reading this just now, for the second time, I was struck by the notion that perhaps the internet journalists will do what their print and tv peers refused to do: report on these murders with accuracy. Good for David Talbot.

Dawn

(ps. Yes John much better color selection now ;) )

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