Remembering JFK

Camelot’s Court:  Inside the Kennedy White House  By Robert  Dallek.  Harper Pubs.  $32.50 –  October 8, 2013
Robert Dallek continues his authority on the Kennedy administration with  “Camelot’s Court:  Inside the Kennedy White House.”  The narrative  begins with the election of a young, politically inexperienced John Kennedy who  surrounds camelothimself with men he believes will offer him the guidance he needs to  be a successful president, the so-called “best and the brightest.”  His  learning curve was vertical.  Within the first six months of his  administration he was faced with the Bay of Pigs, the Berlin Wall, and a growing  problem in Vietnam.  Perhaps no other modern president has been faced with  such daunting problems so early after his election.  There was little time  for anything but decisive action, and mistakes were made.
Dalleks’s narrative shows the young Kennedy learning to seek his own  counsel in the two years he had before his assassination.  He began to rely  more on his brother, Robert, than any other advisor, and together, the two of  them grew exponentially.  It’s only to be suggested how successful a  president he would have been if given the opportunity before his untimely  death.
Dallek gives insight into each of the top advisors of President  Kennedy.  Their strengths and weaknesses are exposed with equal  insight.  It’s a fast-paced narrative.  Dallek is an accomplished  writer as well as researcher.  The 430 some pages move swifly from  idea to idea.  It will be some time before America loses its fascination  with John Kennedy and what might have been.  With books like “Camelot’s  Court” continuing to be published, it’s our good fortune that it won’t be  anytime soon.       -Steve Corrigan
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