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Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Yearsby David Talbot
Synopses & Reviews
For decades, books about John or Robert Kennedy have woven either a shimmering tale of Camelot gallantry or a tawdry story of runaway ambition and reckless personal behavior. But the real story of the Kennedys in the 1960s has long been submerged — until now. In Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, David Talbot sheds a dramatic new light on the tumultuous inner life of the Kennedy presidency and its stunning aftermath. Talbot, the founder of Salon.com, has written a gripping political history that is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
Brothers begins on the shattering afternoon of November 22, 1963, as a grief-stricken Robert Kennedy urgently demands answers about the assassination of his brother. Bobby's suspicions immediately focus on the nest of CIA spies, gangsters, and Cuban exiles that had long been plotting a violent regime change in Cuba. The Kennedys had struggled to control this swamp of anti-Castro intrigue based in southern Florida, but with little success.
Brothers then shifts back in time, revealing the shadowy conflicts that tore apart the Kennedy administration, pitting the young president and his even younger brother against their own national security apparatus. The Kennedy brothers and a small circle of their most trusted advisors — men like Theodore Sorensen, Robert McNamara, and Kenneth O'Donnell, who were so close the Kennedys regarded them as family — repeatedly thwarted Washington's warrior caste. These hard-line generals and spymasters were hell-bent on a showdown with the Communist foe — in Berlin, Laos, Vietnam, and especially Cuba. But the Kennedys continually frustrated their militaristic ambitions, pushing instead for a peaceful resolution to the Cold War. The tensions within the Kennedy administration were heading for an explosive climax, when a burst of gunfire in a sunny Dallas plaza terminated John F. Kennedy's presidency.
Based on interviews with more than one hundred fifty people — including many of the Kennedys' aging "band of brothers," whose testimony here might be their final word on this epic political story — as well as newly released government documents, Brothers reveals the compelling, untold story of the Kennedy years, including JFK's heroic efforts to keep the country out of a cataclysmic war and Bobby Kennedy's secret quest to solve his beloved brother's murder. Bobby's subterranean search was a dangerous one and led, in part, to his own quest for power in 1968, in a passion-filled campaign that ended with his own murder. As Talbot reveals here, RFK might have been the victim of the same plotters he suspected of killing his brother. This is historical storytelling at its riveting best — meticulously researched and movingly told.
Brothers is a sprawling narrative about the clash of powerful men and the darker side of the Cold War — a tale of tragic grandeur that is certain to change our understanding of the relentlessly fascinating Kennedy saga.
For the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy comes a sure-to-be-controversial argument that by virtually any standard, JFK was far more conservative than liberal.
“America, meet the real John F. Kennedy.” — Washington Times
John F. Kennedy is lionized by liberals. He inspired Lyndon Johnson to push Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. His New Frontier promised increased spending on education and medical care for the elderly. He inspired Bill Clinton to go into politics. His champions insist he would have done great liberal things had he not been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.
But what if we’ve been looking at him all wrong? Indeed, JFK had more in common with Ronald Reagan than with LBJ. After all, JFK’s two great causes were anticommunism and tax cuts. His tax cuts, domestic spending restraint, military buildup, pro-growth economic policy, emphasis on free trade and a strong dollar, and foreign policy driven by the idea that America had a God-given mission to defend freedom — all make him, by the standards of both his time and our own, a conservative. This widely debated book is must reading for conservatives and liberals alike.
“Provocative and compelling . . . Ira Stoll has succeeded in changing our very perception of Kennedy as one of liberalism’s heroes.” — Weekly Standard
“An informative analysis of the ways in which JFK did indeed evince his conservative side — he was very religious, open to a free market unencumbered by governmental interference, and staunchly anti-Communist.” — Publishers Weekly
From acclaimed journalist David Talbot comes a groundbreaking narrative account of one of the most tumultuous periods in our history: the Kennedy Administration and its dramatic aftermath.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Though countless books have been written about the Kennedy men and their brief, tumultuous time in the White House, few have offered as many explosive revelations as this one. David Talbot describes a JFK administration more besieged by domestic enemies than has been previously realized, from within the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, and the mob. It is against this dark backdrop that he charts the emotionally charged journey of Robert Kennedy, whose soul-scouring quest to find the origins of his brotherand#8217;s murder led him, to his horror, back to the dark corners of American power that had been part of his portfolio: U.S. intelligence, Cuba, and organized crime.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;From the Kennedy and#8220;band of brothersand#8221; to RFKand#8217;s hope of using executive power to solve Jackand#8217;s death once and for all, this probing work of history draws on more than 150 exclusive interviews to produce a bold look at power and vengeance. A topic of perennial interest, Brothers is a multilayered, complex tale of gut-wrenching history.
About the Author
David Talbot, author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, has been hailed as a "pioneer of online journalism" by The New York Times, is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon. He has worked as a senior editor for Mother Jones magazine and as a features editor for the San Francisco Examiner. Talbot has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time and other publications. He lives with his family in San Francisco.
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