ONE BRIEF SHINING MOMENT
Twenty years and countless upheavals later, Manchester has set out unblinkingly to revive Camelot: from the initial invocation of Malory to the photos captioned "The Perfect Couple" to the concluding thoughts on the historical Arthur and the heroic Jack Kennedy. This is a book, moreover, that people will either love or hate--written in the elegiac, buddy-buddy mode of Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye and, as regards Manchester himself, in the second person. For Jack and Jackie's wedding, for instance, "you were billeted with Wilmarth 'Lefty' Lewis, the Waipole scholar who, having married an Auchincloss, was Jackie's step-uncle." Apropos of Jackie's Francophile influence on Jack's wardrobe: "Probably Jackie was also responsible for those presidential harangues about your shirts, which, he insisted, were not only unstylish but appeared to be soiled; didn't you change them at least four times daily?" Anecdotes also feature the likes of Red Fay, a.k.a. The Redhead and Grand Old Lovable (as in "Grand Old Lovable watched his friend give himself an injection"). On the personality, the family, politics, the presidency, you've read it all before--back when. (With time have come some jabs at the "liberal intellectual community.") In the large, there's both plain truth ("His greatest triumph. . . was his resolution of the Cuban missile crisis") and sheer glorification ("his most appealing legacy lies in his compassion"). But all the old photos are here, along with a few new ones, in a capacious album that does indeed make the Kennedy days look glamorous again.