CONWERSATIONS WITH KENNEDY by Benjamin C. Bradlee

CONWERSATIONS WITH KENNEDY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bradlee, former Newsweek reporter, current managing editor of the Washington Post, has put together a running record of the some 125 to 150 times, shorter to longer, he talked with JFK. He was also a very good friend and neighbor of the Kennedys. Jackie considered the Bradlees their ""best friends"" and there was only one three-month freeze during this five-year period (due of course to Newsweek coverage of the Holy Family). At first you read this casually idling along between the rumor of John's ""other wife"" or the Powers-Abel swap or Teddy's difficulties at Harvard or the Billie Sol Estes mess. JFK always spoke freely and forthrightly and could spell the mot juste in four or five letters. There's a certain gossip quotient or stronger--JFK on Nixon: ""I can't stand the way he puts everything in Tricia's mouth. . . . He's a cheap bastard; that's all there is to it."" There are impromptu suppers next door, a birthday, an anniversary. In the beginning you're told that he's urbane, restless, graceful, gay, hungry, confident; at the end you'll realize how essentially ""remote and independent"" they both were--so rarely showing ""any emotion except laughter."" Also this will be something more than an affectionate shirtsleeves (JFK changed his shirt four times a day) portrait--these random interchanges replicate the immediacy of the time, the man, the hope that was.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1975
Publisher: Norton