O’Reilly and Dugard (Killing Lincoln, 2011) team up again with a comprehensive account of the John F. Kennedy administration and its untimely end.
As with their previous work, this is quick, gossipy and sure to please Kennedy buffs, but the newsroom attitude toward the story will leave academics wanting. That is not to say the authors' facts are anything but accurate, and the journalistic style of writing makes it easy reading. The wealth of material available for a work like this, including primary and secondary sources, requires careful selection to avoid a massively overbearing work. The authors cover the events of the three short years of the administration from the president’s dalliances to the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis and the star power of the family. It’s a noteworthy picture of Kennedy’s transformation into a world leader and the outside influences that were used and discarded. O'Reilly and Dugard also expose Kennedy as a man who avoided unpleasant confrontations, using his brother to deal with contentious issues and express opinions that countered the general consensus of the cabinet. By paralleling the period with loner Lee Harvey Oswald’s desperate attempts at recognition and his fixation on communism, it’s easy to see how the assassin slipped under the radar. Of course, the book drives on to that fateful day in November 1963, but the constant reminders of the few years, months or hours Kennedy had left to live are tedious in the extreme. We all know how it ends.
A quick-fire, easy-to-read account of the Kennedy years, with some salacious details to spice it up.