The companion volume to a forthcoming NBC documentary on the Kennedy assassination.
Investigative TV reporter Russo and prime-time producer Moses collaborated on canvassing a wide range of personalities, including politicians, news correspondents, actors, best-selling authors, photojournalists and widowed spouses. Participants were surveyed with key questions on how the Kennedy shooting impacted life personally and nationally with the resulting essays condensed from hourlong personal interviews, then divided into sections on the event’s location (Dallas), its politics, culture, and the ensuing controversy and speculation. A majority of these anecdotes and recollections are moving and powerful and will greatly fortify the televised coverage of this somber anniversary. Newsman Dan Rather writes that Kennedy’s untimely demise made him a more skeptical reporter, yet the president’s legacy as a whole renewed his sense of patriotism and “love of country.” Marie Tippit, widow to a Dallas policeman caught in Lee Harvey Oswald’s crossfire, reflects painfully on her loss, as do political duo Richard and Doris Kearns Goodwin, who jointly reflect on the unkind fate that befell the Kennedy family. With vivid narration, Robert Grossman recounts the sad, grueling hours he’d spent as one of the attending neurosurgeons searching for signs of life inside the president’s slain body. Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton offer nods to Kennedy’s humanitarian, pro-peace administration, while Pat Buchanan brusquely admits that Kennedy’s presidency was hardly “one of the greats.” Thought-provoking conspiracy theories amplify an already emotionally charged landscape but are soon smoothed over with memories offered by distinguished celebrities Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Jay Leno and Jane Fonda, who fondly refers to the Kennedy clan as being “as close as we’ll ever get to royalty.” The themes of remembrance and appreciation remain constant throughout these pieces—all relevant and compiled with care.
An engrossing, politically charged accompaniment to a TV event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination.