WITH KENNEDY by Pierre Salinger


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Mrs. Lincoln, his secretary, Sorensen and Schlesinger, his advisors, all wrote bestselling books about the Kennedy regime and this one; by his Press Secretary, will probably be no exception. Any reader turning to this book in the hope that Salinger's Court Jester role might produce an intimate memoir from a graceful raconteur will be disappointed. By his own hand, the shamelessly pudgy Plucky Pierre reveals himself to have been more punned against than punning, more receptive to the needle than needling. His own wit was evidently reserved for the Buchwaldian spoofs that occasionally lightened his press briefings with such deadpan reports in finicking detail as the White House arrangements for Caroline's Tom Kitten. Mr. Salinger writes in a doggedly competent journalistic prose about his job as Press Secretary under two Administrations. He discussed the intricate organization required for the dissemination of the news and the problems of responding as fully as he and Kennedy did to TV newsmen. His glimpses of Kennedy show a more temperamental Executive than any of the other books. Salinger says and shows that Kennedy reacted to major crises by riding herd on the minor disasters of White House living and total exposure to the wayward Washington news corps. Salinger was on the periphery of the Cuban and Russian flareups and describes his part in them while assessing the general news coverage. Salinger's major point concerns the fuller use of responsible journalism in elections and policy influence. Johnson courted his services and gets gentle handling and the fade out describes Salinger's abortive Senate race in California. It's a book bound to do well, but its interest will last for the life of the pages, not the ages.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1966
Publisher: Doubleday