In the months and weeks before the fateful November 22nd, 1963, Dallas was brewing with political passions, a city crammed with larger-than-life characters dead-set against the Kennedy presidency. These included rabid warriors like defrocked military general Edwin A. Walker; the world's richest oil baron, H. L. Hunt; the leader of the largest Baptist congregation in the world, W. A. Criswell; and the media mogul Ted Dealey, who raucously confronted JFK and whose family name adorns the plaza where the president was murdered. On the same stage was a compelling cast of marauding gangsters, swashbuckling politicos, unsung civil rights heroes, and a stylish millionaire anxious to save his doomed city.
Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis ingeniously explore the swirling forces that led many people to warn President Kennedy to avoid Dallas on his fateful trip to Texas. Breathtakingly paced, Dallas 1963 presents a clear, cinematic, and revelatory look at the shocking tragedy that transformed America. Countless authors have attempted to explain the assassination, but no one has ever bothered to explain Dallas - until now.
With spellbinding storytelling, Minutaglio and Davis lead us through intimate glimpses of the Kennedy family and the machinations of the Kennedy White House, to the obsessed men in Dallas who concocted the climate of hatred that led many to blame the city for the president's death. Here at long last is an accurate understanding of what happened in the weeks and months leading to John F. Kennedy's assassination. Dallas 1963 is not only a fresh look at a momentous national tragedy but a sobering reminder of how radical, polarizing ideologies can poison a city - and a nation.
©2013 Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis (P)2013 Hachette Audio
I'm too young to have been alive during the Kennedy assassination. But that doesn't mean it hasn't left a powerful cultural impact on our society. There are a lot of players the book discusses: John Birch Society, The Dallas Morning News, Major General Walker, and the fever of conservative opposition to the Kennedys that was sweeping Dallas after Kennedy's election. If anything, you begin to wonder why it was Oswald that killed Kennedy because it seemed like the whole city of Dallas and especially the elite of Dallas all had strong motivations to get him out of office, and were often willing to resort to violence in their cause. The other doesn't get into much detail on Oswald, probably because other books had already done so or because so little is known, mostly tracking his activities as they were known and makes some guesses as to motivation. It did not make me question Oswald being either the assassin or at least attempted assassin, but it does make you wonder with all these other factors going on whether there weren't multiple factions trying to kill Kennedy, or whether there wasn't a strange connection somewhere between the ardent communist Oswald and some of the very right wing anti-communist leaders of the city, or that both sides didn't have people inciting them to action and hiding in the shadows. But after you get past the conspiracies and the questions that will never be answered, you can't begin to wonder at the motivations of all these people. And wonder if they ever felt guilty about their involvement in near-treasonous activities over fears that proved unfounded.
Yes and I did. It actually made it a lot easier since in the beginning there are a lot of names of people it's hard to get straight. Though maybe listening to it in pieces and being able to look up some of these people in between would have helped as well. When the author gets to the day of it is riveting. You know everyone very well by then and follow their movements as well as the Kennedys.
The author covers Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson's visit to Dallas a year prior to the assassination. He goes over it in great detail and it's very fascinating and something that would foreshadow (though it seems like everything foreshadowed) the assassination.
An interesting reflection on Dallas before the Kennedy assassination. Especially fun to read being from Dallas because so many of the names and places mentioned are familiar.
The audible version of this book really works. Facinating subject. And easy to follow.
It's uncanny how the guiding principles of the John Birch Society and the right wing in Dallas (known at that time as "The City of Hate") are so similar to the current philosophy of the Tea Party.
I lived in Dallas in 1963 and knew many of the players discussed in the book. Every fact, every tidbit, is accurate. It all fits with my memory and knowledge of the tragedy.
Stanley Marcus - a true, blue hero. He understood the good in Dallas and worked to lift the city to a more cosmopolitan level.
The Kennedy motorcade. Every whisper of air, the positions of all the people were beautifully described. The detail of the minute by minute description was a work of art.
The assassination, of course. I cried when I listened to the description. But, I was also impressed, even moved, by the life of Marina Oswald. Her life with Lee Oswald is fully fleshed out for some understanding of his motivation and pathology.
I recommend this book to all of my friends and family from Dallas. Fifty years later, unbelievably, the events are being forgotten. Because we live with the legacy of these events, it's important to be reminded of them lest history repeats.
Great Discussion about Ted Dealey, H.L. Hunt, General Walker, the John Birch Society, Cold War paranoia, fear of desegragation and how JFK's policies ran a collision course. "Lone nut" Oswald doesn't explain his close ties to CIA asset George De Mohrenschildt and Russian right wing in Dallas, not to mentoin or Anti-Castro David Ferrie and Clay Shaw in New Orleans. Should either have left Oswald out entirely or addressed the historical record as developed by declassified documents under the JFK Records Act.
The coverage of Adalai Stevenson's trip to Dallas in October, 1963 was very well done and adds meat to a frequently referenced foreshadowing event.
A strong, intelligent voice.
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