Dallas 1963

Patriots, Traitors, and the Assassination of JFK
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

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Dallas 1963 was a hotbed of hatred

This book is not about the JFK assassination. It is about the three years leading up to that event and some who played a part in it in some way.

The book's greatest passages describe and quote two men: H.L. Hunt and General Walker. Once you hear their views, it is impossible not to consider that Dallas was about to explode in some way. Great info on these men.

The audio of the main body is good. I believe the authors buttress the beginning and end (which is less than flattering). Great that this book was Fremont of and carried through to publication, as Dallas is every bit a character as the names of the assassination.

2 people found this helpful

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Today's headlines ripped straight from this story

Absolutely stupendous book, hitting the mark on all counts: plot, background understanding, and intellect. Dallas in the early 1960s somehow was remarkably arch conservative, even reactionary. Now that I have learned the back story, the assassination takes on a whole new light. This book tells history as it was a story, which is the best kind of history lesson. You learn personalities of the players and vivid detail. One small caveat: I felt as if Oswald's story, in the days leading up to the assassination, was somehow dropped out of the story-telling. Would have liked to read more on that. But small concern in an overall outstanding book. More than ever, learning history helps us understand today.

1 person found this helpful

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Everyone Wanted to Kill Kennedy

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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Very enjoyable

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.

1 person found this helpful

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Dallas History Informs Today's Right Wing Politics

Would you consider the audio edition of Dallas 1963 to be better than the print version?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Stanley Marcus - a true, blue hero. He understood the good in Dallas and worked to lift the city to a more cosmopolitan level.

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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Great On Dallas Extremists; Cartoonish on Oswald

Would you consider the audio edition of Dallas 1963 to be better than the print version?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dallas 1963?

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.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

A strong, intelligent voice.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Dallas Putsch.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome history lesson

I was reading this as part of a book club. I thought it would just focus on the assassination of JFK. I was pleasantly surprised to get a Great history lesson from right before JFK ran for president to when Jack Ruby killed Oswald. I was only 5 when JFK was killed but remember how it affected the US. This book really helped give me the context around his death as well as all of the politics going on between the Democrats and Republicans back then. I know we have 2 parties; I just wish they weren’t so violently opposed to each other sometimes-just like today with everything that is happening in our country. It’s very sad. We need to come together as a nation.

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A well-researched and stunning story of the 1960s

History written almost as if it were a novel, with well-developed characters and extraordinary events, leading up to a climax of hatred that leads almost inevitably to the murder of a President.

How Dallas could have allowed itself to be seduced by the political ambitions of a corrupt few is a story that is relevant in 2020s American, and a lesson for all of us.

I couldn't stop listening.

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Dallas 2019

History in the making. When I go to Elm Street and see all the visitors to JFK memorial, I realize how important this book is. The different threads of life are masterfully intertwined.

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Awful

Written by a. 5th grader the day after the Warren Report came out. Just an awful book that repeats the same false info the CIA and FBI pushed for 50 years.