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Based on memoirs, histories, oral histories, fresh reporting, and his own knowledge of the players, the book looked at the tiny hinges of history—and the extraordinary changes that would have resulted if they had gone another way. Now he presents his most compelling narrative of all about the historical event that has riveted us for fifty years.

What if Kennedy were not killed that fateful day?

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What would the campaign have looked like? In , her father received advice that a lobotomy might alleviate her symptoms. The procedure proved disastrous and left her permanently incapacitated. Rosemary would remain in private mental health institutions for the duration of her life, until when she died. Long before John F.


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Kennedy entered the political arena, Joseph Kennedy Sr. That plan came to an abrupt end when, on Aug. The explosion vaporized Joseph Jr. A mere four years after the death of the eldest son of the family, Kathleen Kennedy, the fourth child in the Kennedy clan, died in a plane crash in France. She was only 28 years old. Undoubtedly the most famous tragedy to befall the Kennedys and possibly the most devastating for the country was the assassination of President John F.

On Nov. The death of the year-old president shocked the nation. Nearly 50 years after his assassination, many Americans still don't believe Oswald was actually responsible for the president's death, with different conspiracy theories laying the blame at the feet of everyone from the mafia to the KGB to the CIA and many more. Five years after the assassination of his older brother, Robert F. Kennedy, then a senator from New York, launched a late campaign for the Democratic party nomination for the presidency.

Despite his late entry and going up against the then-incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson until Johnson announced his plans to suspend his campaign and not seek another term as president , Kennedy quickly became the frontrunner. Shortly after winning the California Democratic primary and addressing a crowd of supporters in Los Angeles on June 5, , Kennedy exited the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel and attempted to take a shortcut out of the building through the kitchen. There, Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, who cited Kennedy's support for Israel as a motive for his actions.

In , Edward "Ted" Kennedy nearly died in a plane crash, which claimed the lives of two other aboard including an aide and the pilot. The injuries he would sustain, including a broken ribs, a broken back and a punctured lung, would cause him pain for the rest of his life. However, it was another tragedy that would haunt the youngest of the Kennedy children for the rest of his life, the Chappaquiddick incident.

After a night of partying on July 18, , one year after the death of his brother, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick island. He abandoned the vehicle, leaving passenger Mary Jo Kopechne behind to drown.

Her body was uncovered by divers the next day. This was a tough book to read. For the first part I kept going For the second part I just kept dragging my feet. I do understand it is an alternate history, and we won't ever know for sure, unless someone events a time machine and inadvertently creates an alternate timeline, but of course then the only one who'd know would be the one who created the alternate timeline. Anyway, I was fascinated the a lot of what was speculated in this book abo This was a tough book to read.

Anyway, I was fascinated the a lot of what was speculated in this book about Vietnam and the counter-culture, and the growing animosity of JFK's 2nd term, was quite similar to what is going on today in politics and also what was happening a few years ago when the US was struggling in the Middle East. After reading about the sources, I understand why that is now. Interesting theories, but I think history worked out the way it was supposed to. Nov 07, Lindsay rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , american-history , audiobooks.

This was an interesting book- a "What if? However, the one thing that really irritated me about this book is that in the narrative, people kept referring back to Kennedy's near-death experience. Writers, for example, said things like, "Look at the optimism our country has experienced over the past X years I don't know- maybe those who were around shortly after Reagan survived being shot can provide evidence to the contrary?

Jan 27, Stacey rated it liked it. Interesting, but as is inherent with this kind of book, a lot of this is guessing. Personally, the idea of Jackie wanting to strike out on her own in is utterly ridiculous to me.

Jeff Greenfield's Big Day

It does make you realize how much would change - how many other assassinations and murders might not have happened. Dec 28, Debbie rated it did not like it. Just not good. What else can I say?


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Apr 08, Matthew Kresal rated it liked it. What if had President Kennedy not been assassinated in Dallas on November 22, ? That has been a frequent topic of alternate history speculation for more than fifty years now, especially in the major anniversary years of the assassination. The book certainly has the feel of being a work of informed speculation. Greenfield opens with an attempted assassination in Dallas, informed strongly by the even What if had President Kennedy not been assassinated in Dallas on November 22, ?

Greenfield opens with an attempted assassination in Dallas, informed strongly by the events of that day. From there, a wounded Kennedy recovers and history slowly begins to diverge. The narrative hits all the high points one might expect from the election, Vietnam, and Civil Rights. It even takes readers into a quite different Presidential election through the eve of the election is where the book ends. There's a definite ring of plausibility to the book which helps it immensely. While it may be plausible, it also feels a little too comfortable.

While everything that happens in the book is well within the realms of possibility given we are speculating after all , it feels a little too grounded in reality at times such as quoting past Kennedy speeches once too often or relying upon what other President's would do in later years.

It leaves the book feeling more hollow than it should though that could also be down to the cool, academic tone the book takes as it's meant to be a non-fiction book rather than a novel. There are also avenues that Greenfield seems less than keen to explore. Take, as an example, his decision about who was behind the assassination leads to an effective negation of discussion about the forces starting to rally against Kennedy during his thirteen months in office. Or he chooses to cover JFK's personal life and how the press might have dealt with growing rumors about his many affairs inside the White House.

What if JFK had lived? Book reimagines a presidency, a war and the '60s

Both are touched upon in a handful of pages and set aside almost as quickly, forgotten about in effect. Compared with say Bryce Zabel's Surrounded By Enemies also written in a non-fiction style , it leaves this book feeling underwhelming. We can never know for certain what would have happened, of course.

If Kennedy Lived is an interesting take on the 'what if? It isn't a bad book by any means. Yet, for those seeking an answer to the question, there are better and more plausible books out there worth your time and money. Jul 25, Bob Ries rated it it was amazing. Jeff Greenfield has created a mesmerizing and compelling alternative history of one of the greatest watershed moments of the 20th century.

If Kennedy lived begins with a simple premise This book takes in to account all the aspects of what America was at that time and what it potentially could have become with Kennedy as president for two terms. This is in no way an homage to Kennedy. This book has created a plausible and believable alternate history for a Kennedy Jeff Greenfield has created a mesmerizing and compelling alternative history of one of the greatest watershed moments of the 20th century.

This book has created a plausible and believable alternate history for a Kennedy era in the White House.

Two JFK books to read: 'End of Days' and 'If Kennedy Lived'

It touches on Vietnam, the economy, race relations and more through the lens of a Kennedy presidency fulfilled. It shows Kennedy and his inner circle, how they battled outside forces, dealt with the war in Vietnam, worked to spin everything in their favor, dealt with political enemies, Kennedy's poor health and many other topical issues of the era.

This is a wonderful read. What if indeed! Robert Ries This one is so tough to rate because of it being alternative history.


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  7. Sure, Kennedy might have kept us out of Vietnam, but it also could have been even worse under him than it was. Even I am guilty of having this idealized version of the Kennedys, when in reality all those boys were pretty terrible people in their private lives.

    What if Robert Kennedy Lived?

    And why is that so hard for us to accept? Because the public bought the lie that the papers were peddling, and in this history, it is the papers that contribute to the t This one is so tough to rate because of it being alternative history. Because the public bought the lie that the papers were peddling, and in this history, it is the papers that contribute to the truth coming out at the end of Kennedy's second term. The truth of the matter is that no matter how many times it is debated, we will never know what Kennedy had been capable of.

    What if Kennedy Hadn't Been Assassinated?

    Still, books like this can give us a decent glimpse of what might have been. May 07, Paul Lunger rated it really liked it. It's also a bit interesting to see the election play out in this as well. Overall, a decent book in an alternate version of the s. This is purely a fictional piece and I think Jeff has written some points related to what JFK might have done or taken course if he would have been alive, which was unquestionably a great loss to world, the political scenario would have been different with JFK sueving the attack however the decisions post that and political scenario would have been entirely different and I doubt JFK would have taken such a conservative approach on Vietnam issue thoguh the reasoning drawn by Jeff is not that bad.

    However , I would give this book only 3 stars just because of narrative and language chosen.

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    However it could have made better relevance in terms of political drama by giving more thorough approach to way of working of JFK Nov 27, Karen rated it really liked it. Could this book be where that idea first came up?!?