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Dallas 1963 Hardcover – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; First Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455522090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455522095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After 50 years, it’s a challenge to fashion a new lens with which to view the tragic events of Nov. 22, 1963—yet Texans Minutaglio (City On Fire) and Davis (Texas Literary Outlaws) pull it off brilliantly. The assassination in Dealey Plaza marks the end of their thrilling story, which traces three years of increasing militant extremism in Dallas, beginning even before Kennedy’s election. While many are familiar with the assault on U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in the city a month before the murder of the president, the November 1960 mob that swarmed native son and then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife is even more disturbing. The environment of hate is chillingly evoked, centered on radical ex-general Edwin Walker and billionaire H.L. Hunt. The toxic atmosphere extended to Washington, where J.F.K.’s Medicare legislation was vehemently opposed by some. The venom makes the impending tragedy seem inevitable, and though others have made dramatic use of the prophetic statements from J.F.K. himself, Senator Hubert Humphrey, and others just before the shooting, few have employed them to better effect. —Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)

Review

"Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis's DALLAS 1963 is a brilliantly written, haunting eulogy to John F. Kennedy. By exposing the hatred aimed at our 35th president, the authors demonstrates that America--not just Lee Harvey Oswald--was ultimately responsible for his death. Every page is an eye opener. Highly recommended!"—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of Cronkite

"All the great personalities of Dallas during the assassination come alive in this superb rendering of a city on a roller coaster into disaster. History has been waiting fifty years for this book."—Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower and Going Clear

"Minutaglio and Davis capture in fascinating detail the creepiness that shamed Dallas in 1963."—Gary Cartwright, author and contributing editor at Texas Monthly

"In this harrowing, masterfully-paced depiction of a disaster waiting to happen, Minutaglio and Davis examine a prominent American city in its now-infamous moment of temporary insanity. Because those days of partisan derangement look all too familiar today, DALLAS 1963 isn't just a gripping narrative-it's also a somber cautionary tale."—Robert Draper, contributor, New York Times Magazine and author of Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives

"The authors skillfully marry a narrative of the lead-up to the fateful day with portrayals of the Dixiecrats, homophobes, John Birchers, hate-radio spielers, and the 'superpatriots' who were symptomatic of the paranoid tendency in American politics."—Harold Evans, author of The American Century

"After fifty years, it's a challenge to fashion a new lens with which to view the tragic events of November 22, 1963--yet Texans [Minutaglio and Davis] pull it off brilliantly."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Chilling... The authors make a compelling, tacit parallel to today's running threats by extremist groups."—Kirkus

"A thoughtful look at the political and social environment that existed in Dallas at the time of the president's election... a climate, the authors persuasively argue, of unprecedented turmoil and hatred."—Booklist

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Customer Reviews

This book reads like a page turner historical novel.
Gordon Smith
In some ways the book is simply a chronology of events in a place that continues to have a certain character.
James P. OFlaherty
If you’re still “into” the Kennedy assassination after 50 years, Dallas 1963 is a worth-it must read.
Ink & Penner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me begin my review by stressing "Dallas 1963" has nothing in it about "who shot Kennedy". No conspiracy theories in the book at all; it is totally about the mood and politics in the city of Dallas from 1959 to 1963. So readers looking for a "who shot JFK" book should look elsewhere. This is the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination and there are many books being published on "who".

Authors Bill Minutaglio and Steven L Davis have written a brilliant book about how the politics of extremism (mostly from the Right) found a home and flourished in the early 1960's Dallas. Men like General Edwin A Walker, Congressman Bruce Alger, WA Criswell, and HL Hunt - all well-known - teamed up with lesser-known men (and women) to bring the scare tactics of the Right Wing to full flower in Dallas. They were helped along by newspaper editor Ted Dealey (ironically, Kennedy was gunned down in Dealey Plaza) whose "Dallas Morning News" was often filled with vitriol towards Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others in public life who Dealey and his paper didn't "trust" to stay true to the United States Constitution and protect America from the Communist masses. The John Birch Society and Young Americans for Freedom were only two of the many groups active in the fertile ground of Dallas political paranoia.Of course, also in Dallas were elements of the Left.

The city had been the site of rabid demonstrations against Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson during the presidential campaign in 1960 when mink-wrapped women surrounded the two in a very ugly mob. Then a few months before Kennedy came to Texas in 1963, Adlai Stevenson had been spat upon and hit by a hand-held sign when he spoke about the United Nations.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Savannah A. on October 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's frightening what an unhinged place Dallas was at the time leading up to the JFK assassination. This book really gives the context of people, culture, racism, in a way that is lively and readable. If you want dry history, or some bizarre theory twist, don't get this book. If you want to be pulled into a gripping story that makes the people REAL and also makes you want to take a deep breath....
Highly recommended.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It was a game changer, a world changer. In November 1963, a man was killed. Any American adult alive on that day will remember where he or she was when the shocking news blasted through the thin media airwaves of those less complicated times: “A tragic thing has happened…in the city of Dallas.” President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

DALLAS 1963 by Bill Minutaglio (CITY ON FIRE, FIRST SON) and Steven L. Davis (TEXAS LITERARY OUTLAWS, J. FRANK DOBIE) examines the personality of the city of Dallas and the many cross-currents that defined it, looking at some famous or notorious citizens and their outspoken, often violent agendas. Kennedy campaigned there in 1960 and three years later returned to “the stronghold of Republicanism in Texas,” the home base of Rev. W. A. Criswell, a virulent racist who considered civil rights activists to be “a bunch of infidels”; where far-right billionaire H. L. Hunt openly espoused a utopian view that would deny voting rights to all but the wealthiest. There was Ted Dealey of The Dallas Morning News, who saw the nation slipping toward socialism, led by Kennedy and his ilk. The authors depict Dallas as a city “willed into existence by creative, nimble entrepreneurs,” a hotbed of the KKK, a city that kept its troubles bottled up, under control, until Kennedy came to visit. Then all hell broke loose.

The book begins in 1959, when “Nikita Khrushchev can’t get into Disneyland,” and the opposition to racial integration was seen as a last stand against an evil epidemic that included social ills from “Social Security to fluoridated water to membership in the United Nations.” Many in Dallas, like General Edwin Walker, believed that civil rights activists were the new enemy within.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Smith on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book reads like a page turner historical novel. But it is all history and no novel!

1963 is a bit before my time. I bought this book intrigued by the story of the mink coat rebellion that took place as JFK/Johnson campaigned in Dallas. But the parallels between this era and current era are uncanny. Today's big money is from the Koch brothers. Then, it was Hunt. Today, the Tea Party. Then, it was Birch Society. Today, Sarah Palin. Then, General Walker. Today, Fox News. Then, Dallas Morning News.

But the Republican hatred of liberal/socialist/communist (they are all the same right?) hasn't changed a bit. I guess I didn't appreciate that the Republicans hated President Kennedy then, as much as President Obama today. Fascinating story. Great structure and flow. Reads like a page turner historical novel. But it is all history and no novel!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Shopper on October 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fantastic book. I live in the Dallas area and plenty of this book's description of feelings and political views in this area still apply 50 years later.
Sad, but true.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. McGill on March 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
For all the hype over this book, it is a pretty shallow, one dimensional portrait of Dallas. I am not a fan of that city, but when I read serious books about it I expect a more systematic presentation of evidence followed by thoughtful hypotheses and conclusions. Instead, "Dallas 1963" presents a series of vignettes organized solely by time. Without question, it portrays some pretty extreme, scary people and makes the case that they both exemplified and helped cause the right wing paranoia that gripped the city in the early 1960s. But it by no means presents a full portrait of the community.

If Dallas was so universally and vehemently anti-JFK, then how come there was such a massive outpouring of support for him during his parade through the city preceding his assassination? Where did that support originate, and what encouraged it?

Any diligent researcher could paint a similarly negative portrait of any major American city using the approach that these authors take. There are unique aspects about how Dallas functioned in the post-WWII era that contributed greatly to its prosperity and problems. A good starting point for these factors is contained in "Dallas Public & Private" by Warren Leslie.
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