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Dallas 1963 Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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"The Black Presidency"
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From Publishers Weekly
"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!
Sad, but true.
If you are too young to remember this horrible event, this book will take you there in vivid detail. I highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well, if Oswald DIDN'T shoot Kennedy, then why did he bring a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to work that day? Read morePublished 1 month ago by GH
The authors show that Dallas was a right wing bastion of Republicans and other right wing elements in the country. These elements even labeled President Eisenhower a communist. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kevin M Quigg
For the past thirty years I've read about everything I could get my hands on about the Kennedy Assassination. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sonny Boninsegna
Scary, sad and unfortunately not a lot has changed in this city.Published 4 months ago by Michael T.
Great read. Well done objective treatment of a most contentious period.Published 5 months ago by D. Nelson
And frightening, because I see the same stuff happening with the Tea Party today, especially in Texas. Why haven't we moved beyond hate?Published 5 months ago by D. Bryant