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Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas? [Kindle Edition]

Bryce Zabel , Harry Turtledove , Richard Dolan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $4.99
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Book Description

If President John Kennedy had survived the ambush at Dealey Plaza in Dallas a half-century ago, what other twists might history have taken? In his meticulously researched novel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?”, author Bryce Zabel delivers a supercharged but plausible alternative narrative of the turbulent 1960s after our charismatic president escapes unscathed on November 22, 1963.

Since the assassination, other writers have speculated about the important work for peace and equality that President Kennedy could have done had his life been spared. Instead, Zabel -- a Writers Guild award-winning Hollywood writer/producer -- boldly re-imagines a shocking post-1963 political scenario that is painfully disruptive to the nation, culminating in a Constitutional crisis and even calls for the president’s impeachment. Without resorting to sci-fi gimmicks, Zabel instead investigates and explores what we now know about the underbelly of JFK’s presidency to portray him returning to a very different Washington, D.C. where the stakes are high on so many fronts. After all, someone had just tried to execute him in broad daylight on a public street in front of a national television audience. The President and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, essentially become the first conspiracy theorists, determined to strike back at their formidable and determined enemies. This is not a time-travel story with a protagonist sent back to save JFK. It is not a rose-colored glasses look at an idealized “what if.” Instead we get a hard look at the dark secrets of the Kennedy administration -- and of those who have the motive and means to brutally remove him from office, including government insiders at the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and even suspects such as Vice President Lyndon Johnson.

The provocative and compelling narrative covers the period from Kennedy’s near-miss in Dallas through the subsequent political earthquake of 1964-1966. We witness the president interact with his family and close circle of famous friends and colleagues, with the colorful politicians and government leaders of that era, and with such Sixties icons as the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, boxer Cassius Clay and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Zabel’s novel is cleverly presented as a commemorative retrospective assembled by contemporaneous journalists on the staff of a fictitious newsmagazine, Top Story -- and incorporates into the narrative realistically designed faux-magazine covers depicting JFK with those luminaries he gets to meet only in Zabel’s parallel universe. "Surrounded by Enemies" literally breathes new life into the Kennedy years, and intimately portrays a decade even more surreal than the one found in conventional history books. "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?" is widely available as an eBook through all major sellers; as a trade paperback; and as an audiobook narrated by Edd Hall (The Tonight Show). It is the first in a series of alternate history novels under the alt.Worlds imprint from Stellar Productions.

Bryce Zabel is the creator of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning Dark Skies which dramatized the UFO cover-up through the perspective of the Kennedy years. He is the winner of the 2008 Writers Guild of America award for “Outstanding Original Longform” for his Hallmark miniseries Pandemic, and has writing credits on Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Blackbeard and The Poseidon Adventure. Zabel has created five primetime television series, including Fox’s M.A.N.T.I.S. and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. He served as the elected Chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and he has taught producing for the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His book, A.D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth about Alien Contact (Career Press, 2012), now in its fourth printing, was a Barnes & Noble “new and noteworthy” selection.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1332 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1626524319
  • Publisher: Publish Green (July 28, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00E881Z2M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,726 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Anyone who remembers that shocking day, 50 years this November, when President Kennedy was assassinated will be fascinated by this imaginative "alternate history" take on what might have happened if the bullets had missed and JFK had survived. Sure, we'd like to think that the Sixties would have been improved by the de-escalation of Vietnam, or the avoidance altogether of Watergate, not to mention the civil rights advances that JFK would have enacted. But in "Surrounded by Enemies," we are served a darker version of events, predicated on the notion that JFK and his attorney-general brother Bobby would have been obsessed with fighting back and seeking revenge against those who audaciously plotted to kill him, in broad daylight, on a public street, in front of a national TV audience.

For the past half century, books and films have debated whether JFK was the victim of a lone assassin or a far-reaching conspiracy. No matter what you believe, you will find novelist Bryce Zabel's perspective an intriguing fantasy of a Kennedy administration that never was but might have been. And it's not what you might expect, as the president's peccadilloes and darkest secrets, which have come to light over the past half-century, ultimately lead to his undoing.

You can tell that Zabel is an award-winning Hollywood producer and screenwriter, because, even with all the historical research he has put into creating this thriller, his novel's scenes have a cinematic flow and structure. These are not ossified wax-museum figures -- JFK and Jackie and Bobby, and all their family, friends, enemies, colleagues, and political associates literally come to life on these pages, with fast-paced action and dialog.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Work Of A Master Storyteller August 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Alternative history fascinates me, as it fascinates all novelists, because "What if" is the big thing.
(Kate Atkinson)

Yes, life is full of "What ifs." Some are of little consequence. Some are quite big. And some are very, very big - like the one posed by seasoned screenwriter and professional journalist Bryce Zabel in his latest book, "Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?"

This is heady stuff, indeed, and to be a successful writer of alternative history one must accomplish several things: Is the book Meticulously Researched? Is the storytelling Thought-Provoking? Plausible? Provocative? And a non-stop Page-Turner? The answer in this case is yes, yes, yes, yes and hell yes.

Zabel elects to cleverly present his vision by way of a commemorative retrospective by the journalists working on the staff of a fictitious newsmagazine. After all, it will be 50 years since the tragic events in Big D snuffed out the life of one of America's most beloved Presidents. Fifty years since the hopeful, optimistic days of Camelot. And five decades for the majority of Americans who still can't help but wonder what really transpired at Dealey Plaza and then, just a day or so later, at the Dallas Police Station.

Clearly President Kennedy had enemies, powerful enemies within the Secret Service, the FBI, the Pentagon, the Mob, the Federal Reserve, as well as Pro and Anti-Castro Factions, Texas Millionaires and, of course, the Vice President himself, Lyndon Baines Johnson. All had motive and means to remove JFK from office, whether it be, initially, by bullets, or, by resorting to exposing the scandalous, emotionally-charged dark secrets of the Kennedy administration to an unsuspecting and naive nation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entirely Believable! August 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I went into this book thinking it would be a novel but was pleased to find it read as an alternative non-fiction history book instead. This is not just a re-hash of current conspiracy theories. The author has presented an extremely viable course of action the politics of America might have taken if Kennedy survived the assassination. The book is thought provoking and logical in its development. I highly recommend this very readable account of what a split second's difference would have made in the history of our nation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a timely book with the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination just a few weeks away, but it should have lasting appeal. The question of how the United States, and the world, would have changed had the thirty-fifth president not been murdered will haunt our collective consciousness forever. Numerous books have tackled this question in one form or another. Bryce Zabel has taken an original and logical approach to providing an answer. Zabel is a veteran journalist-turned screenwriter, and this book reflects his skills in presenting a taut, fast-paced, well-told story.

(WARNING: Partial spoilers ahead.) Most writers who tackle the question "What if Kennedy lived?" are focused on whether he would have continued or curtailed our involvement in the Vietnam War, whether he would have won a 1964 landslide similar to Lyndon Johnson's and what his second term domestic policies would have looked like. Yet they fail to address the fact that the majority of Americans believe that JFK was not the victim of a lone gunman; this is the true "elephant in the room" for every storyteller presenting a world in which JFK survives Dallas. They also fail to acknowledge that the half-century since the assassination has seen revelations about the president's personal life that could have been very destructive to his career had that information been exposed while he was still alive.

Bryce Zabel presents a world where the bullets fired in Dealey Plaza failed to find their mark, so those who were determined to remove Kennedy from power had to find a different way to accomplish their goal. Do they succeed? Read the book to find out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly Believable!
Well written, very believable and brilliantly researched.
Published 2 months ago by Pamela Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Don't Know Who Did It
Great books the what if's were great. The survival of Kennedy, Hoovers role the way everything just blends into the known history, But we still do not know who did it
Published 3 months ago by Jack O'Neal
2.0 out of 5 stars ok
Don't agree with most of reviews. The book was not a novel -- felt disjointed to me. Very cardboard characters. Zabel is a good writer but the book just did not resonate with me.
Published 4 months ago by ADE/29
4.0 out of 5 stars What If?
I am sure at one point or another we all have wounder what would have happened if JFK had survived the assassination attempt in Dallas. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hpfan28
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read.
Interesting take on the assassination and its aftermath. Very exciting read.
Published 5 months ago by Erwin Seba
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed read
Plausible concept as alternative history if JFK had not been shot. Never got in depth, however, about his sex addiction, Vietnam war, and what motivates him on differing attitudes... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Charles R. Daley
1.0 out of 5 stars Blinded by Cartoon View of Kennedy
Interesting concept but poorly done. Zabel is cartoonish in his portrayal of Kennedy and what he might have done (ending the war in Vietnam right after he had the Diem brothers... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tony
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtfully Excellent! A Page-Turner.
Not to pick any fights here, but if you have the choice between reading Surrounded by Enemies or Stephen King's 11/22/63, I'd urge you to read Bryce Zabel's imaginative and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by RA Meeks
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Alternative History of the Kennedys: Assuming JFK...
I was excited by the premise in the title "What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?" The first half of the book was interesting. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Scott Parsons
4.0 out of 5 stars the world have been a better or worse place
What do you think would have happened to the world had JFK survived Dallas, Texas? Would the USA, the world have been a better or worse place? Read more
Published 6 months ago by Teritree001971
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More About the Author

Screenwriter Bryce Zabel has created five primetime network television series, including NBC's Emmy-winning "Dark Skies" which dramatized the UFO cover-up from the POV of the Kennedy years. He has written for a dozen other popular TV shows, and written and produced feature and television projects for many of Hollywood's networks and studios. He's collaborated with such top creative talents as Steven Spielberg and Stan Lee.

A former CNN correspondent, Bryce received the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award in 2008 for writing his third four-hour Hallmark mini-series, "Pandemic," and has written and produced films and mini-series that include "Atlantis: The Lost Empire," "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," "Blackbeard" and "The Poseidon Adventure." He wrote SyFy's first original film, "Official Denial" that is now being developed for a feature re-boot. His end-of-World War II true story, "The Last Battle," is in development with Stellar Productions.

In television, Bryce also created or developed such series as "Kay O'Brien" (CBS), "M.A.N.T.I.S." (FOX), "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven" (SYN) and "E.N.G." (CTV). He has worked on such series as "Steven Spielberg's Taken," "L.A. Law," "Life Goes On," and "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." After 9/11, Bryce served as the elected chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the first writer in that position since Rod Serling. His Hollywood career has spanned ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Syfy, Sony, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, Hallmark, USA, and Animal Planet.

His journalism and screenwriting work has been nominated for awards from the Environmental Media Association and Mystery Writers of America, and for Golden Mike, Gemini and Emmy awards. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). His debut book, "A.D. After Disclosure" (Career Press, 2012), now in its fourth printing, was a Barnes & Noble "New & Noteworthy" selection.

Bryce lives in Los Angeles with his wife and writing/producing partner, Jackie Zabel.

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