Truck Month Summer Reading Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Bob Dylan Father's Day Gift Guide 2016 Fire TV Stick Get Ready for Summer and Save 15% The Baby Store Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Cash Back Offer DrThorne DrThorne DrThorne  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis UniOrlando Outdoor Recreation

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

First, the disclaimer: although I am a conservative, I like and admire much of what JFK did as president, and I admire the man. Few readers will begin reading this book without a pre-existing opinion of Kennedy. That is/was mine.

Hersh does a workmanlike job illustrating the apparently undeniable fact that Kennedy had medical problems, integrity issues, and personal problems that the country would probably not tolerate in a president today. This book appears to be well-researched and well-documented. It does not present a flattering portrayal of Kennedy and it does not intend to.

First, the infidelity. Hersh goes into depressing detail as to his theme that JFK's marriage was a sham. According to Hersh, JFK never missed an opportunity to philander whenever Jackie Kennedy was away, and sometimes when she wasn't away. Much of JFK's inner circle conspired with him in this regards (according to Hersh) to a degree that is hard to imagine. Hersh speculates that part of Kennedy's abnormal libedo was induced by various drugs he took for his Addison's condition. Hersh develops this theme further in his discussion of the Cuban Missile Crisis and speculates that the cocktail of steroids and other drugs that Kennedy evidently needed to get through the day affected his judgment and his willingness to take risks. This in turn may have caused him to be more prone to the kind of brinksmanship that Hersh claims characterized Kennedy's handling of the Missile Crisis.

Personally I'm not so sure. Despite the fact that the US had an overwhelming nuclear and overall military superiority over Soviets in 1962, Kennedy did not bomb the missiles out but instead negotiated. Here I felt Hersh was unfair to Kennedy. The record seems clear that Kennedy was acutely aware that the world was on the brink of a nuclear confrontation and he was determined to avoid a holocaust while forcing the removal of the missiles. These things he did, to his very great credit. Compare Kennedy's competence with the kind of feckless European diplomacy that led the world into two World Wars. Americans can be proud of Kennedy's handling of this crisis and I disagree with Hersh in this context.

On the other hand, it seems clear that Kennedy's marriage was a sham and his image of youthful vigor was even more of a sham. Hersh is convincing that Kennedy could not get through the day without a battery of probably illegal and unhealthy drugs. Kennedy was suffering from Addison's disease, which is a very serious condition, and the man had many other health issues, including the famous back problem, which put him in constant pain.

Personally I found this book convincing as regards the infidelity, drug, and health claims that it made about Kennedy. Hersh is on thinner ice when he theorizes that these issues caused Kennedy to endanger the country. While this book or one like it is probably needed to balance the fluff pieces about Kennedy (and all the Kennedys) that abound, it is not itself a balanced analysis of JFK. To its credit, the book more or less admits this, in its title if nowhere else.
33 comments|149 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 7, 2001
Basically, how you rate "The Dark Side of Camelot" all comes down to how you feel about the Kennedys, as the previous reviews of this book have clearly demonstrated. If you admire the Kennedys, then this book is "trash" and Hersh's claims about John F. Kennedy's Presidency are "wildly exaggerated" or "just not true". But if you don't like the Kennedys, then Hersh's claims are "without doubt" and "undeniably the truth."

Books about John F. Kennedy usually fall into one of these two groups - the scholarly, mostly admiring "serious" books which concentrate on the issues Kennedy dealt with as President and look only briefly at his many personal flaws; and the so-called "sensational" books which focus primarily on JFK's wild private life and only briefly examine the major historical events of his term of office (the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, etc.). I tend to look at Hersh's book somewhat differently - I think that many of Hersh's allegations are indeed true, and there's little doubt (as many other books and sources have confirmed Hersh's allegations), that JFK was anything but a saint in his private life. However, I'm still not convinced that his private behavior had much effect on his judgments and decisions in the great historical moments of his Presidency. For example, does anyone (except his strongest critics) believe that Kennedy seriously sought advice from one of his many mistresses during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, or consulted with them about how to deal with the civil rights movement in the South? The clear impression one gets from this book is that JFK saw his mistresses as a way to have fun and relax, and that he kept them separate from the serious, policy-making side of his job. Of course, that doesn't make what he did morally correct or in any way admirable, but given the many policy failures of other presidents with (presumably) better private behavior, it does tend to indicate that being a saint isn't exactly a requirement to be an effective president (Bill Clinton also comes to mind in this regard).

Most of Hersh's claims have been made elsewhere, although he does come up with new testimony from ex-Secret Service agents, aides, and others to buttress his arguments. Specifically, the major charges are: 1) That Kennedy, with the help of his sinister, enormously wealthy father, "bought" the presidency in 1960. Hersh traces the influence of Kennedy's father from the West Virginia presidential primary, where he charges that the Kennedys bribed county sheriffs and other local officials to give JFK the vote over his rival, liberal Senator Hubert Humphrey, a man of modest means who couldn't compete with the Kennedy's under-the-table payments. Next, Hersh alleges that the Kennedys used all of their influence to pressure Democratic delegates to support JFK at the 1960 Democratic Convention. And, finally, Hersh argues that the Kennedys stole the 1960 presidential election itself by stealing enough votes in states like Illinois and Texas to defeat JFK's great rival, Richard Nixon. There was some evidence of major vote-stealing in Illinois (Nixon carried 92 of 101 counties in Illinois but still lost the state by less than 9,000 votes, mainly because of a huge Kennedy vote in Chicago). President Eisenhower encouraged Nixon to contest the results there, but Nixon, in a graceful move, refused to. Hersh implies that the mafia in Chicago, specifically mob boss Sam Giancana, stole the votes necessary for JFK to win in Chicago, and that Kennedy and Giancana privately communicated through a woman they shared sexually, Judith Campbell-Exner. Exner's story has been repeated in other books, and there is little doubt that she and Kennedy had a relationship. However, Illinois alone wouldn't have changed the outcome of the election, and Nixon would still have needed to win another big state to change the result. His best bet may have been in Texas, another state that JFK won by a close margin and where there were also claims of vote fraud (courtesy of Lyndon Johnson, JFK's running mate). However, the Texas angle has never been investigated as thoroughly as the Illinois vote, and we may never truly know who should have won the 1960 presidential election - we can only speculate.

For his second charge, Hersh provides plenty of eyewitness testimony that President Kennedy had a seemingly endless number of mistresses, extramarital affairs, and one-night stands, thus leaving himself open to blackmail from foreign governments or hostile internal forces (such as the mafia). Again, there's considerable evidence from other books that Kennedy did fool around - two of his secretaries were nicknamed "Fiddle" and "Faddle" and often took nude swims with him in the White House pool. Again, the real charge is whether or not these women compromised JFK's ability to do his job, and that's harder to prove. That Kennedy treated most of these women like live sex toys is undeniable - he didn't seem to take most of them seriously (nor, according to author Gore Vidal, a relative of Jackie Kennedy, did his wife. According to Vidal, Jacqueline Kennedy often used the word "it" , not "she" or "her", when referring to her husband's many mistresses). Kennedy also supposedly had a fling with a woman who was later suspected of being a spy for the Communist East German government, and who was quickly deported when Bobby Kennedy learned of the suspicions about her. These are serious charges, and Kennedy does seem to have been guilty of, at least, extremely poor judgment.

And, finally, Hersh charges that Kennedy systematically used the power of the Presidency to cover up his shenanigans, thus breaking the law repeatedly and committing criminal acts. If true, this would place Kennedy in the Nixon range of Watergate-type scandals, which means that he should have been impeached. Again, there is little doubt that Kennedy used the Secret Service and other federal agencies to hide his behavior from outsiders, and his brother did use his power as Attorney General to silence embarrassing stories and try to dig up dirt on potential enemies (such as Nixon, the Kennedys had the IRS audit his taxes several times from 1961-1963, with no result). Of course, MANY politicians have done the same, and while it may not be morally right, the Kennedys were neither the first nor the last politicians to do so. Whether this makes them especially evil or sinister is dubious. In short, it is my belief that Hersh's claims, although largely true, still don't provide a clear link between JFK's private life and his public (political) life. Was Kennedy a terrible person? Hersh makes a strong case that the private Kennedy was often a sexually deviant, amoral man. But as for Kennedy the President (and they are different things), I don't believe he was a great President, but he also wasn't the awful leader that Hersh and some others make him out to be. Today many historians rate JFK as about average - in the middle of the pack. And that's about where I would place him, too. And that's also why I'm giving "The Dark Side of Camelot" three stars - Hersh's research and allegations are worth reading, but whether there's a link between what Hersh describes and Kennedy's political behavior and decision-making remains to be seen.
1313 comments|85 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 28, 2006
"This warts-and-more-warts bio is so determined to kill off the Kennedy mystique it should be subtitled The Second JFK Assassination.... Hersh packs so much sleaze and scandal between the covers, he makes Kitty Kelley look like a pussycat." (Editorial Review from Entertainment Weekly, a respected journal of political & historical analysis.)

The Kennedys were entertainment, daily, for a nation becoming addicted to the drug of television. Jack, Jackie, Bobby, Teddy, and even strange Robert McNamara were stars, mainlining glitz to the masses in a perpetual party where the best & brightest women, wearing Casini gowns, pushed each other into Georgetown swimming pools and where their men fiddled with Faddle in John Kennedy's hide-away pool at the White House.

Seymour Hersh, respected and sometimes venerated for his expose' journalism about My Lai, Cointelpro, and Abu Ghraib, was reviled by the eastern liberal priesthood for exposing in this book a naked liberal icon. Spit and vituperation flew about Hersh's sloppiness, his near miss in almost going to print with some bad intel about Marilyn Monroe. That single slip-up became the firestorm focus of a mainstream media seduced by John Kennedy in 1960 and 1961 (JFK said in January '61 that it was our "moment of maximum danger" ... and indeed it was; we had entrusted the free world to an amphetamine kid and to the kid's kid brother) and that's seduced by him now.

Historian Michael Beschloss said that while the public is still enamored of the Kennedy phantom, most historians now know better. But historical honesty and accuracy are hampered by the priesthood I mentioned. 42 years after Dallas, the Kennedys and their protectors -- who bought absolution for Teddy at Chappaquiddick -- are still buying cover for the darkest corners of Camelot. There's a priesthood or palace guard blocking access to information, and it's reminiscent of Florence Harding, widow of another randy president, burning his papers before historians could see them.

(Anyone disputing my assertion about media seduction should review the media's failure to question or challenge Kennedy's failure at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. For a fumigation of smelly liberal pieties about the Missile Crisis of 1962, read liberal Eric Alterman's excellent discussion in When Presidents Lie. For perceptive analyses of assassination plots against Castro, go to Gus Russo and Ronald Steele. I'm astonished, though, that even now there is more concern about inept attempts to kill a tyrant than about the assassination in 1962 of America's ally Ngo Dinh Diem. That assassination, which locked us into a decade of no-win war, must have been approved by Kennedy or by someone close to him.)
1010 comments|76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 23, 2013
First I must admit I was taken in by the legend of JFK, a legend pushed by the US media and the world who adored the man. So much so that one would think that he was some kind of charming superman who would save the world, who's great promise was destroyed when he was terribly gunned down.

Yes I watched Oliver Stone's film.

A man who represented the best of humanity, a man who inspired hope and justice. A man of the highest ethics and morality, a committed and cultured loving family man, Camelot come true.

This book explodes this myth, while JFK was man of undeniable talent (charm, eloquence of speech) he was also very much a fraud and dare I say it to Kennedy's lovers disgust,...a sleaze.

This book comprehensibly demonstrates aided by extensive research the fact that the Camelot legend is just that, a LEGEND. It also demonstrates what a bunch of sycophants the media were and to a lesser extend the Secret Service and the white House administrative staff. How they covered up and hid his deviant behavior, protecting a false legend.

Their excuse: "his private life is none of our business".

But have they heard of black-mail, national security etc? This individual not only turned the White house into a brothel, but also his leadership could have easily been compromised and manipulated, representing a danger to the proper functioning of the state and it's integrity.

After reading this, one must ask the question can you really trust the US media?, has it changed since then to provide a honest, fair assessment and coverage?, which are essential for healthy democratic state. I wonder?

Here is my REVISED assessment of JFK:

He was the only PT commander to lose his boat through collision, how this happened has never really be adequately explained as far as I am concerned. Perhaps he was asleep at the wheel, perhaps not, but for a high speed motor torpedo boat to sink this way, with it's great agility and small size, does raise an eyebrow.

True, he was very brave after this, but this circumstance dulls that achievement. It has been said by some veterans of his unit that he was a poor PT boat commander, whether these individuals are prejudiced I don't know, however he did lose his boat in a very unusual manner and that is fact. Maybe his rich father used some influence to cover such an investigation up, the same influence that got him a combat position in the first place despite his bad back, amongst a lot of other things.

Many historians today consider JKF the be one of the most overrated, from the internet:

"U.S. Historians Elect Jfk As `Most Overrated Public Figure`
June 30, 1988|By James Warren.

Kennedy is easily the choice as most ignominious, with eight votes, topping President Reagan, who was second, and former Presidents Harry Truman and Woodrow Wilson, who tied for third.

An unkindly Kennedy consensus includes this analysis by Robert Nisbet, a professor at Columbia University:

``In his experiences with the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and the deposing of Diem, the confrontation with Khrushchev, and the response to the steel companies` price increase, he demonstrated an immaturity that would doubtless have become more and more glaring in the public eye had he lived.``"

Another source:

"In retrospect, he spent his 35 months in the White House stumbling from crisis to fiasco. He came into office and okayed the Bay of Pigs invasion. Then he went to a Vienna summit conference and got his clock cleaned by Khrushchev. That led to, among other things, the Cuban missile crisis and a whiff of nuclear apocalypse. "

It was Kennedy who increased America's commitment in Vietnam from a couple of hundred advisers to 16,000. The commitment was then so great that for national prestige factors and the nature of cold war politics of the early 60's, it would have prevented withdrawal and led to an inevitable gradual escalation, for if Kennedy wanted his brothers elected he would have no choice but remain firm.

Before Kennedy the US could have extracted itself out of Vietnam without losing face, after Kennedy that was not possible.

This book demonstrates that the "Cuban missile crisis", often espoused as Kennedy's moment of glory that makes him a great president, was instead a piece of reckless hypocritical stupidity.

The fact was that Kennedy placed in 1961 near Izmir in Turkey, 15 medium-range missiles PGM-19 "Jupiter" with a radius of 2 400 km, which directly threatened the European part of the Soviet Union, reaching as far as Moscow. This was equivalent to the Cuban threat posed by the USSR missiles. It also true that the placement of these limited number of missiles in Cuba would not alter the nuclear balance as shown by the following details:

"By 1960 the U.S. had a significant advantage in strategic nuclear forces. For comparison: the Americans were armed with approximately 6 000 warheads and the Soviet Union was only about 300. By 1962, the U.S. arsenal contained more than 1300 bombers capable of delivering on the territory of the USSR about 3 000 nuclear warheads. In addition, the U.S. arsenal there were 183 ICBM "Atlas" and "Titan" and 144 Polaris missiles on nine nuclear submarine George Washington "and" Ethan Allen ". The Soviet Union was able to deliver to the U.S. territory of about 300 warheads, mostly with the help of strategic aircraft and ICBM R-7 and F-16, had a low degree of readiness and the high cost of launch complexes, which do not permit large-scale deployment of these systems. "

and from another source:

"In 1962, the nuclear stockpile of the United States, consisting of more than 3,500 warheads, was six times that of the Soviet Union. The most powerful weapons -- Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) -- had ranges greater than 8,600 miles and were capable of hitting targets almost anywhere within the Soviet Union from American soil. The United States had 203 missiles of this type, with a combined nuclear yield greater than 635 megatons, the equivalent of 635,000,000 tons of TNT.

The Soviet Union had only 36 missiles capable of covering a similar distance, with a combined yield in the range of 108-204 megatons"

So it can been seen, even with missiles in Cuba, America had a decisive and dangerous edge. Additionally the removal of missiles would not prevent Soviet Submarines then and later from launching near the US coast. It also shows that Kennedy's "missile gap" argument was rubbish. In fact it was Kennedy's excessive arms built up that lead to a massive arms race. Since the Russians naturally felt threatened.

Yet Kennedy was willing to push the world to the brink of destruction because of Ego and prestige factors. Ridiculous and terrible.

His weakness at the Vienna summit and at the Bay of Pigs, encouraged Khrushchev to have the confidence to built the Berlin Wall. The Cuban missile crisis was IN PART a belated attempt to regain STATUS as a strong leader. But a belated and stupid attempt that almost lead to a world calamity. A war if it had occurred would have destroyed civilization as we known it. What folly.

He came late to Civic Rights, and only when forced to by circumstance. It was Johnson who was the hero here. He sanctioned and approved the killing of heads of state, in Vietnam and Cuba, hardly high ethics.

In the end , Kennedy was a hype job, remember this:

" Bentsen: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy"

Neither would one want to be after reading this book, in the end a sleaze, who was a reckless leader.
22 comments|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 17, 2006
This book is based largely on recently released documents, accessed via the Freedom of Information Act, and on the recollections of many of those who heretofore helped safeguard the myth of "Camelot." To say that it tells an interesting story would be a monumental understatement, for the book tells a long suppressed story of corruption, arrogance, abuse of power, and immorality at the highest levels of government. And it is so well researched and so meticulously and methodically documented that there can be little doubt that this is, in fact, the nearest we will ever come to the true tale of Camelot.

In his day, John F. Kennedy was seen by many as a prince charming who lived with his beautiful loving wife and children in a idyllic sort of "Camelot;" a man who could and would do no wrong. But nothing could be farther from the truth. As the reader will discover, Camelot was built on mountain money, false publicity, lies, corruption, and deceit and was maintained by secrecy and an all pervasive silence which persisted in various degrees for almost forty years.

Without reciting the entire book, here are a few of the many revelations brought forth in these pages: John F. Kennedy suffered from venereal disease (non-gonorrheal urethritis) for most of his adult life and could never be cured because of his incessant sexual excesses. There is strong evidence that Kennedy was married in 1947 to a socialite in Palm Beach and that there was no subsequent divorce, casting doubt on the legitimacy of his later marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier. Jacqueline Kennedy was presumably paid by JFK's father to stand by him if he was elected president, but she planned to divorce him if he lost the 1960 election. Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, spent millions of dollars in publicity over a period of years to promote his son's political career, and later spent even more in bribes in Illinois, West Virginia, and other states, mostly through his criminal contacts, in order to ensure his son's election to the presidency. Following JFK's election, his father insisted that he appoint his brother, Robert, Attorney General ostensibly to stymie any possible investigation of the stolen election. While in office, JFK continued his sexual excesses with loose women, including high-priced prostitutes. Kennedy personally cancelled the second bombing mission during the "Bay of Pigs," resulting in the failure of the invasion. JFK carried on an illicit affair with a woman named Judith Campbell and used her to funnel money and messages to crime boss Sam Giancana in an effort to arrange the assassination of Fidel Castro. There is some indication that JFK may have been blackmailed while he was in the White House so as to influence the awarding of some government contracts. Kennedy didn't force Nikita Khrushchev to back down in the Cuban Missile Crisis as Americans were led to believe. Instead, he secretly agreed never to invade Cuba and to remove NATO's Jupiter missiles from Turkey if the Soviet missiles would be removed from Cuba. Eventually Kennedy got Judith Campbell pregnant, whereupon he suggested that perhaps Sam Giancana could help her get an abortion. And, shortly before his assassination, Kennedy had an affair with a woman named Ellen Rometsch who was thought, by the FBI, to be a possible East German spy. Rometsch was abruptly deported back to Germany, where she was paid handsomely by the Kennedys to keep quiet. She was never granted another visa to return to the United States, where she might be called to testify.

After reading this book, one will likely conclude that JFK wasn't a master statesman or one of America's great presidents, but that he may very well have been its worst. Nevertheless, if Judith Campbell was correct in her observation that it is often impossible to tell the good men from the bad and that some [men] are deadly serious about the games they play, then the Kennedy brothers and their father must certainly be considered masters of the political game. This is a great read - go for it.
0Comment|31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 23, 2003
. . . I felt just plain dirty.
The title gives you an obvious clue that this isn't going to be your average work about Kennedy. And, it's not. If you're looking for a book that portrays Kennedy and his supporting cast in the worst possible light in every case, then I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. If you "never liked the Kennedys" and believe "they always got away with everything," then, again, this is the book for you.
Mr. Hersh has run into problems in the past with people questioning his sources and "facts." It seems that his sourcing is good here (and, in fact, this book is even cited in Robert Dallek's JFK work, "An Unfinished Life.")
My problem with the book was more one of perspective. Every story, every anecdote, every whispered secret is clearly told to impart the most sinister and devious motives to Kennedy and his clan. Where there are conceivably other interpretations (even when they are well-known), they are not mentioned.
The bottom-line is that this book is a hatchet job. I don't know whether most of it is true or not. My guess is that much of it is. I know that I couldn't put the book down once I started it - though not from a sense of satisfaction in what I was reading, but more because, as I turned each page, there was a sense of wonderment as to how the next page could be more outrageous than the one I just read.
If you're a Kennedy basher, you'll love it. If you're a Kennedy can do no wrong type, you'll hate it. If you're like me, and somewhere in the middle, you'll learn a few things you probably didn't know before, but you'll find the experience a lot like taking castor oil.
11 comment|37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 9, 2002
You won't get the whole "Camelot" picture with this book but you may not get the whole "Camelot" picture without it.
Hersch does a good job of incorporating most of his sources in the text so readers can judge their credibility as they read along--and as they see fit. The bibliography is also written in an easily decipherable way. It's a testament to the strength of an open society that can allow a reporter such as Hersch to spend 5 years probing through such highly sensitive sources of information as the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, organized crime and private bedrooms and will allow it citizens to learn from it.
As for believability, what is more gullible, believing the hidden dark side that Hersch paints in this book or the star-struck "Camelot" image? The truth obviously has elements of both and this book simply helps balance the scale. It is assumed that the reader is already familiar with the generally accepted charismatic image of JFK.
The value of this book is in understanding the potential disparity that can exist between image and reality for our public figures. But, believe it or not, you can also gain a deeper and more critical appreciation of JFK here by looking beyond the highly choreographed PR image to understand the total human being.
I don't recommend this as an "introduction" if you don't either remember or know the basics about this subject. But if you do, even if you think you've heard it all, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and your eyeballs on the edge of their sockets-a fascinating, informative read.
22 comments|23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 30, 2012
Dark Side of Camelot, penned by the brilliant Seymour Hersh, doesn't disappoint. We've been hearing for years now of JFK's personal behavior and this book confirms it once again. In addition, and more importantly, it shows how that behavior may have endangered the country. Hersh states up front that the book is neither about Kennedy's great successes nor about the assassination mysteries. True.
I didn't give the book all stars because I would have appreciated more legitimate source "proofs". Otherwise it's excellent.
Sad that the so-called great successes of JFK are never written about. At this point I don't even know what they were. But the speech he made in Paris referencing his wife and the one made in Berlin are priceless. Check out youtube.
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon May 29, 2002
This is another tale of our society's ability to become enraptured by someone with star quality and ignore the real picture despite overwhelming evidence. It is easy to see why America was enthralled with the Kennedys. After WWII and a general for President through the prosperous but boring 50's, Jack Kennedy and his beautiful classy wife burst upon the scene and heralded a new generation of leadership--a bit like Clinton did so many years later. But Kennedy's personal life was astoundingly out of kilter--his behavior makes the later antics of a Gary Hart or Bill Clinton look merely foolish. Kennedy ran security risks that are unimaginable, sleeping with a myriad of women unknown to the Secret Service, associating with organized crime figures, using drugs in ways dangerous to his health. On the political front, Hersh portrays Kennedy and his brother as obsessed with Cuba and Castro and constantly plotting to knock off the leaders of various other small nations. According to Hersh, corruption was rampant--cash was routinely paid out to buy votes or hush people up, and cash was routinely paid in for political favors in a way that would land someone in jail today for a very long time.
As you can tell, this is not a balanced study of the Kennedy administration, but rather the work of an excellent investigative reporter to put names, dates and facts to the rumors and stories that began to circulate in the years after Kennedy's death. How these things remained secret for so long amazes me--how the standards of the press have changed!--how the pendulum has swung in the other direction to an extreme! The view presented here is very bleak--if one takes this book as the whole story, one would believe that Kennedy was the most despicable sort of politician, with little regard for the law, no moral sense, and no interest in policy, especially domestic policy. Certainly this book is a legitimate contribution to the history of the era, but only one piece of the puzzle.
0Comment|40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 30, 2013
I'll have to say that so far into the book I'm not surprised at the conduct of President Kennedy.
Besides the position of president has to be a major power trip, being of the Kennedy family
would just propel that mindset into the stratosphere. I was in the US Navy, coming from a
good will cruise to South America and just had passed through the Panama Canal when
we got the news on the ship. Sullen and saddened was the mood but at the time I don't think
any American really had any idea who President Kennedy really was. We only got the spin and
it was really well done. The book sets all that into perspective and tells the truth about
"The Dark Side of Camelot". A good read and hard to put down but does'nt change my mind
or love for President Kennedy. The world is and always has been corrupt but a person like
Jack Kennedy comes around much too seldom. Who since can hold up to his personality. NONE!
Bottom line, buy the book. It's great info regardless of it's content.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse