57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Excellent look at Dallas, 1963...,
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This review is from: Dallas 1963 (Hardcover)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. The Kennedy administration was fearful in the days preceding the President's trip to Texas.
But the perceived "Left" wasn't the only faction under fire. There was an assassination attempt against retired general Edwin Walker, who was active in anti-black, anti-Semitic, and anti-Communist groups in the Spring of 1963. The gunman was never caught... So there was plenty of hate in Dallas to welcome John Kennedy to Dallas when he visited in November, 1963. However, the warm welcome the Kennedys received on their arrival and in the streets the motorcade traveled belied the small-but-vocal hate expressed in the press and in political rallies.
Reading "Dallas 1963" is almost like looking at the political world today. Fear of the "alien" and "the other" has replaced the fear of world-wide domination by Communism. The color pink has been replaced by the color white-for-Muslim today but the scare tactics haven't changed and neither have the words on the placards and internet sites attesting to that hate in the world. I wish the world was not such a scary place to these people to inspire the hate they spread.
Minutaglio and Davis give a brilliant view of the politics and the players in Dallas and elsewhere in the early 1960's. The same players came together on one jarring day in November, 1963. This is one book out of many coming out his year that is truly worth reading.
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Showing 1-10 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 9, 2013 1:20:57 PM PDT
Jill I. Shtulman says:
Jill, you know I'm a Kennedy buff and so this book does seem tailor-made for me. You did an excellent job of extrapolating the key points of the book and letting me know what to expect from it.
Posted on Oct 9, 2013 1:24:32 PM PDT
Jill--Well, even though it is not a conspiracy book, what you said about the paranoia of pink (for the 60's and Communism) to white (for contemporary times and Muslims) is certainly something to learn from. Kennedy's death was blamed on a communist, Oswald. 9/11 was blamed on a group of Muslims.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2013 1:31:22 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 9, 2013 7:45:00 PM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2013 5:12:54 PM PDT
R. Fairbank says:
After hearing an interview with the author on NPR, I looked it up here and found 2 reviews. Your review was very well-considered and it squares well with what the author had to say. I notice that you have a whole slew of thoughtful reviews. I wish I could be as productive!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2013 5:49:04 PM PDT
Jill Meyer says:
Thanks, R, for the nice words! I don't review everything I read, though. I hope you enjoy the book and post your own review. I'd like to read it.
Posted on Oct 18, 2013 4:36:27 PM PDT
robert favata says:
Jill, your review is concise ,and to the point .This book examines another facet of the Kennedy era and extreme right wing politics Based on this review I will add it to "must read"this month
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2013 8:11:42 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 9, 2013 7:45:22 PM PST]
Posted on Oct 30, 2013 4:51:24 PM PDT
Robert P. Morrow says:
I bet the authors flat out ignore the fact that H.L. Hunt and other hard right Dallas billionaires were inner circle Lyndon Johnson supporters for decades. Draw your obvious conclusions.
That is why a book like this is so deceitful. Nasty, awful hard right running Dallas. Totally connected oil/military/CIA with LBJ. Oh and by the way a lone nutter with no motive came out of nowhere to murder JFK - such a surprise!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2013 6:21:42 PM PDT
Jill Meyer says:
Thanks for the note, Robert. The thing about this book is that it is NOT a book about who killed Kennedy. The book literally ends when Nellie Connolly turns to Kennedy and says something about how Dallas is welcoming the president and his wife.
Yes, he talks about all the players but lets the reader make up his/her own mind. That was the beauty of this book.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2013 7:18:11 PM PDT
Robert P. Morrow says:
Thanks for that clarification. So the authors do not attempt to push the "lone nutter" theory?
Because, in fact, the ultra right mentality of the business/political leaders of Dallas and their hatred of the Kennedys and their alliegiance with LBJ all played big roles in the JFK assassination.