- Hardcover: 250 pages
- Publisher: Encounter Books; 1st Printing edition (May 21, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594031886
- ISBN-13: 978-1594031885
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism Hardcover – May 21, 2007
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It has now been more than forty years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas on November 22, 1963. No event in the post-war era, not even the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has cast such a long shadow over our national life. The murder of the handsome and vigorous president shocked the nation to its core, and shook the faith of many Americans in their institutions and way of life. The repercussions from that event continue to be felt down to the present day. Looking back, it is now clear that Kennedy’s death marked a historical crossroads after which point events began to move in surprising and destructive directions.
In Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism, James Piereson examines this seminal event from an entirely new and provocative point of view. Most books on the assassination take up the question as to who was really responsible for killing the President. Mr. Piereson takes it as established fact that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.
What needs to be explained, he argues, is the bizarre aftermath of the assassination: Why in the years after the assassination did the American Left become preoccupied with conspiratorial thinking? How and why was John F. Kennedy transformed in death into a liberal icon and a martyr for civil rights? In what way was the assassination linked to the collapse of mid-century liberalism, a doctrine which until 1963 was the reigning philosophy of the nation? In answering these questions, Piereson places great weight on the influence of Jacqueline Kennedy in shaping public memory of her husband and the meaning of his death. The Kennedy assassination, he argues, is a case study in public myth-making and the ways in which images and symbols can override fact and substance in political life.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since the days of opposing the Whigs, the Left has thought itself superior because it was calm and rational. It was not irrational and given to conspiracies. Whereas those on the right pointed to outside enemies, like Communism as America's greatest threat; the Left pointed to the crazies on the Ameircan right, like Joseph McCarthy, as the greatest danger facing the country. Then came the assassination of JFK. His supporters just knew he was a martyr for some important cause, like civil rights. But, his killer turned out to be a lone pitiful little Communist. The Left ignored the facts and Oswald to begin blaming the Right and the country. A culture of violence spawned by the philosophy of the Right had to be the cause for JFK's death. Anything else meant that the Left had been wrong the whole time and the Right was correct. It was just too much to believe that a Communist, someone from the philosophy of the Left was Kennedy's killer. The result was that within hours the Left became what it had always believed the Right alone to be: irrational people who ignored the facts and believed myths and conspiracies. The situation grew even more pronounced with the rise of the radicalism that protested against the Viet Nam War.
One flaw is that after the fall of Communism in the Eastern Bloc, Colonel Stanislav Lunev wrote a book about how the USSR had fomented much of the radical protest against the Viet Nam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this book makes no mention of the Russian role in American protests it hoped would destabilize American society,
It is an interesting book to read, especially for anyone who experienced the 1960s and remembers the Kennedy Assassination.
A Catholic commuter kid from Queens, I loved Kennedy.
I think the author correctly characterizes Kennedy as. Pragmatic politician, one who was decidedly anti communist, but " not afraid to negotiate." He was a casualty of the Cold War killed by a communist. The John Birchers of the left made "all of us" responsible for his death.
I remember an interview in which Kennedy said he was "an idealist without illusions" and one where he sought to advance the notion that his family was not merely nouveaux riches but instilled with a bit of noblesse oblige which is Gaelic for public service is an honorable calling.
Liberals and the Kennedy family, the author suggests, did not like the Cold War narrative and so they dressed him anew as a latter day Lincoln.
The Cold War really was a "long twilight struggle." Kennedy was killed at midday but in another sense it really was dusk.
The wholesale repudiation of America by the youth of the 1960s and the ongoing efforts of today's Progressives to subordinate the United States to the United Nations and reduce it to the economic malaise and atheist cultural rot of Europe are a direct consequence of the refusal by the Ruling Class to admit that Marxism, not American defects, killed Kennedy.
Mr. Piereson does an admirable job of explaining the facts and their disastrous effects on contemporary America. Although he doesn't try, he explains how we could have been so foolish as to elect and then reelect an anti-American atheist schooled in Marxism and hatred of freedom. If you've ever wondered how we got from James Madison to Barack Obama, this book explains the last few miles of that sad road.
Author, Piereson explains this anomaly very well. Once a myth is established by skillful lies, it becomes the truth through constant repetition. Lying again and again is the general practice of every democrat in the political arena. Reference: Obama's SOTU speech in late January 2014.