- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Twelve; 1St Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1455522090
- ISBN-13: 978-1455522095
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dallas 1963 Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
After 50 years, it’s a challenge to fashion a new lens with which to view the tragic events of Nov. 22, 1963—yet Texans Minutaglio (City On Fire) and Davis (Texas Literary Outlaws) pull it off brilliantly. The assassination in Dealey Plaza marks the end of their thrilling story, which traces three years of increasing militant extremism in Dallas, beginning even before Kennedy’s election. While many are familiar with the assault on U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in the city a month before the murder of the president, the November 1960 mob that swarmed native son and then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife is even more disturbing. The environment of hate is chillingly evoked, centered on radical ex-general Edwin Walker and billionaire H.L. Hunt. The toxic atmosphere extended to Washington, where J.F.K.’s Medicare legislation was vehemently opposed by some. The venom makes the impending tragedy seem inevitable, and though others have made dramatic use of the prophetic statements from J.F.K. himself, Senator Hubert Humphrey, and others just before the shooting, few have employed them to better effect. —Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
"Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis's DALLAS 1963 is a brilliantly written, haunting eulogy to John F. Kennedy. By exposing the hatred aimed at our 35th president, the authors demonstrates that America--not just Lee Harvey Oswald--was ultimately responsible for his death. Every page is an eye opener. Highly recommended!"―Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of Cronkite
"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. 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.
Writing under the byline Jerry Richmond, I personally covered many of the incidents leading up to and following the president's assassination and ran with fellow reporters at the (now defunct) DALLAS TIMES HERALD who covered other assignments described in DALLAS 1963. The accuracy of the authors' extensive background research and their deft writing style would have made them great additions to our Times Herald team covering the months leading up to the tragedy, the assassinations of Kennedy and his killer Oswald, and the horrible months of trial and conspiracy that followed. Many of these stories of hate were not and could not be reported contemporaneously, and are revealed here for the first time. At the very least this book clearly explains why so many unresolved conspiracies sprouted and continue to blossom from the dark, bloody soil of Dallas in that era. This book had to be written, and thanks to Minutaglio and Davis, I and the few surviving journalists who were there for all of this story will not have to cover this ground in our own reportorial memoirs.
---Clint Richmond, author of FETCH THE DEVIL
I spent the better part of the 1980s traveling dozens of times to Dallas and it became one of my favorite cities; dynamic, prosperous, courteous, and proud of itself in a way I didn't find offensive. I was surprised when a business friend of mine there said he thought Dallas was just then coming out of its shame over the assassination; I didn't understand what he was saying.
But after reading Bill Minutaglio's story I now know what he was trying to explain. I remembered, of course, the story of the "Wanted for Treason" flyer, and the attack on Adlai Stevenson a few weeks before the assassination. But these were snippets of information that got lost to me in the overwhelming amount of news and emotion surrounding this event.
So Minutaglio puts these snippets into perspective as part of a seething hatred of the Kennedy's and a distain for the Federal government that were deeply embedded in much of the Dallas culture at the time. This included open hostility and disrespect from Ted Dealey, the owner of the "Dallas Morning News". It included virulent anti-Catholic rants from W.A. Creswell, Senior Pastor of Dallas's First Baptist Church, the largest all-white (this was 1963) Baptist church in the country. And it included H.L. Hunt, one of the wealthiest men in the world and an ultra-conservative bigot.
In a recent YouTube interview with Minutaglio, who is a Dallas native, he says he thinks things have changed and Dallas is a far different city today. My own assessment of Dallas in the 1980s was very positive, so I'm sure things have indeed changed.
But I confess at the same time to be taken aback when the Governor of Texas claims (in 2012) that Texas uniquely has the right to secede from the U.S. if it wants to; or to hear the junior senator from Texas wonder aloud if the nominee for Secretary of Defense (Chuck Hagel) might have received secret payments from the government of North Korea (2013); or to hear some of the utterly senseless, and often hateful, assertions from Texas's Representative from its 1st District, a guy named Louie Gohmert.
Sometimes it's easiest to just let these things slide and concede that politics is a rough business. But Minutaglio's riveting story behind the story of the Kennedy assassination reminds us that these irrational and unconstrained hatreds have consequences. I'm afraid Texas still has a ways to go.