- Series: Breakpoint (Book 1)
- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: Diversion Books (November 3, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1626818290
- ISBN-13: 978-1626818293
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 109 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,142,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Surrounded by Enemies: A Breakpoint Novel Paperback – November 3, 2015
"Ninth House" by Leigh Bardugo
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"I have some experience with shattered timelines and altered realities but this one kept me guessing every page.”―Damon Lindelof, writer/producer of LOST, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
“Plausible development, building from what we know about what really did go on, and a whacking good story…SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES delivers on both, big-time. So hold on to your hats, folks. You’re in for quite a ride.”―Harry Turtledove, alternative history author, HOW FEW REMAIN
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WINNER OF THE SIDEWISE AWARD FOR ALTERNATE HISTORY
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The premise is simple and the storyline entirely plausible. We've lionized JFK because his death cut short any real criticism or scrutiny of his administration. In this story, JFK lives and the resulting investigation plays out similar to the Watergate of our time, with similar results. The story is written as a retrospective from the magazine that first broke the inside story of the corruption in the administration, and that narrative style is flawless. There's even a clear parallel to the Frost/Nixon interview near the end of the book.
As a starting point, Zabel basically adopts EVERY JFK conspiracy theory-- grassy knoll, LBJ, Hoover, East German spies, etc. And it all comes out. Hoover's fight with the Kennedys spills out into the public. LBJ becomes a modern Aaron Burr, ending up in prison for his role in the conspiracy. For me, the most powerful scene is when Bobby Kennedy tells JFk that they don't have the votes in the senate to keep him from being impeached, when they've played every card and come up short.
The author ends with what is clearly wishful thinking on his part. JFK resigns and a Democratic Speaker of the House becomes President. JFK's resignation sets up a series of events where in 2000, Bill Clinton wins his second term against George W Bush, and then by 2016 JFK Jr is poised to become President.
But there are real and powerful parallels in this book that come through the story so smoothly because the writing is effective without being heavy handed. Weaponizing politics, the danger of using the power of the state for personal agendas, painting political opponents as existential threats to civilization itself, and the frightening frequency with which people seem willing to justify using the ammo box to do what they couldn't do with the ballot box-- all applicable today.
Whether you believe that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald alone, or that there were multiple shooters that day at Dealey Plaza, I think most will find this a well-crafted, fascinating What If? novel.
Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?
This one is different than all the others that I've read, in that it provides an alternate or parallel history on the events of 11/22/63 and beyond. The author does a fabulous job of intermixing both real and fictional events. The research behind this book is superb and the material is presented in such an expert manner that you'd be hard pressed to realize that you're reading a book of fiction.
The political climate of the sixties was fraught with tension. The Vietnam war was escalating, civil rights were in jeopardy and the world was in chaos. What would have happened to change the course of history had JFK lived? While no one knows the answer to this question, the author certainly spent a lot of time thinking about what might have been.
Kennedy had a lot of enemies and based on what we know now, was certainly not a faithful husband. This is mentioned throughout the book. Incorporating known facts, such as these with pure fiction makes for a very interesting read. The most amazing thing about this book is that it's very easy to find yourself forgetting what actually happened and replace those facts with the alternate history provided here.
Not only is it possible to imagine how things could have turned out differently, but the presentation in this book is so plausible as to make you feel as if they actually did. The author has created an all out believable portrayal of how the course of history would have changed had JFK lived. This is one of the best books that I've read about JFK and definitely the most unique. It's an important read for those who are interested in how different the world would be had JFK lived.