Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House Hardcover – Illustrated, October 8, 2013
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“Dallek is an assiduous digger into archives. . . . The story of how a glamorous but green young president struggled with conflicting and often bad advice while trying to avoid nuclear Armageddon remains a gripping and cautionary tale of the loneliness of command.” -- Evan Thomas, The Washington Post
“Think The Best and the Brightest meets Team of Rivals. . . . Dallek is one of the deans of presidential scholarship.” -- Beverly Gage, The Nation
“Dallek brings us closer to the complexity and the humanity of Kennedy’s geopolitics, and helps us grasp the uncertainties he and his men faced in an abbreviated presidency.” -- USA Today
From the Back Cover
A Globe & Mail 100 Selection
In his acclaimed biography of JFK, Robert Dallek revealed Kennedy, the man and the leader, as never before. In Camelot's Court, he takes an insider's look at the brain trust whose contributions to the successes and failures of Kennedy's administration were indelible.
Kennedy purposefully assembled a dynamic team of advisers noted for their brilliance and acumen, among them Attorney General Robert Kennedy, his "adviser-in-chief"; Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Secretary of State Dean Rusk; National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy; and trusted aides Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger. Yet the very traits these men shared also created sharp divisions. Far from unified, JFK's administration was an uneasy band of rivals whose personal ambitions and clashing beliefs ignited fiery debates behind closed doors.
With skill and balance, Dallek details the contentious and critical issues of Kennedy's years in office, including the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, civil rights, and Vietnam. He illuminates a president who believed deeply in surrounding himself with the best and the brightest, yet who often found himself disappointed in their recommendations. The result is a striking portrait of a leader whose wise resistance to pressure and adherence to personal principles, particularly in matters of foreign affairs, offer a cautionary tale for our own time.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Camelot's Court is an intimate tour of a tumultuous White House and a new portrait of the men whose powerful influence shaped the Kennedy legacy.
- Publisher : Harper; Illustrated edition (October 8, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006206584X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062065841
- Item Weight : 1.64 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.29 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #334,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Two lessons remain powerfully printed on my brain. First, how difficult it is for any president to develop a consensus among his advisors and create a working solution that WILL ACTUALLY BE IMPLEMENTED. The prime example was the arduous and tense debate over the war in Vietnam. I felt was there in the room with Kennedy and his advisors, listening and vicariously debating what a mess our whole involvement in Vietnam was and how to find a way out of the quagmire. You again realize how presidential advisors are like most of us: we see what we want to see and hear what hear we want to hear. Everyone who went to Vietnam to see whist was happening and came home reinforced that their stance was the correct stance. It was also illuminating how the military always believed they would triumph and disregarded the input of civilian input. It reinforced my belief that as he had in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy would have gone against their advice and withdrawn from Vietnam and never had fought the level of grounds combat we endured.
Dallek also gives us a human JFK who made decisions based on political considerations. I was disappointed that Dallek discussed very little of the whole struggle with the Civil Rights. And it was equally disappointing that JFK was so cautiously and almost shamefully dragged into getting involved in the African-American fight for freedom.
A book that should read by the current resident of the Oval Office as well as anyone who want to work there.