Top critical review
Not enough on the White House staff
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2013
Sadly, I was disappointed in this book. My expectations were very high, given the quality of Mr. Dallek's work in the past. This book seemed like a rehash, specifically designed to appeal to those looking for books on JFK near the 50th anniversary of his death. But it didn't feel like very much new ground was broken; much of this seems familiar, both from Dallek's "John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life," and from books by other authors.
When I saw the title, what I was hoping for was an in-depth examination of the inner workings of JFK's White House staff, but there is very little of that in the book. Some key aides (Ralph Dungan, Fred Dutton) aren't even mentioned. Instead, the book was about JFK and his interactions with the advisers we've always read about: "The Irish Mafia," Sorenson, Salinger, the Big 4 of the Cabinet, Maxwell Taylor and the Joint Chiefs, and various State and Defense Department aides who were involved in the Cuba and Vietnam debates. The book is well written, as always; I was just hoping for something different.