Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (15).


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“In general his respect for artistic excellence exceeded his appreciation.” p. 433. ………. “Variety was the keynote of his reading habits…history, biography and current affairs dominated his list.” p. 434. ………. “He studied The Guns of August, an account of the origins of the First World War, as a warning to his own generation.” p. 435. ………. “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in  politics but for our contributions to the human spirit.” p. 436. ………. “What he could not accomplish through legislation---to fight recession, inflation, race discrimination and other problems—he sought to accomplish through Executive Orders, proclamations, contingency funds, inherent powers, unused statutes, transfers of appropriations, reorganization plans, patronage, procurement pardons, Presidential memos, public speeches and private pressures.” p. 437. [I don’t understand what “reorganization plans” and “procurement pardons” mean. RayS.]

To be continued

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (14)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“His administration had made clear that this country is not officially Catholic, Protestant or even Christian, but a democratic republic in which neither religion in general nor any church in particular can be either established or curbed by public act.” p. 408. ………. “Happiness, he often said, paraphrasing Aristotle, is the full use of one’s faculties along lines of excellence, and to him the Presidency offered the ideal opportunity to pursue excellence.” p. 410. ………. [The Presidency]: “…represents a chance to exercise your judgment on matters of importance.” p. 411. ………. “He still took his problems seriously but never himself.” p. 414. ………. “He never self-consciously thought of himself as ‘courageous,’ but he lived by the Hemingway definition with which he had opened Profiles: ‘grace under pressure.’ ” p. 415.

“So the more people I can see, or the wider I can expose [my mind] to different ideas, the more effective I can be as President.” p. 416. ………. “He kept his own comments to a minimum and often cut short others, no matter how important or friendly, who were dealing with generalities or repeating the obvious.” p. 417. ………. “…remarkable ability to absorb detail while keeping in view the larger picture.” p. 417. ………. Jackie Kennedy: “He lived at such a pace because he wished to know it all.” p. 418. ………. “When he was not working, he and Jacqueline liked having people around who were cheerful, amusing, energetic, informed and informal.” p. 624. ………. “This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.” p. 430. ………. JFK: “This is the most extraordinary collection of talent [American Nobel Prize winners]…that has ever been gathered together at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” p. 430.

To be continued.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (13)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“He listened patiently to long statements concealed as questions….” p. 365. ……….. “He never tired of encouraging young men and women to enter politics and public service, and by his own example, I believe he invoked a profound change in this nation’s respect for that calling.” p. 373. ………. Of press conferences: “His answers were almost always brief.” p. 365. ………. “He deplored ‘the discordant voices of extremism’ which peddled their frighteningly simple solutions to citizens frustrated and baffled by our national burdens.” p. 375. ………. JFK: “Presidents are bound to be hated unless they are as bland as Ike.” p. 375.

[“Carrots” for cooperative members of Congress]: “…advance notification of federal contracts, special privileges for White House tours, detailed data on a bill’s effects, material for speeches and releases, birthday notes from the President, campaign help from the National Committee, autographed pictures from the President, and whatever flexibility was possible on patronage, public works and other budget items.” p. 399. ………. “Without notes he would cite all the discouraging statistics [about education]: only six out of every ten students in the fifth grade would finish high school; only nine of every sixteen high school graduates would go on to college; one million young Americans were already out of school and out of work; dropouts had a far higher rate of unemployment and far lower rate of income; 71% of the people, according to Gallup, expected their children to go to college but 51% had saved for it.” p. 401. ………. [On the Supreme Court’s banning school prayer]: “…pray a good deal more at home…attend our churches with a good deal more fidelity, and we can make the true meaning of prayer much more important in the lives of all of our children.” p. 407.

To be continued.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (12)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
On the Bay of Pigs fiasco: “All my life I’ve known better than to depend on the experts.” ………. “He could find and fret over one paragraph of criticism deep in ten paragraphs of praise.” p. 348. ………. “When the newspapers erred, however, as they sometimes did, Presidential corrections or even press retraction rarely had the impact of the original story.” p. 350. ………. “…he read Time and Newsweek faithfully and felt their condensed hindsight often influenced their readers more than daily newspaper stories.” p. 354. ………. “…a study of Time’s treatment of Eisenhower’s first year as compared with Kennedy’s…amassed considerable evidence to show that, by the use of loaded adjectives, clever picture captions and a careful selection of quotations out of context…the two administrations were put in very different lights [Eisenhower positive, Kennedy negative].”

“It is true that he believed the press had responsibilities as well as rights—including the responsibility to get the facts straight, to consider the national interest and to save their bias for the editorial columns….” ………. “This nation’s foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage.” p. 359. ………. “On the basis of our own reading, Salinger and I prepared lengthy lists of possible difficult questions—usually far more difficult than most of those asked [at televised press conferences].” p. 362. ………. Of regular press conferences: “It’s like preparing for a final exam twice a month.” ……….p. 363.  “Above all, the televised press conferences provided a direct communication with the voters which no newspaper could alter by interpretation or omission.” p. 364.

To be continued.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (11)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“He required a personal staff…one that represented his personal ways, means and purposes—to summarize and analyze…products and proposals for him, to refine the conflicting views of various agencies, to define the issues which he had to decide, to help place his personal imprint on them…. p. 289. ………. “He often expressed impatience with lengthy memoranda from certain aides which boiled down to recommendations that he ‘firm up our posture’ or ‘make a new effort’ on some particular problem.” p. 290. ………. Those of us in the White House Staff with policy responsibilities often differed from each other and from the President in the deliberations preceding a decision…but none of us ever questioned his decision once it was final.” p. 291. ………. “And like the entire Kennedy Cabinet he was cool under pressure, more pragmatic than dogmatic…. p. 305. ………. “…with few  exceptions, he held Cabinet meetings only because ‘I suppose we should—it’s been several weeks since the last one,’ and with few exceptions these meetings bored him.” p. 317.

“No decisions of importance were made at Kennedy’s Cabinet meetings…and few subjects of importance…were ever seriously discussed.” p. 317. ……….. “Kennedy relied considerably on his Cabinet officers, but not on the Cabinet as a body.” p. 317. ………. “The National Security Council…is an advisory body to the President…. In the final analysis, the President of the United States must make the decision…and it is his decision…not the decision of the National Security Council or any collective decision.” p. 319. ………. “During these eight months he could at times be privately bitter about the mistakes he had made, the advice he had accepted, and the ‘mess’ he inherited.” p. 329. ………. “The only thing that surprised us when we got into office was that things were just as bad as we had been saying they were.” p. 329.

To be continued.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (10)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“…civility is not a sign of weakness.” p. 277. ………. “Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.” p. 277. ………. “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days…nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet…but let us begin.” p. 277. ………. Of the Cabinet: “All spoke with the same low-keyed restraint that marked their chief.” p. 287. ………. “John Kennedy, in selecting his associates, did not pretend or attempt to achieve an average cross-section of the country—he wanted the best.” p. 288. ………. “…in his Administration, Cabinet members could make recommendations on major matters, but only the President could make decisions.” p. 289.

To be continued.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (9)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“…in the last seven days…, he [Nixon] has called me an ignoramus, a liar, a pied piper…. I just confine myself to calling him a Republican and he says that is really getting low.” p. 234. ………. “He asked me [Sorenson] to read all the past inaugural addresses (which I discovered to be a largely undistinguished lot, with some of the best eloquence emanating from some of our worst Presidents).” p. 270. ………. “He asked me [Sorenson] to study the secret of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (my conclusion, which his inaugural applied, was that Lincoln never used a two-or- three-syllable word where a one-syllable word would do, and never used two or three words where one word would do).” p. 270. ………. “From Billy Graham he obtained a list of biblical quotations….” p. 270. ………. “He wanted it [the Inaugural Address] to be the shortest in the twentieth century…..” p. 272. ………. “And yet the same revolutionary belief for which our forebears fought is still at issue around the globe, the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but the hand of God.” p. 275. ……… “…an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace.” p. 276.

To be continued.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (8)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“…both he and the press were sometimes surprised, upon reading the transcript of a particularly successful extemporaneous talk, to find that the passages that sounded so memorable in his impassioned delivery were less impressive in cold print.” p. 200. ………. “Do you realize the responsibility I carry…. I am the only person between Nixon and the White House.” p. 203. ……….“In Rochester, he quoted an earlier Republican candidate as having referred to it as Syracuse—proof, he said, that Republicans never did know where they were or where they were going.” p. 207. ………. “It is a contest between the comfortable and concerned.” p. 2007. ……… “As soon as Nixon was out campaigning again, Kennedy was briefed daily on his opponent’s speeches and tore into them almost daily.” p. 209. ………. “Last Thursday night Mr. Nixon dismissed me  as ‘another Truman’…a great compliment and I have no hesitation in returning the compliment. I consider him another Dewey.” p. 209. ………. “…not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me, but what kind of America I believe in.” p. 215.

To be continued.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (7).


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“And if age, not experience, is the standard…then a maturity test excluding ‘from positions of trust and command all those below the age of forty-four would have kept Jefferson from writing the Declaration of Independence, Washington from commanding the Continental Army, Madison from fathering the Constitution…and Christopher Columbus from even discovering America.’ ” p. 172. ………. “The New Frontier…sums up not what I intend to offer the American people but what I intend to ask of them…holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security.” p. 188. ………. “Upon the Caroline’s arrival in each major city, the advance man came on board to brief the Senator on names, faces and local color…. p. 194. ………. “Arriving several days before the candidate, they [advance men] worked with local party leaders to plan the schedule, determine the motorcade route, decide on platform sites and seating, turn out the crowds, work with the police and local press and distribute flags, press kits, and buttons.” p. 194. ………. “…preparing notes and outlines of local lore and issues for use in brief talks at airports, train stations and shopping centers.” p. 199.

To be continued.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (6)


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“…an informal committee to tap the ideas and information of scholars and thinkers in Massachusetts and elsewhere.” p. 132. ………. “But Kennedy, speaking in softer tones and shorter answers without notes, scored with local illustrations and specifics aimed chiefly at West Virginia.” p. 159. ………. “There is only one legitimate question. Would you, as President be responsive in any way to ecclesiastical pressures or obligations of any kind that might in any fashion influence or interfere with your conduct of that office in the national interest?” p. 161. ………. “If religion is a valid issue in the Presidential campaign…I shouldn’t have served in the House…. I shouldn’t now be serving in the Senate, and I shouldn’t have been accepted by the United States Navy…. For the oath of office was practically identical in each case…an oath sworn on the Bible to defend the Constitution.” p. 163. ………. “Catholic Boston, he said, had in 1948 overwhelmingly supported Baptist Harry Truman ‘because of the man he is.’ ” p. 164. ………. “Now I understand why Henry VIII set up his own church.” p. 167.

To be continued.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (5)

Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.


Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
Speech writing: “At the same time, his emphasis on a course of reason--rejecting the extremes of either side—helped produce the parallel construction and use of contrasts with which he later became identified.” p. 68. ………. Speech writing: “He wanted his major policy statements to be positive, specific, and definite, avoiding the use of ‘suggest,’ ‘perhaps’ and ‘possible alternatives for consideration’ ” p. 68. ………. Speech writing: “He was not reluctant, however, particularly in those pre-1960 days, to pack his speeches with statistics and quotations.” p. 69. ………. Speech writing: “Humor in the body of a prepared speech, however, was rare compared to its use at the beginning of almost every speech he made off the Senate floor.” p. 70. ………. Speech writing: “In addition to the humor file, we kept a collection of appropriate speech endings—usually quotations from famous figures or incidents from history which, coupled with brief peroration of his own , could conclude almost any speech on any subject with a dramatic flourish.” p. 71.

Speech writing: “… standard closings, like the humorous openings, were almost always omitted from his released texts in order to facilitate their continued use elsewhere.” p. 72. ………. Speech writing: “A tremendous amount of staff research preceded every Kennedy talk.” p. 72. ………. “Never forgetting his supporters, the Senator constantly wooed his opponents.” p. 84. ………. Reason for seeking the Presidency: “…because I want to get things done.” p. 108. ………. On polls: “…their answers often varied with the wording of their questions.” p. 120. ………. “He knew he could not afford to be defensive, angry, impatient or silent, no matter how many times he heard the same insulting, foolish or discriminatory questions.” p. 124.

To be continued.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kenney. Theodore C. Sorenson (4).

Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.


Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“For the most part the Senator’s ‘social friends had little to do with the serious side of his life, and his working associates and staff were not involved in his social life.” p. 39. ………. JFK: “There is always inequity in life…some men are killed in a war, and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country…life is unfair.” p. 47. ………. “Among life’s dying embers/ These are my regrets./ When I’m ‘right’ no one remembers./ When I’m ‘wrong’ no one forgets.” p. 57. ………. John Steven McGroaty of California in 1934: “One of the countless drawbacks of being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive impertinent letters from a jackass like you in which you say I promised to have the sierra Madre Mountains reforested and I have been in Congress two months and haven’t done it.” p. 63. ………. Speech writing: “We always discussed the topic, the approach and the conclusions in advance.” p. 67.

Speech writing: “He always had quotations or historical allusions to include.” ………. Speech writing: “And he always, upon receiving my draft,, altered, deleted or added phrases, paragraphs or pages.” p. 67. ………. Speech writing: “Our chief criterion was always audience comprehension and comfort and this meant: (1) short speeches, short clauses and short words, whenever possible; (2) a series of points or propositions in numbered or logical sequence….; (3) the construction of sentences, phrases and paragraphs in such a manner as to simplify, clarify, and emphasize.” p. 67. ………. Speech writing: “The test of a text was not how it appeared to the eye but how it sounded to the ear.” p. 67. ………. Speech writing: “He was fond of alliterative sentences, not solely for reasons of rhetoric, but to reinforce the audience’s recollection of his reasoning.” p. 68.
To be continued.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (3).


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“…his willingness to learn, his determination to explore and to inquire and to profit by experience.” p. 24. ………. “He hated to bore and be bored.” p. 24. ………. “More amazing was the accuracy with which he remembered and applied what he read.” p. 25. ………. “His self-confidence on the platform grew, and his ability to read—and, at the right time, to discard—a prepared text increased.” p. 26. ………. “He also grew more accustomed to disappointment in his plans and to criticism in print.” p. 27.

“JFK: We all learn…from the time you are born to the time you die…events change…conditions change, and…you would be extremely unwise…to pursue policies that are unsuccessful.” p. 27. ……….”He still refused to embrace change for the sake of change….” p. 27. ………. “Unlike those liberals who start out with all the answers, he had started out asking questions.” p. 28. ………. “…constant air of confidence no matter how great the odds or pressures.” p. 30. ………. JFK: “ ‘Although,’ the Senator told me of this successful, well-informed man [JFK’s father], ‘I’ve almost never seen him read a serious book.’ ” p.35.

To be continued.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (2).


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
“Kennedy had seen that many devotees of the left as well as the right could be rigid and dogmatic in their views, parroting the opinions of their respective political and intellectual leaders without reflection or re-examination.” p. 23. ……….JFK: “…faith in man’s ability…reason and judgment…is our best and our only hope in the world today.” p. 23. ……….Jackie K: “…an idealist without illusions.” p. 24. ……….“He could grasp the essence of a complex subject with amazing speed.” p. 24. ……….“…realistic emphasis on the possible….” p. 24.

“He primarily sought truths upon which he could act and ideas he could use in his office.” p. 15. ……….“…as always, he was listening and learning more than speaking.” p. 16. ……….JFK: “…the super-human ability of the Navy to screw up everything they touch.” p. 19. ……….JFK: “God save this country of ours from those patriots whose war cry is ‘What this country needs is to be run with military efficiency.’ ” p.19. ……….“…he regarded his own good fortune as an obligation: ‘Of those to whom much is given, much is required.’ ” p. 21.

To be continued.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kennedy (1). Theodore C. Sorenson.


Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Ideas:
Francis Bacon: “He that has wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.” p. 2. ……….“Few American Presidents possessed his sense of history—or his talent as a writer.” p. 4. ……….“He was…determined to elucidate, educate and explain.” p. 5. ……….“An impassioned participant cannot be an objective observer.” p. 6. ……….“Recollections differ, opinions differ, even the same facts appear different to different people.” p. 8.

“John Kennedy’s role will be recalled in wholly different fashion, I am certain, by those in different relationships with him.” p. 8. ……….“But I think it more important that John Kennedy be remembered not for how he died but for how he lived.” p. 8. ……….“…his insistence on cutting through the prevailing bias and myths to the heart of a problem.” p. 13. ……….“As John Buchan wrote of a friend in John Kennedy’s favorite book, Pilgrim’s Way, ‘He disliked [shows of] emotion, not because he felt lightly but because he felt deeply.’ ”……….“An interest in ideas and in their practical uses came naturally to him.” Arthur Holcombe, Professor of Government. p. 15.

To be continued.

Friday, March 5, 2010

V Was for Victory.... (13)


 Politics and American Culture During WWII (13). John Morton Blum. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976.

Why read it? Perspective from the Home Front in World War II. The effects of American propaganda on the American people. A completely different view of a war from our more recent wars, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Ideas:
Malvina Reynolds: “Little Boxes and Other Handmade Songs.” “Little boxes on the hillside,/ Little boxes made of ticky tacky,/ Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same,/ There’s a green one and a pink one/ and a blue one and a yellow one/ And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.” p. 335.

“And the people in the houses/ All went to the university,/ Where they were put in boxes/ and they all came out the same,/ And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers/ and business executives,/ And they’re all made out of ticky tacky/ And they all look just the same.” p. 337.

The end.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

V Was for Victory.... (12)


 Politics and American Culture During WWII (12). John Morton Blum. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976.

Why read it? Perspective from the Home Front in World War II. The effects of American propaganda on the American people. A completely different view of a war from our more recent wars, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Ideas:
“…those who interpreted all government planning as socialism or worse.” p. 222.

On Thomas E. Dewey: “The boy orator of the platitude.” “Intellectual halitosis.” p. 278.

“The familiar Republican charges, Dewey’s charges, that the administration relied on one-man government, that it was old and tired, had a new impact in 1944, for the President looked and often acted just that way.” p. 295.

“Victory had come at last, victory over Germany, victory over Japan, and victory, too, achieved much earlier, over the Great Depression.” p. 301.

“…lacking both eloquence and elegance, Truman simply did not fit the picture of a president that Roosevelt had engraved so deeply on the consciousness of Americans.” p. 303.

“American forces had returned about 12,807,000 veterans of WWII to civil life.” p. 333.

To be concluded.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

V Was for Victory.... (11)


Politics and American Culture During WWII (11). John Morton Blum. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976.

Why read it? Perspective from the Home Front in World War II. The effects of American propaganda on the American people. A completely different view of a war from our more recent wars, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Ideas:
“…incarcerate thousands of guiltless Japanese-Americans in internment camps that the Army preferred to call ‘relocation centers’…the most blatant mass violation of civil liberties in American history.” p. 155.

“Though neither aliens nor enemies, American blacks during World War II suffered, as ever, from white hostility and oppression.” p. 182.

Lloyd Brown, an American black soldier on his experience in Salina, Kansas: “The people of Salina would serve these enemy soldiers [POWs] and turn away black American GIs….” p. 191.

Pauli Murray: “What’d you get, black boy/  When they knocked you down in the gutter,/ And they kicked your teeth out,/ And they broke your skull with clubs,/ And they bashed your stomach in? / …What’s the Top Man say, black boy? / Mr. Roosevelt regrets….” p. 207.

To be continued.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

V Was for Victory.... (10)


Politics and American Culture During WWII (10). John Morton Blum. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976.

Why read it? Perspective from the Home Front in World War II. The effects of American propaganda on the American people. A completely different view of a war from our more recent wars, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Ideas:
“John Hersey on General Marvin modeled on Patton in Bell for Adano: ‘But…General Marvin showed himself during the invasion to be a bad man, something worse than what our troops were trying to throw out.’ ” p. 87.

Bell [for Adano], Hersey wrote, ‘was the first novel or book of any kind, during the Second World War, to suggest that the American hero…might be a dangerous shit.’ ”

“…it was a lovely war after all, with the fighting remote and prosperity returned.” p. 116.

“The accomplishments of American industry during the war restored much of the prestige that businessmen had lost after 1929.” p. 117.

“ ‘Roberto,’ an acrostic consisting sequential of the first letters of Rome, Berlin and Tokyo, the capital cities of the Axis powers.” p. 147.

To be continued:

Monday, March 1, 2010

V Was for Victory.... (9)


Politics and American Culture During WWII (9). John Morton Blum. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976.

Why read it? Perspective from the Home Front in World War II. The effects of American propaganda on the American people. A completely different view of a war from our more recent wars, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Ideas:
“Official Russian communiqu├ęs regularly devoted half their space to the details of individual exploits.” p. 72.

“I think a Jew is a Jew…because he suffers.”

“…the armed services in the protest novels of the war gave to the cruel and the incompetent power over the lives of the helpless and the sensitive.” p. 83.

Norman Mailer on the war: “Individuality was just a hindrance.” p. 84.

Randall Jarrell: “In bombers named for girls, we burned/ The cities we had learned in school--? Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among/ The people we had killed and never seen.” p. 85.

To be continued.