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.
“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.