Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (25).

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.

Cuban Missile Crisis, continued. JFK: “Whichever plan I choose, the ones whose plans we’re not taking are the lucky ones—they’ll be able to say, ‘I told you so’ in a week or two.” p. 783. ………. “The President, although opposed to proposing a summit at that time, wanted to stress the desirability of a peaceful solution, of communications between the two powers, of an approach to the UN, of persuading the world that our action was prudent and necessary.” p. 783. ………. “The desire to avoid panic also caused the President to delete all references to the missiles’ megatonnage as compared with Hiroshima, and to speak of ‘striking’ instead of ‘wiping out,’ certain cities.” p. 787. ………. “He did not talk of total victory or unconditional surrender…..” p. 789. ………. “Rejecting the temptation of a dramatic TV appearance, he issued a brief three-paragraph statement welcoming  Khrushchev’s ‘statesmanlike decision…an important and constructive contribution to peace.’ ” p. 809. ………. ‘He [Khrushchev] had learned…that the American President was willing to exercise his strength and restraint, to seek communication and to reach accommodation that did not force upon his adversary total humiliation.” p. 816. ………. “He sent Averell Harriman to Moscow to review the full range of problems dividing the two nations.” p. 820. ………. “The President was determined to put forward a fundamentally new emphasis on the peaceful and the positive in our relations with the Soviets.” p. 823.

To be continued.

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