The End of CamelotPaperback - 2016
This book recounts the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture changing aftermath. In January 1961, as the Cold War escalated, John F. Kennedy struggled to contain the growth of Communism while he learned the hardships, solitude, and temptations of what it means to be president of the United States. Along the way he acquired a number of formidable enemies, among them Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Alan Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition, powerful elements of organized crime had begun to talk about targeting the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. In the midst of a 1963 campaign trip to Texas, Kennedy was gunned down by an erratic young drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escaped the scene, only to be caught and shot dead while in police custody. The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. This work brings the history to life as it chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot.
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I've been fascinated by the idea of Camelot and the Kennedy dynasty since I was young - precisely why I've avoided this book until now. Bill O'Reilly is nothing more than a pompous, over-inflated windbag who is in love with the sound of his own voice. Given how drastically different his political leanings are from Kennedy's, I thoroughly expected much maligning of Kennedy's private life, which while devastating to Jackie and their children - and even the adoring public who had no idea - had no bearing on his assassination. Surprisingly, there were far less references to the President's trysts than I figured there would be (though there were far more than necessary.)
Calling this book completely nonfiction however, as O'Reilly does in the 'sources' section, is a stretch. One of the greatest annoyances I find in any nonfiction work is when authors purport to put forth what someone is feeling or thinking - and it happens often in this text, particularly in regards to Jackie.
Presenting Oswald as a man who simply wants to be famous doesn't exactly jive with everything else I've ever read about him. I'm not a huge conspiracy theorist by any means, but I can not believe that someone like Lee Harvey Oswald, who failed at everything else in his life, could have suddenly succeeded in killing the most powerful man in the world - especially when footage from that day on the knoll clearly shows Kennedy being shot from the front, not behind, at least once.
All in all, it's a quick read and not terrible. But you won't learn anything new unless you have no idea who JFK is.
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