There is no try.” He attempts to demonstrate Kennedy’s innate sympathy for the poor by dragging out a prep-school essay on social justice. SO: He was a man of no abiding political principles, a plagiaristic pseudo-intellectual, a liar about his health and fitness, and a gross philanderer. Charm comes from the Latin carmen—“song, verse, incantation.” In English, since the 16th century, the word has had a meaning of influence, persuasion, inducement. There is no doubt about it that these dictators are more popular in the country than outside due to their effective propaganda.”, After graduation in 1939, Jack (with hospitality and official contacts arranged by ambassador dad) traveled through Eastern Europe and the Middle East. “[Jack] drew encouragement from the fact that his physical condition had improved markedly.”, And what about his relations with the opposite sex? “Fascism seems to treat them well,” Jack wrote in his diary after two days in Milan. In 2013, as the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination approached, the New York Times published an article by executive editor Jill Abramson. You will receive a link to create a new password via email. But the cheating hurt all the same, especially coming soon after [not to mention before] their wedding.”, In August 1956, Jackie was eight months pregnant. Yet JFK is a life of a saint that makes a hula hoop of his halo. We want to hear your thoughts about this article. A false memory will do. Logevall can cite the charm. “I fell in love with Jack Kennedy immediately,” gushed Kennedy’s future FCC chairman Newton Minow. The assassination of John F. Kennedy is almost as distant in time as the assassination of William McKinley was when Kennedy took office. Logevall does his clumsy best to walk upon his knees to the shrine. Logevall quotes Joe Healy: “If ever I saw a person make a decision in conscience and on merits… it was the St. Lawrence Seaway decision made by Jack Kennedy.” Joe Healey was one of Joe Kennedy lawyers. “The evidence is fragmentary,” Logevall says and cites one account where Florida Congressman George Smathers reached Jack on the yacht and told him, “If you want run for president, you’d better get your ass back to your wife’s bedside or every wife in the country will be against you.”, Logevall uses Jackie to do the tsk-tsking by proxy: “She was incensed by his obtuse neglect of her needs in favor of his own.” The author merely concludes, “When it came to marital relations he was Joseph Kennedy’s true heir.” Then he blandly changes the subject. Previously, O’Rourke was a foreign correspondent for Rolling Stone and the Atlantic. I was taken with his whole attitude, his whole appearance, his whole—he really sent me.”. It ended in 2009 when John’s sister, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, striving to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, used the phrase “you know” 168 times in a 30-minute interview with cable TV station NY1. Him and his damn charm. It ended in callous manslaughter on Chappaquiddick in 1969. As PT-109 hero and about-to-be Massachusetts congressman, he promised to visit his war buddy Red Fay and Red’s family and friends, “then showed up late…bailing early on a party in his honor in order to go to a movie with another friend…. Of all the things that the American political system needed, this was the last. “In September, with Jackie recovering at home, Kennedy took to the road to campaign for Stevenson.”. Even the Associated Press, never quick on political-trend uptakes, ran a September 2, 2020, headline: “Kennedy Loss in Massachusetts May Mark End of ‘Camelot’ Era.”. Logevall insists on taking us along. It ends. “I was really taken with him. After college, he discovered that he had no job prospects, so he decided to become a writer. - PJ O’Rourke (Leaving aside the wild indignation of young people about the very existence of synthetic industrial and undoubtedly poisonous food such as Ding Dongs. Please enter your username or email address. But the distant, hazy, reminiscent glow lingers, especially in high places such as the Harvard history department. The devil (or his lapsed human instrument) is in the details, and so very many details of Kennedy’s life are provided here that Logevall turns into an accidental iconoclast. The monthly magazine of opinion. In a sense it has been “ever-ending.” By all that’s just and right, the story of the Kennedys’ expansion of their greed from pelf to power should have come to a halt when amoral, priapic, stock-jobbing, isolationist, defeatist, Hitler-appeasing anti-Semite Joseph Kennedy Sr. was recalled from his absurd posting as ambassador to Great Britain and resigned in disgrace in 1941. “A subsequent newspaper report,” writes Logevall, “suggested several bikini-clad young women were aboard.”, At home with her mother in Newport, Jackie began to hemorrhage. Robert Kennedy rushed to her bedside, made arrangements for the infant’s funeral, and advised his parents “not to tell Jack about [what] had occurred…. Jack was not of a public-spirited ilk. HE TRIES hard to portray Jack Kennedy as an important, serious, substantive political figure. The facts haggle with the hagiography. To the extent that there’s even a real “we” left to wonder. It certainly ended in 1999 when John crashed his plane, killing himself, his wife, and his sister-in-law. (“In a television interview, he in effect called Indochina a lost cause.”). Kennedy and Markey had no political or ideological (or for that matter ethnic) differences. Jackie herself is treated by Logevall with something like Logevall’s own description of “the now familiar Jack Kennedy detachment.”, “The main thing for me was to do whatever my husband wanted. Start your risk free trial with unlimited access. But, it turns out, he also wasn’t a very nice guy. Explore the scintillating December 2020 issue of Commentary. When the $12 check arrived, “Jack,” Torby said, “dug into his pockets and came up with exactly nothing…we had to borrow from the girls to get out of the place.” Which story Macdonald—a life-long Kennedy political ally—gently prefaces with, “Jack certainly never made anyone conscious of his wealth.”, Jack was a rude cheapskate. The discovery of a drug effective against the Addison’s disease from which Kennedy suffered “set off a mad rush for cortisone, and the Kennedys scrambled to store away supplies of it in safe-deposit boxes around the country so that Jack would never go without.” Logevall’s critique? In just one example of how that love was repaid, Jack, parking by Harvard Stadium with Kennedy haphazardness, rammed into the bumper of a woman’s car “four or five times.” She reported him to the police. Click here to send a letter to the editor. “You can,” Kennedy wrote, “easily understand how that within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived.” Well, “significant” is one way to put it.