Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties


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No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero, and an uncontrolled or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness—not the voice of the people. If I had my choice, I would never have lived. I had no control over it. But why should God put on earth some people who will go to the devil? Are you trying to start a fight or something? I said in the past that it's possible to have a coalition government in Saigon, but that doesn't mean it's possible here in the United States.

Everyone connected to me seems jinxed. Why does Hitler arise? I can't give an answer for that. Only faith Yes, I do believe in an afterlife. Religion is a salve for confusion and misdirection. If you lose, they will always write about hopeless incompetence. I think it's an absolute disaster. I think it is much worse to be there than any of the shame or difficulty that one would engender internationally by moving out.

And so, with whatever kind of apologies and with whatever kind of grace I could conjure up, I'd get out of there in six months with all the troops the United States has. We Kennedys eat Rockefellers for breakfast. I told the professor and said later in my speech that I thought we had all been taught the answer to that question when we were six years old. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. You may have fictionally encountered Richard N. Goodwin if you saw Robert Redford's film, QUIZ SHOW with actor Rob Morrow playing the role of the prosecuting attorney who tried to crack the fraud in the hit s TV quiz show , and apparently some of the material in the movie came from Richard Goodwin's memoir of his time in politics and government during the s.

But to read his own book shows you not only his intelligent mind but also his unapologetic idealism about democracy and his You may have fictionally encountered Richard N.

But to read his own book shows you not only his intelligent mind but also his unapologetic idealism about democracy and his commitment to racial justice in our society. As a young Jewish boy in the Boston, he understood racism, although he did not let it inhibit his own determination to succeed.

He finished in first place in his class of in Harvard Law School. The times he lived through law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter and later speechwriter to the JFK white house, among other things contained many events and issues that our present time can relate to and learn from. This is a fascinating book, especially if you lived through those times, but even if you did not, I think it will resonate with today's issues.

Plus it is impossible not to feel affection for the writer as he reveals his whimsical and feisty nature. It is also worth noting that he is married to eminent historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin; a fact I was not aware of before, and which now makes him one of the family. View 2 comments. I found this memoir absolutely fascinating. Although I read it in fits and spurts among other reads, every time I read it I was enthralled. I picked it up after re-watching the film "Quiz Show" and finding that the movie is based on this book.

The quiz show scandal is actually a small part of the book at the beginning to set the stage for his life and show it as a precursor to his main themes of the Sixties.

The impact of the assassination - speculations about a second gunman?

But that section was very interesting, as was the entire book. I studied the Kennedy era I found this memoir absolutely fascinating. I studied the Kennedy era during college, and have subsequently done much reading about that time and I just don't remember Dick Goodwin in my reading. He was present for many momentous events during that time period and actually responsible for many things. I was fascinated to learn all this from his wonderful prose and descriptions, all couched in fascinating theories and philosophies of the period and its legacy on the world as he was writing in the late 's.

I completely loved this book. Dec 10, Kressel Housman rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , memoir , presidents , the-sixties , non-fiction. Richard Goodwin served as speechwriter for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, but he has other claims to fame. Talk about a power couple! Having recently read about the Kennedy Richard Goodwin served as speechwriter for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, but he has other claims to fame. The Great Society and Civil Rights chapters are the most exhilarating parts of the book, and the Vietnam chapters the most damning.

Goodwin stresses that Johnson was much more willing to stick his neck out for civil rights than Kennedy, and though he clearly states we cannot know what Kennedy would have done in Vietnam, he also makes it clear that the Bay of Pigs fiasco made him highly cautious of listening to a small cabal of advisors.

He was pro-civil rights and anti-Vietnam. When he split with Johnson and began working with the youth movements, he found them immensely invigorating. It goes back to the founding of America. So while the book is a personal memoir with plenty of history lessons, it is also a call to action. I, for one, learned plenty. I remember loving this book back when it came out in Much has changed in the 30 years between then and now, but historical themes have a way or recycling themselves.

While our armed forces are still bogged down in the 'Graveyard of Empires', that war is not what is truly ailing us.

The Inclusive Populism of Robert F. Kennedy

Our government exists not to serve us, but rather to serve those interests. It was not always so. But it was not so. The intensity of indignation, the extent of public outrage, was testimony to an American innocence of belief strong enough to survive this and graver challenges to come; an innocence that was to quicken the public movements and private rebellions of the sixties until it dissolved in the futilities of Vietnam. For innocence is a strength. It supports the animating will to believe which nourishes protest against deception and injustice, gives courage to the oppressed and discontented.

The hopeless do not revolt. The cynical do not march. Only when what we call 'innocence' is also a reality-success a seeming possibility-are we strong or courageous enough to assault the ramparts of established order.

Robert Kennedy: A Time it Was

If I am wrong in this assumption, and if the American people are satisfied with things as they are, if Americans are undisturbed by approaching dangers and complacent about our capacity to meet them, then I expect to lose this election. But if I am right, and I firmly believe I am right, then those who have held back the growth of the US during the last years will be rejected in November and America will turn to the leadership of the Democratic party.

I think the following passages are completely relevant in Its object is not just man's welfare but the dignity of man's spirit. This means that beauty must be part of our daily life. It means not just easy physical access, but equal social access for rich and poor, Negro and white, city dweller and farmer. Jefferson counsel ed that democracy does not depend 'on confidence but jealousy,' that power alone can check power, and if the restraints, not of men but institutions, are dismantled, then democracy is in mortal danger. But the Great Society did not fail.

It was abandoned. And perhaps the energizing essentials of will and belief are not dead at all, but merely dormant. Yet behind the polls and precedents one could sense a growing discontent and frustration; a subtle but expanding change in the mood of the nation. Today the clamor from the streets and public platforms, which marked the sixties, is gone, replaced by a strangely muted discourse.

It is not an improvement. Yes, those optimistic times faded into cynicism and often despair, but does it not seem like an awakening has been recently taking place?

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Yes, we are currently ruled by some of the worst grifters, liars and outright frauds since the founding of the country. But I think our fundamental goodness remains. A fuse has been lit. Millions of people are ready for not only real leadership, but also simple enforcement of the law. One of the best books about politics I've ever read! Dec 11, Bogdan rated it really liked it. I started reading this after seeing Quiz Show hoping it would be the next best thing to seeing the movie again for the first time. And the book was different of course, as it covered most of the author's career including his position as a speechwriter for John Kennedy.

I was expecting his writing style to come with a good amount of pride and gold dust, given his role and given that he witnessed and influenced several crucial events in the 60's. Refreshingly, the book resembles the movie in this I started reading this after seeing Quiz Show hoping it would be the next best thing to seeing the movie again for the first time. Refreshingly, the book resembles the movie in this regard, and reading most of it felt like a long train ride with someone you admire in the next seat. For someone who wasn't necessarily interested in the cuban war, Fidel Castro, or Che Guevara, I had to read up on some of these in order to get through some chapters.

I suppose the book actually made it worth getting familiar with some of them. Yes, the book version of the Quiz Show scandal missed the dramatic tone and all the brilliant things that make the movie worth seeing but it worked, given my original intention of reading it to get more out of the movie's main character.

Feb 24, Shazi L rated it really liked it.

Chris Matthews, "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit"

Like some other readers of this book, I stumbled upon it after thoroughly enjoying the movie Quiz Show. Definitely was fascinating to read this in the time of Trump, as the call for what makes someone presidential really hits hard. Apr 03, Don rated it really liked it. A bittersweet memoir from a man who wrote speeches and became friends with the major figures dominating and shaping the sixties. Goodwin recounts his memories of JFK, Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy, and gives wonderful insights into the politics and politicians of the era. Dec 20, Sara rated it really liked it.

Read this years ago as a college student and recall enjoying it a lot. Jan 02, David Eastman rated it it was amazing.

Robert Kennedy: Early Years

This book, though a memoir of one individual, transcends this aim to become the voice of a generation. Written from the point of view of one man who stood in and - in many ways affected - the political epicenter of the Sixties, the book tells the story of America; not the whole story but a snapshot that reveals a lot about the American people. The writing is soaring and majestic - the words practically sing. It is no wonder that the author wrote so many of the Presidential speeches that still in This book, though a memoir of one individual, transcends this aim to become the voice of a generation.

It is no wonder that the author wrote so many of the Presidential speeches that still inspire us today. I sincerely was moved by this book and have fallen deeper in love with my country, America, because of it. Dec 11, Socraticgadfly rated it it was amazing Shelves: politics-public-policy , history. This was a fascinating look at a key period in history. Goodwin was a late s friend of Jack Kennedy's who joined his s campaign staff, becoming a White House counselor and then a political appointment at the State Department before eventually becoming a White House counselor and and speechwriter for LBJ.

But, when Bobby refused to jump in the race quickly enough in , Goodwin went to work for Eug This was a fascinating look at a key period in history. But, when Bobby refused to jump in the race quickly enough in , Goodwin went to work for Eugene McCarthy. When Bobby belatedly decided to run, Goodwin waited several weeks to go back to Bobby. And, in his telling at least, handled the departure from McCarthy, the letting Bobby wait, and everything else, with both tact and integrity. The book is worth a read for that alone.

Here's the meat of the book. Before reading this, I would have considered Tricky Dick Nixon the most paranoid president in American history. He's quite arguably in second place in my estimation now. Before leaving the White House, Goodwin thought about visiting a psychiatrist. Not for himself. But, to see if he could get an extended grant of client-counselor privilege to discuss LBJ's mindset. He was going to tell Bill Moyers about this plan, but then decided not to, not knowing how Moyers might react. He went ahead with the rest of the plan, anyway -- and later learned that Moyers was doing exactly the same thing.

Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties
Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties
Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties
Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties
Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties
Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties Bobby Kennedy and the Politics of the Sixties

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