The Death of a President – William Manchester (1967)


The Death of a President: November 20–November 25, 1963 is historian William Manchester‘s 1967 account of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The book gained public attention before it was published when Kennedy’s widow Jacqueline, who had initially asked Manchester to write the book, demanded that the author make changes in the manuscript. The book chronicles the long November weekend in 1963 from a small reception the Kennedys hosted in the White House the evening of the trip to Dallas, through the flight and trip to Texas, the motorcade, the assassination, the hospital, the plane trip back to Washington, and the funeral. The friction between the Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson factions, the worldwide reaction, and Lee Harvey Oswald‘s unplanned televised execution by Jack Ruby are all discussed in painstaking detail. In early 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy commissioned Manchester to produce an account of the assassination. She and the Kennedy family wanted a definitive telling of the events to preempt other books, including Jim Bishop‘s forthcoming The Day Kennedy Was Shot. Kennedy was familiar with Manchester’s work through Portrait of a President: John F. Kennedy in Profile, his account of the president’s first year and a half in the White House. Manchester had met and grown to admire her husband when both were recovering from war wounds in Boston. The book agreement stipulated that Jacqueline Kennedy and the president’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, then Attorney General, would approve the manuscript. As part of the agreement, Manchester was to receive an advance of $36,000 but only against the income from the first printing. All other earnings would go the John F. Kennedy Library. Kennedy promised Manchester exclusive interviews with members of the family, and sat for 10 hours of interviews with him. Manchester interviewed 1,000 people for the book, including Robert F. Kennedy; only Marina Oswald refused. Working 100 hours a week for two years to meet an accelerated 1967 publishing deadline, the stress of focusing on the assassination sent Manchester to a hospital due to nervous exhaustion for more than two months, where he completed a manuscript of 1,201 pages and 380,000 words. …”
Wikipedia
Vanity Fair: A Clash of Camelots (by Sam Kashner, 2009)
W – The Parts Left Out of the Kennedy Book hoax by Paul Krassner

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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