By Jeff Greenfield
A marvelous and brilliantly enjoyable journey de strength of yankee politics from one among journalism's such a lot acclaimed commentators.
History activates a dime. A overlooked assembly, a unique collection of phrases, and the end result alterations dramatically. Nowhere is that this more true than within the box the place Jeff Greenfield has spent such a lot of his operating lifestyles, American politics, and in 3 dramatic narratives in accordance with memoirs, histories, oral histories, clean reporting with reporters and key contributors, and Greenfield's personal wisdom of the crucial gamers, he indicates simply how remarkable these alterations may have been.
These issues are actual: In December 1960, a suicide bomber paused fatefully whilst he observed the younger president-elect's spouse and daughter come to the door to wave goodbye...In June 1968, RFK declared victory in California, after which rather than chatting with humans in one other ballroom, as meant, was once hustled off during the kitchen...In October 1976, President Gerald Ford made a serious gaffe in a debate opposed to Jimmy Carter, turning the tide in an election that have been swiftly narrowing.
But what if it had long gone the opposite direction? The eventualities that Greenfield depicts are startlingly sensible, wealthy intimately, stunning of their projections, yet continuously deeply, remarkably believable. you'll by no means take into consideration fresh American historical past within the comparable manner again.
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Extra resources for Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan
This can be Bobby’s grief. not anyone gazing the coverage—and that incorporated with reference to each person with entry to a tv set—would ever put out of your mind these black-and-white photographs of Robert Kennedy status on my own at the tarmac underneath the tail of the 707, staring at because the casket was once diminished via forklift to a ready hearse, then helplessly resting his correct hand at the casket as President Eisenhower, ramrod-straight, his face torn among sympathy and rage, positioned his hand on Robert Kennedy’s shoulder. whilst the hearse drove away, taking the casket to the Capitol Rotunda, Eisenhower strode to a financial institution of microphones and spoke because the Congressional leaders and vp Nixon stood at the back of him. “This is a gloomy evening for our country,” he stated. “A gallant younger guy who encouraged thousands has been struck down via a madman. We pray for John Kennedy’s soul; we pray for his relations. And we get to the bottom of that his spirit and effort will provide us power within the days forward. John Kennedy is useless, however the state he enjoyed and served with bravery and style will undergo. ” The President and the leaders walked off into the darkness; thankfully, they have been past the variety of the microphones whilst considered one of them muttered, “Now what the hell can we do? ” It was once Lyndon Johnson who supplied the reply. the boys collected back in Speaker Rayburn’s hideaway Monday at six a. m. The room was once strewn with newspapers, their entrance pages all splashed with large black-bordered banner headlines (no tv information penetrated the hideaway; Speaker Rayburn hated the medium, had banned television insurance even of Congressional hearings; the contributors didn’t like that, suggestion the television cameras in Senate hearings made that physique much more well-liked, yet there has been no arguing with the Speaker). the boys devoured down the breakfasts pointed out from the home eating room—scrambled eggs, sausages, kingdom ham, grits, biscuits, espresso by way of the gallon—and set all the way down to take care of pressing questions: first, easy methods to memorialize the fallen John Kennedy; moment, find out how to navigate the treacherous Constitutional waters of succession and management. “Where’s Lyndon? ” Ev Dirksen requested. “Said he’d be alongside in a bit,” Speaker Rayburn acknowledged with studied offhandedness. “Said to begin with no him. ” there has been fast contract at the pageantry. Kennedy’s physique was once mendacity in kingdom within the Capitol Rotunda—even within the speedy aftermath of the homicide, Jacqueline and Robert Kennedy had agreed to that—and the crowds had began lining up all evening lengthy, ready to pay their respects. The queue now stretched greater than a mile down Pennsylvania road. At midday tomorrow, Tuesday, a small memorial carrier will be held within the Rotunda. The formal funeral will be hung on Wednesday, in Washington’s nationwide Cathedral; that may provide leaders from all over the world time to wait. The protocol was once a mare’s nest; John Kennedy used to be now not the top of country, used to be now not even officially the President-elect. yet French President Charles de Gaulle had already signaled his purpose to pay his respects—“He is a fallen soldier, and merits the last word tribute of my presence,” the final had said—and others have been guaranteed to persist with go well with (“After all,” British best Minister Harold MacMillan stated to 1 of his aides, “his father was once ambassador here—even if he did are looking to promote us out to Hitler”).