Fifty years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, presidential historian Robert Dallek, whom The New York Times calls “Kennedy’s leading biographer,” delivers a riveting new portrait of this president and his inner circle of advisors—their rivalries, personality clashes, and political battles. In Camelot’s Court, Dallek analyzes the brain trust whose contributions to the successes and failures of Kennedy’s administration—including the Bay of Pigs, civil rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam—were indelible.
Kennedy purposefully put together a dynamic team of advisors noted for their brilliance and acumen, including Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, and trusted aides Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger. Yet the very traits these men shared also created sharp divisions. Far from being unified, this was an uneasy band of rivals whose ambitions and clashing beliefs ignited fiery internal debates.
Robert Dallek illuminates a president deeply determined to surround himself with the best and the brightest, who often found himself disappointed with their recommendations. The result, Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House, is a striking portrait of a leader whose wise resistance to pressure and adherence to principle offers a cautionary tale for our own time.
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About the Author
Robert Dallek is the author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 and Nixon and Kissinger, among other books. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and Vanity Fair. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 John F. Kennedy: Prelude to a Presidency 1
Chapter 2 Robert Kennedy: Adviser-in-Chief 53
Chapter 3 "A Ministry of Talent" 101
Chapter 4 "Never Rely on the Experts" 196
Chapter 5 "Roughest Thing in My Life" 268
Chapter 6 Advice and Dissent 320
Chapter 7 "The Greatest Adventure of Our Century" 387
Chapter 8 "If We Listen to Them, None of Us Will Be Alive" 430
Chapter 9 "Mankind Must Put an End to War" 518
Chapter 10 "The Two of You Did Visit the Same Country, Didn't You?" 586
Epilogue: "What He Is Slated to Become Depends on Us" 650