Tag Archives: John F Kennedy

My mom said

My only memories of John F. Kennedy’s assassination are my mother’s.

Here’s her story.

high chairMom was mopping the kitchen floor with the radio on. Only nine months old, I was watching the proceedings from my perch in my high chair.

A radio announcer broke into the music with the news of the President’s death in Dallas. Mom immediately dropped her mop and walked out into the front yard. All the other moms on her street were standing in their yards, sobbing.

Much later she remembered I was sitting alone in the kitchen, surrounded by drying suds.

I think I can cut her some slack.

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A good read

The fifth sentence from page 56.

That’s how folks are honoring National Book Week on Facebook — grabbing the book closest at hand and posting that random phrase.

I thought I would go one step further and talk up one of my favorite books.  Not my ‘desert island book’ — A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I have lauded here before — but a book by Mario Puzo that did not achieve the commercial success of the Godfather saga.

I have read and re-read The Fourth K countless times since its 1990 publication.  Although it was a commercial failure, Puzo called it his “most ambitious novel.”  I would argue it is his most imaginative.

The novel follows the Presidency of Francis Xavier Kennedy, the fictional nephew of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. On an Easter Sunday at the end of his first term of office, the Pope is assassinated and Kennedy’s daughter is taken hostage and murdered.  Soon after, a nuclear device is discovered in midtown Manhattan.

The crises have a fundamental effect on the President’s approach to governing, and impact his decision to seek re-election.  But many question his ability to lead after his daughter’s death and attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment.

It’s an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read, and I think it would make an incredible film.

But it’s National Book Week, so I’ll say it — the book would be better.