The Kennedy Assassination
24 Hours After
Basic Books 2009
You could fill a large library with books about JFK’s assassination. We’ve even touched on the subject here. The topic of the transfer of power from JFK to LBJ, however, has been neglected. I was under the impression that after JFK was pronounced dead, LBJ took an oath and that was that. As Steve Gillon points out in his terrific new The Kennedy Assassination–24 Hours After. Lyndon B. Johnson’s Pivotal First Day as President (Basic, 2009), that was not that. Rather, the transition was marked by confusion, doubt, anger, mistrust, jealousy, intrigue, and drama of every sort. At the center of it all were two parties–the out-sized president-presumptive, LBJ, and the Kennedy Clan, led by RFK. They were not on good terms. LBJ liked and admired JFK, but he resented the pretense and privilege of the Kennedy Clan. He hated RFK. JFK liked and admired LBJ, but his “people” thought Johnson was a buffoon, and they could not imagine him as president. RFK hated LBJ. JFK managed to kept LBJ and the Clan separated. But he was now dead and the battle was therefore joined. Read all about it in this page-turner of a book.
By the way, the History Channel has made a documentary based on Steve’s book. You can read about it here.
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