Dallek, Gillon factors in decision to cancel History Channel Kennedy miniseries

Historians in the News

A promotional trailer for “The Kennedys,” a multimillion-dollar mini-series prepared for the History channel, suggests it will offer a sweeping inside look at the backrooms and bedrooms of that political clan. There are stylized re-enactments of the life of President John F. Kennedy and his family, and a title card that reads, “Behind the public image lies the story of an American dynasty.”...

n February a group of historians organized by a liberal filmmaker, Robert Greenwald, issued a condemnation based on early drafts of scripts obtained by Mr. Greenwald. These historians said the scripts contained factual errors, fabrications and more than a dash of salacious innuendo. Among the critics was Theodore C. Sorensen, the longtime adviser and speechwriter to President Kennedy. (Mr. Sorensen died in October.)

When those denunciations surfaced, History said that the scripts were incomplete and that the final drafts would be rigorously reviewed for accuracy. With the mini-series under a microscope, its producers turned to two other historians, Steven M. Gillon and Robert Dallek, to help restore its credibility.

The two brought estimable credentials to the table. Mr. Dallek, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written books on the modern presidency, including the biography “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963.” And Mr. Gillon, whose books include “The Kennedy Assassination — 24 Hours After” and who serves as the resident historian of the History channel, had taught John F. Kennedy Jr. at Brown University....

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