The Man with the President’s Ear, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and JFKtags: JFK, Arthur Schlesinger
Ted Widmer is Assistant to the President for Special Projects at Brown University. He edited Listening In: The Secret White House Tape Recordings of John F. Kennedy.
The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s presidency winds down this fall, and it is refreshing to have these two books, each a celebration of genuine life and thought, as we enter an echo chamber that is unlikely to promote either in the weeks leading up to November 22.
Schlesinger’s letters complete a download that has been coming steadily since his death in 2007. Indeed, after going to his reward, he has been publishing at a prodigious pace. First came the Journal, in a hefty volume in 2007. Then, in 2011, the lengthy interviews he conducted in 1964 with Jacqueline Kennedy. Now, the letters, lovingly culled by his two sons, Andrew and Stephen, which offer more grist for a mill that was not exactly grist-deficient.
a postscript, the editors recount the process of sifting through this
pile of paper—134 boxes, with about 200 letters in each—and estimate
that their father wrote 35,000 letters! Evidently, he never sent one
without making a copy—ergo, this book. This paper trail seems almost
incomprehensible in the Age of Twitter—letters, written on paper,
composed of full sentences and paragraphs, making complex arguments,
rooted in history and facts. Reading it during the government shutdown,
it felt like an ancient cuneiform, testifying to the strengths and
weaknesses of the civilization that preceded our own time. Ours feels
comments powered by Disqus
- Most Millennials Resist the ‘Millennial’ Label
- Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers – and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting
- China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan
- New documentary explores the legacy of the 5,000 Rosenwald schools set up by a Sears magnate and Booker T. Washington
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- Historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham wins National Humanities Medal
- AHA President Vicki L. Ruiz named National Humanities Medalist
- Historians of Color Are Revolutionizing the Narrative of ‘American Exceptionalism’
- Henry VIII voted worst monarch in history
- The Fuhrer style: Historian says press coverage of Hitler’s lavish life fueled his rise to power