My second book in the warm-up to the anniversary of the assassination of JFK is Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye. This book is a syrupy memoir, by Kennedy disciples Kenny O’Donnell and Dave Powers.
O’Donnell and Powers were with JFK from the start of his political career. They claim that of all the White House staff, they were closest to JFK. Except for their genes, they were member of JFK’s family.
I just finished the beginning chapter which describes the assassination. It is the best account I ever read. Vivid and emotional, their story reads like instant reporting.
Though the book was intended to be a Kennedy apologetic, it is brutally frank. O’Donnell and Powers state that JFK intended to withdraw our troops from Vietnam, but decided to wait until after his re-election. He did not want to risk political damage from a wrathful right-wing. JFK never made it to 1964, and his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson turned Vietnam into a full fledged war.
In these multicultural and diverse times, it is surprising to learn how central Irishness and Catholicism were to the Kennedy circle. At Parkland Hospital, just after a priest had given JFK the last rites, Powers took the priest aside and asked him to take his confession. Powers thought he was about to have a heart attack.
The anniversaries of two celebrity assassinations come before JFK’s—Che Guevara on October 9 and Albert Anastasia on October 25. I doubt any ebooks will be issued about them.
Open Road Integrated Media has done a masterful job of reissuing Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, on the 50th anniversary of the loss of JFK.