The Letters of John F. Kennedy

9d32292c-faaf-40c3-a26d-1cba3ff0485eSimon Schama at the Financial Times:

Kennedy knew better than to hide his wiry Irish mop beneath a titfer. It was the crest, the crown, the brand. Everything about him was calculated to give the impression of an almost casual ease beneath the weight of power: the splashing around on Cape Cod; the kid daughter romping through the Oval Office, the droll wit which came as naturally to him as his habitual satyrism. Of the acute physical pain, the relentless drug treatments, the hospital visits, Addison’s disease, spastic colitis we knew nothing. Horsing around with the brothers and the children on the Massachusetts beach, he was President Fine Fettle, rough-house glamour with the bonus of brains. When we looked around at our own politicians we saw pipes, tweeds, the brandy snifter or the mug of tea. So of course we took his murder personally, angry at being robbed of the merry mind; a big chunk of the future blown away in the Dallas motorcade. Norman Mailer spoke for all of us when he said, “For a time we felt the country was ours. Now it’s theirs again.”

A lot of the Best and Brightest who had worked for and with JFK felt much the same way. Nine months after his death, during the 1964 Democratic Convention that was more like a coronation than a nomination for Lyndon Johnson, you could hear the sound of one hand clapping among the survivors of Camelot.

more here.