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November 17, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: If Kennedy Lived by Jeff Greenfield

If Kennedy Lived by Jeff GreenfieldIf Kennedy Lived
The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History
by Jeff Greenfield
Narrated by Tom Stechschulte

Genre: Speculative Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: October 22, 2013
Format: Audio, 8 hours | 19 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Rating: 3½ of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

November 22, 1963: What if Kennedy were not killed that fateful day? What would the 1964 campaign have looked like? Would changes have been made to the ticket? How would Kennedy, in his second term, have approached Vietnam, civil rights, the Cold War? With Hoover as an enemy, would his indiscreet private life finally have become public? Would his health issues have become so severe as to literally cripple his presidency? And what small turns of fate in the days and years before Dallas might have kept him from ever reaching the White House in the first place?

My Thoughts:

The story begins on the morning of November 22, 1963, with the assumption that all events prior to that date happened just as they did in history. However, one fateful decision would be made this day, a change that would alter the course of history. It was something that very possibly could have happened: The bubble top was left on Kennedy’s limousine and he survived the assassination attempt in Dallas, similar to what happened to Ronald Reagan years later in the actual historical timeline.

The author goes on to imagine the Kennedy presidency maintaining plausibility by using real events and actual quotes from history. I was hoping for a fictionalized story about an alternate America, but that is not what this book is about. The focus is on political issues and predictions, on how they would have turned out had a Kennedy Administration been making the decisions. For example, knowing that Kennedy wanted to avoid an all out war in Vietnam, how would that have affected his relationship with Congress and the ability to pass other legislation such as the Civil Rights Act.

To become truly immersed in this book the reader needs a good foundation in the history of the era. Political junkies will appreciate the detail and the research that went into this novel. The casual reader may not catch a lot of twists in history and I’m sure I missed a few of them myself. I liked the author’s use of actual quotes from real historical figures and attributing them to other people, times or places. For example a joke told by Johnny Carson about Nixon was attributed to Johnson in the alternate time line. There were more but I was listening to the audio and didn’t write them down.

The book was written as if it were non-fiction and is read in a news documentary style. Tom Stechschulte did a nice job with the narration. His clear tone and authoritative voice made it easy to believe I was listening to an investigative report.

It’s been fifty years since John Kennedy’s assassination but the topic is as fascinating and timely as ever. If Kennedy Lived will be appreciated most by political buffs but you don’t have to be a historian to enjoy this speculative tale.

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Source: Review copy
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. irene / Nov 17 2013 4:56 pm

    I’m anxious to read this one. A story line that never gets tiresome.

    Like

  2. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Nov 17 2013 9:33 pm

    Too bad this wasn’t better. Born & raised in MA, we are a family who idolizes the Kennedy’s and what they’ve done for the underdogs,

    Like

  3. stacybuckeye / Nov 27 2013 12:58 am

    I feel like the real story is so compelling that it would completely overshadow this fictionalized version for me.

    Like

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