The Manchester Affair

Thursday, June 16, AD 2016


Among my recent book purchases is a tome by John Corry, then a New York Times reporter, entitled The Manchester Affair and published in 1967.  The book details the battle by Robert F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy against the late William Manchester, historian and biographer.  Prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Manchester had published a laudatory look at Kennedy, A Portrait of A President.  After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, both Robert F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy were looking for an author to give an “official” Kennedy view of the death of JFK.   Manchester, who was the third author the offer was made to, jumped at the chance.

The book became something of a chase after the White Whale by Manchester who read the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission several times before it was published, interviewed well over a thousand people, including both Jackie Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy twice, and suffered a collapse from exhaustion.  He finished writing the book, The Death of a President, in 1966 during an eight week stay at a hospital in Portland, Connecticut.

The Kennedys were dismayed by the volume:  Robert F. Kennedy by the hostile attitude in the book towards President Johnson and Jackie by too much blood and gore in the depiction of the assassination, and by Manchester revealing too much of her private thoughts, which she had confided in him, during the day of the assassination and the days following.  (Robert Kennedy hated LBJ, a sentiment returned with interest by LBJ.  However, he understood that a book that would appear to be a hired Kennedy “hit” against LBJ would do him no good if he decided to run against him in 1968.)

Manchester, who viewed his work with the love of a parent for a child, was willing to make some revisions, but not nearly enough to placate the Kennedys.  The Kennedys foolishly filed suit to enjoin the publication on the grounds that Manchester had violated the terms of his original agreement with the Kennedys, (he hadn’t), thus greatly enhancing the interest of the public in the book.  The suit was settled by Manchester in January 1967 agreeing to  cut some 1600 words and seven pages from the 654 page book.  Manchester described the cuts at the time as “harmless” and the settlement was a face saving device for the Kennedys retreating from a legal fight they could not win.  The book was a massive best seller, selling over a million copies, and Look magazine paying the then unheard of price of $650,000.00 for serialization rights.  Manchester went on to write such acclaimed works as his biography of Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar, still the best of the many books on MacArthur in my opinion, his two volume look at Winston Churchill up to 1940, subsequently completed after Manchester’s death by another author, and his haunting memoir of his service as a Marine in World War II, Goodbye DarknessA Memoir of the Pacific War.

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5 Responses to The Manchester Affair

  • American Caesar is by far not only the best book on Douglas MacArthur but also on the American-Asian confluence of that era.

    Goodbye Darkness, however, might be a deeply flawed book, depending on one’s perspective. I loaned my copy to a friend who had been in the Marines. He came back to me and said that Manchester’s first person accounts did not add up, so he checked it against some of his other history books. He confirmed that there was no way Manchester could have served in every location he mentioned, simply due to the way the Corp rotated its units in and out of combat. He then told me that he found buried in the epilogue of Goodbye Darkness a vaguely-worded one-sentence disclaimer where Manchester admitted as much (my copy is now boxed up somewhere due to my lack of shelf space, so I can’t verify the line).
    I certainly do not want to besmirch Manchester’s real service in combat on Okinawa, the honesty of that account in
    Goodbye Darkness, the relevance of the book’s other stories for those tempted to glamorize war, and it’s importance in prompting Congress to act to stop the desecration of American war memorials on various Pacific islands. It IS an entertaining read, but by being a 100% first-person account it is not 100% factual history. Or so I have been told by a person I trust.

  • Your friend is correct. As Manchester noted in his book, this was a fictionalized memoir which he intended to cover the Marine war effort in the Pacific. This can be disconcerting, because MacArthur does not reveal this until, I think, page 395, but he did not intend to deceive, and he did note that he only fought on Okinawa.

  • Again and again the Power People exhibit the belief that if they say a dog’s tail is a leg, then a dog has five legs- and if they control the media and the message, all the unpowered folks will believe that dogs have five legs. We now know that JFK was an habitual drug user [and also St Jackie], a sex addict,groom of an annulled marriage, and had lunch threesomes with his “secretaries” Frick and Frack. I can still see the images of home shrines with votice candles, an image of Jesus showing his sacred heart, and a photo of JFK. Don’y you hope you live long enough to learn the truth about our current Power People? Instances of seeing the likes of the videos of the demonic acts of Planned Parenthood are rare – but now and then we do learn the truth. Guy McClung, San Antonio TX

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Presidential Assassins: Loser

Thursday, February 18, AD 2016

A trifle over 62 years separated the assassination of William McKinley and that of John F. Kennedy.  The American people had grown perhaps complacent in the thought that presidential assassinations were a thing of the past, although Giuseppe Zangara could easily have assassinated President-Elect Roosevelt instead of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak in 1933, and Puerto Rican terrorists came perilously close to assassinating Harry Truman in 1950.  Nevertheless, the assassination of John F. Kennedy hit America hard.

Back in 1963 I was in second grade, but I was not in school.  Sick with pneumonia, my mother had taken me to the doctor and he had prescribed penicillin.  After getting my prescription filled my mother took me home.  She turned on our television set and I planted myself on the couch to watch it.  As we watched television we saw the initial news flashes that President Kennedy had been shot.  This was on a Friday, and the remainder of that day and the weekend, my mother, father and I and my brother practically lived in front of the television set, riveted by the around the clock coverage, something unprecedented in this country before that dreadful day.

Conspiracy theories have flourished almost before Kennedy’s corpse was cold, a great many people unwilling to accept that a frustrated loser like Lee Harvey Oswald could have been the assassin of Kennedy.

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3 Responses to Presidential Assassins: Loser

  • I have seen nothing to convince me that Oswald was the assassin and that he acted completely alone.

    Did you drop a “not” in there?

  • Thanks for catching that Foxfier! The correction has been made.

  • the blog has been a bit recondite as of late- i’d like to reignite the fire that is called Trump, if possible. the following is an interesting read ….

    Subject: RE: Interesting Trump read

    The author, Don Fredrick, on December 10, 2015, sums up a popular debate fairly well if you read it to the end.
    If he steps on your preferred candidate’s toes…remember, it’s an opinion that’s expressed here, not the Ten Commandments..

    Why Trump?

    You may or may not agree but he makes many good points!!
    All of the candidates have baggage. Read this with an open mind, even if you disagree.
    Excellent read. The author is the political correspondent for Bloomberg and wrote extensively about Obama even before he was elected and he did it with facts and more facts.

    “Who is Donald Trump?”
    The better question may be, “What is Donald Trump?” The answer: A giant middle finger from average Americans to the political and media establishment.
    Some Trump supporters are like the 60’s white girls who dated black guys just to annoy their parents. But most Trump supporters have simply had it with the Demosocialists and the “Republicans in Name Only.” They know there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Hillary
    Rodham and Jeb Bush, and only a few cents worth between Rodham and the other GOP candidates.
    Ben Carson is not an “establishment” candidate, but the Clinton machine would pulverize Carson, and the somewhat rebellious Ted Cruz will (justifiably so) be tied up with natural born citizen lawsuits (as might Marco Rubio). The Trump supporters figure they may as well have some fun tossing Molotov cocktails at Wall Street and Georgetown while they watch the nation collapse. Besides, lightning might strike, Trump might get elected, and he might actually fix a few things.
    Stranger things have happened. (The nation elected a Marxist in 2008 and Bruce Jenner now wears designer dresses.
    Millions of conservatives are justifiably furious. They gave the Republicans control of the House in 2010 and control of the Senate in 2014 and have seen them govern no differently than Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Yet those same voters are supposed to trust the GOP in 2016? Why? Trump did not come from out of nowhere. His candidacy was created by the last six years of Republican failures.
    No reasonable person can believe that any of the establishment candidates will slash federal spending, rein in the Federal Reserve, cut burdensome business regulations, reform the tax code, or eliminate useless federal departments (the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, etc.). Even Ronald Reagan was unable to eliminate the Department of Education. (Of course, getting shot at tends to make a person less of a risk-taker.) No reasonable person can believe that any of the nation’s major problems will be solved by Rodham, Bush.
    Many Americans, and especially Trump supporters, have had it with:
    Anyone named Bush
    Anyone named Clinton
    Anyone who’s held political office
    Political correctness
    Illegal immigration
    Massive unemployment
    Phony “official” unemployment and inflation figures
    Welfare waste and fraud
    People faking disabilities to go on the dole
    VA waiting lists
    TSA airport groping
    The Federal Reserve’s money-printing schemes
    Wall Street crooks like Jon Corzine
    Michelle Obama’s vacations
    Michelle Obama’s food police
    Barack Obama’s golf
    Barack Obama’s arrogant and condescending lectures
    Barack Obama’s criticism/hatred of America
    Valerie Jarrett
    “Holiday trees”
    Hollywood hypocrites
    Global warming nonsense
    Cop killers
    Gun confiscation threats
    Stagnant wages
    Boys in girls’ bathrooms
    Whiny, spoiled college students who can’t even place the Civil War in the correct century . . .and that’s just the short list.
    Trump supporters believe that no Democrat wants to address these issues, and that few Republicans have the courage to address these issues. They certainly know that none of the establishment candidates are better than barely listening to them, and Trump is their way of saying, “Screw you, Hillary Rodham Rove Bush!” The more the talking head political pundits insult the Trump supporters, the more supporters he gains. (The only pundits who seem to understand what is going on are Democrats Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell and Republican John LeBoutillier. All the others argue that the voters will eventually “come to their senses” and support an establishment candidate.)
    But America does not need a tune-up at the same old garage. It needs a new engine installed by experts–and neither Rodham nor Bush are mechanics with the skills or experience to install it.
    Hillary Rodham is not a mechanic; she merely manages a garage her philandering husband abandoned. Jeb Bush is not a mechanic; he merely inherited a garage. Granted, Trump is also not a mechanic, but he knows where to find the best ones to work in his garage. He won’t hire his brother-in-law or someone to whom he owes a favor; he will hire someone who lives and breathes cars.
    “How dare they revolt!” the “elites” are bellowing. Well, the citizens are daring to revolt, and the RINOs had better get used to it. “But Trump will hand the election to Clinton!” That is what the Karl Rove-types want people to believe, just as the leftist media eagerly shoved “Maverick” McCain down GOP throats in 2008–knowing he would lose to Obama. But even if Trump loses and Rodham wins, she would not be dramatically different than Bush or most of his fellow candidates. They would be nothing more than caretakers, not working to restore America’s greatness but merely presiding over the collapse of a massively in-debt nation. A nation can perhaps survive open borders; a nation can perhaps survive a generous welfare system. But no nation can survive both–and there is little evidence that the establishment candidates of either party understand that. The United States cannot forever continue on the path it is on. At some point it will be destroyed by its debt.
    Yes, Trump speaks like a bull wandering through a china shop, but the truth is that the borders do need to be sealed; we cannot afford to feed, house, and clothe 200,000 Syrian immigrants for decades (even if we get inordinately lucky and none of them are ISIS infiltrators or Syed Farook wannabes); the world is at war with radical Islamists; all the world’s glaciers are not melting.
    Is Trump the perfect candidate? Of course not. Neither was Ronald Reagan. But unless we close our borders and restrict immigration, all the other issues are irrelevant. One terrorist blowing up a bridge or a tunnel could kill thousands. One jihadist poisoning a city’s water supply could kill tens of thousands. One electromagnetic pulse attack from a single Iranian nuclear device could kill tens of millions. Faced with those possibilities, most Americans probably don’t care that Trump relied on eminent domain to grab up a final quarter acre of property for a hotel, or that he boils the blood of the Muslim Brotherhood thugs running the Council on American-Islamic Relations. While Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s greatest fear is someone giving a Muslim a dirty look, most Americans are more worried about being gunned down at a shopping mall by a crazed lunatic who treats his prayer mat better than his three wives and who thinks 72 virgins are waiting for him in paradise.
    The establishment is frightened to death that Trump will win, but not because they believe he will harm the nation. They are afraid he will upset their taxpayer-subsidized apple carts. While Obama threatens to veto legislation that spends too little, they worry that Trump will veto legislation that spends too much. You can be certain that if an establishment candidate wins in November 2016, his or her cabinet positions will be filled with the same people we’ve seen before. The washed-up has-beens of the Clinton and Bush administrations will be back in charge. The hacks from Goldman Sachs will continue to call the shots. Whether it is Bush’s Karl Rove or Clinton’s John Podesta who makes the decisions in the White House will matter little. If the establishment wins, America loses.

Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

Monday, October 22, AD 2012

The world came very close to nuclear war half a century back.  The above video is of the speech that President Kennedy gave fifty years ago on October 22, 1962.  Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in placing nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the world to the brink.  The crisis was ultimately resolved by the removal of the Soviet missiles in exchange for two agreements between the US and the Soviet Union:  1.  No invasion of Cuba by the US;  and 2.  The removal of obsolete American Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey and Southern Italy.  Unsurprisingly the US kept secret the removal of the Jupiter missiles.  Surprisingly the Soviets also kept mum about the removal of the Jupiter missiles which led to the perception abroad and within the Soviet Union that Khrushchev had lost his confrontation with Kennedy, and paved the way for the Central Committee coup led by Leonid Brezhnev which toppled  Khrushchev from power in October 1964.   Here is the text of the speech:

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2 Responses to Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

  • Even though Khrushchev was a butcher in the Ukraine, he redeemed himself in the end, but not our friend Fidel – Cuban patriot – who right till the end was egging the Soviets on to fight a nuclear war in Cuba.

  • I will never forget that day. I remeber my mother coming to me in Miami all excited about what kennedy had said.
    My commnets were the following:

    Nothing happened all we know is that some cylinder like things covered bu canvas were removed because no inspection was made. POLITICAL MOVE ONLY