The Manchester Affair

Thursday, June 16, AD 2016

william-manchester-1922-2004-american-everett

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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If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.

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The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.”  Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs.  These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.

The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.

It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas  imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries.

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6 Responses to The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

  • I appreciate your message of hope.

    Your title is way, way too long!

  • The Church, the holy bishops and priests, the laiety, and the Holy Father certainly have Satan running scared!

  • I have been told by some evangelicals that there belief that eventually all orthodox christians will be under the care and protection of the Catholic Church. Even though there is disagreement among them. I tend to agree with there reasoning and from the signs we are seeing. I pray that the holy spirit comes to all those that need the help to come home.

  • As usual Dave, you tell like it is. Although some did not like Bishop Tobin’s public response to Patrick Kennedy, who found out quickly that his ilk will no longer be tolerated in his actions against the tenets of the Church, I belive more and more Bishops have come to the realization, that speaking out after conferring with these so called “catholics” has strenghtened the laity. Take care and God Bless.

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  • Splendid column as usual, Dave. No doubt the damage wrought by Luther will be repaired and unity restored, thanks to the secularists whose relentless assault have recently spurred the Christians to draw a line in the sand with the Manhattan Declaration to show that they will not render to Caesar what is God’s.