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The Dark Side of Camelot Paperback – 2 Feb 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (2 Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000653077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006530770
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover


And he used it all – his father's fortune, and his own beauty, wit, and power – with a heedless, reckless daring. There was no tomorrow, and there was no secret that money and charm could not hide.

In this groundbreaking book, award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh shows us a John F. Kennedy we have never seen before, a man insulated from the normal consequences of behaviour long before he entered the White House. His father, Joe, set the pattern with an arrogance and cunning that have never fully been appreciated: Kennedys could do exactly what they wanted, and could evade any charge brought against them. Kennedys wrote their own moral code.


About the Author

Seymour Hersch is one of America’s premier investigative reporters. In 1969 he wrote the first account of the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam. In the 1970s he worked at the New York Times in Washington and New York. He has won more than a dozen major journalism prizes, including the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and four George Polk Awards.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. HEATH on 23 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
I have never understood the abiding mainly uncritical fascination with the Kennedys, and this book has enough evidence to convince anyone of the family's malign influence on modern politics.
The Kennedy's rise benefitted from the early TV age,and fully exploited it's power to dazzle an undiscerning and unconcerned electorate . This corrosive effect has persisted up to the recent eulogies for Ted's demise.
Their story is the story of modern political power - somehow the soap opera of their lives,filtered through an acquiescent press, plays out as an entertainment for the people,who seem unable and unwilling to recognise the abuses it conceals.
This book is a terrible unending litany of the family's corruption ,immorality,and cynicism - an indictment of the inequality and privilege which blights the land of the free.
The book is eminently readable,moving through the masses of evidence quickly and logically.
Attribution is slightly lackadaisical, but as everyone has a Kennedy story and the main protagonists are not around to complain, the reader has to judge for himself.
Strikingly,much of the evidence incriminates the witnesses,as though ,as in war,all seems fair in promoting the inexorable trajectory of the President.
All this just reinforces the strange truth of American political life -everything is seen and known,but nothing changes - the reality of western democracy.
Packed with information (a lot of bad stuff happened)this is recommended reading for anyone interested in the reality of modern power.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Girth VINE VOICE on 24 May 2012
Format: Paperback
What are politicians for? Do we need them for inspiration - to lead us. Or perspiration, to make things work? After his assassination a young and photogenic John Kennedy (JFK)the best of America's brightest, the flawless Irish Catholic family man, has been idealised. But it took a sniper to win him such adoration.

Having watched the movie "J Edgar" which alluded to the power that the Director of the FBI had over JFK I revisited Seymour Hersh's book. It is a compelling story, the power of the Presidency compromised by the behaviour of the President. What I concluded was both JFK and Hoover chose to serve their own self interest above that of the nation. History has yet to adequately expose both of them, wisely they had loyal staff to destroy the incriminating files.

What Hersh does is to show what John Kennedy did. If you like prurient sexual scandal, did not know JFK had venereal disease, took drugs, habitually consorted with prostitutes, it is well documented. Equally he explains financial and electoral fraud, cohabitation with organised crime and the highest levels of corruption (the deal to dump the General Dynamics F111 - a rotten plane - on the Air Force).

What Hersh does not really explain is how he got away with it. Read the book and try and understand it for yourself. For me Kennedy was a man of his time, a privileged and arrogant risk taker. That was an age where men 'conquered' women and slapped them if they complained, they liked it that way and "no" meant "yes." People smoked between courses at the dinner table and every issue was either black or white. Winning was the American way, and you did not get in their way. What continues to puzzle me - even viewed from where we are now - was how the press corps were so compliant.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Dec 1999
Format: Paperback
Men wanted to be like him, women wanted to be with him. And most of them were! This book charts the amazing private world of Jack Kennedy where anything was possible and he got whatever he wanted which involved the Mafia, Marilyn, Sinatra and the Brat Pack, assasination attempts on Castro, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Cuban Missile Crisis, alleged buying of the elections, the cover up of his first marriage and the endless womanising from all the male members of the Kennedy's. All this from a man who was trusted by millions and is still seen by many as one of the best loved US presidents.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Dec 1997
Format: Hardcover
As a life-long admirer of JFK, one who is still haunted by his death,Hersh's book was another journey into the painful,disturbing and exhilirating time that was the JFK White House. Hersh's book deserves recognition for the degree of research and excellent writing that makes this book an instant classic.What I do have a problem with are some of his conclusions... that because of his sexual obsessions, he was a president out of control, that he did NOT handle the Cuban Missile Crisis well, that the Vietnam involvement was politically motivated, and that Oswald was the lone assassin. I am especially disappointed with the last point, as he really sets up the reader to understand why those in power, the "Cold Warriors," the "dees,dem and dos guys," and the pathetic anti-Castro forces could use treason and murder to reach their aims: get rid of a president,get rid of Castro and "win" the cold war. Hersh stays away from this issue, which should have been the biggest target of his book. I must come to the realization that JFK and his family were typical of the hypocrisy of the powerful. Hersh has successfully moved me to that conclusion. Anyway, his book IS a tour-de-force that should NOT be compared to the Kitty Kelley or Randy Tamborelli trash.
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