Camelot's Court
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Camelot's Court : Inside the Kennedy White House

3.58 (397 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's assassination, presidential historian Robert Dallek, whom The New York Times calls "Kennedy's leading biographer," delivers a riveting new portrait of this president and his inner circle of advisors-their rivalries, personality clashes, and political battles. In Camelot's Court, Dallek analyzes the brain trust whose contributions to the successes and failures of Kennedy's administration-including the Bay of Pigs, civil rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam-were indelible.

Kennedy purposefully put together a dynamic team of advisors noted for their brilliance and acumen, including Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, and trusted aides Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger. Yet the very traits these men shared also created sharp divisions. Far from being unified, this was an uneasy band of rivals whose ambitions and clashing beliefs ignited fiery internal debates.

Robert Dallek illuminates a president deeply determined to surround himself with the best and the brightest, who often found himself disappointed with their recommendations. The result, Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House, is a striking portrait of a leader whose wise resistance to pressure and adherence to principle offers a cautionary tale for our own time.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 512 pages
  • 162.56 x 231.14 x 45.72mm | 566.99g
  • Harper
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 16-page b/w photo insert; printed endpapers
  • 006206584X
  • 9780062065841
  • 250,590

Back cover copy

A Globe & Mail 100 Selection

In his acclaimed biography of JFK, Robert Dallek revealed Kennedy, the man and the leader, as never before. In Camelot's Court, he takes an insider's look at the brain trust whose contributions to the successes and failures of Kennedy's administration were indelible.

Kennedy purposefully assembled a dynamic team of advisers noted for their brilliance and acumen, among them Attorney General Robert Kennedy, his "adviser-in-chief"; Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Secretary of State Dean Rusk; National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy; and trusted aides Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger. Yet the very traits these men shared also created sharp divisions. Far from unified, JFK's administration was an uneasy band of rivals whose personal ambitions and clashing beliefs ignited fiery debates behind closed doors.

With skill and balance, Dallek details the contentious and critical issues of Kennedy's years in office, including the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, civil rights, and Vietnam. He illuminates a president who believed deeply in surrounding himself with the best and the brightest, yet who often found himself disappointed in their recommendations. The result is a striking portrait of a leader whose wise resistance to pressure and adherence to personal principles, particularly in matters of foreign affairs, offer a cautionary tale for our own time.

Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Camelot's Court is an intimate tour of a tumultuous White House and a new portrait of the men whose powerful influence shaped the Kennedy legacy.
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Review quote

"Dallek's portraits of advisers including Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Walt Rostow are lapidary, and it is difficult to quarrel with his judgments." -- The New York Times Book Review "Dallek is an assiduous digger into archives. . . . The story of how a glamorous but green young president struggled with conflicting and often bad advice while trying to avoid nuclear Armageddon remains a gripping and cautionary tale of the loneliness of command." -- Evan Thomas, The Washington Post "Think The Best and the Brightest meets Team of Rivals. . . . Dallek is one of the deans of presidential scholarship." -- Beverly Gage, The Nation "Dallek brings us closer to the complexity and the humanity of Kennedy's geopolitics, and helps us grasp the uncertainties he and his men faced in an abbreviated presidency." -- USA Today
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About Robert Dallek

Robert Dallek is the author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 and Nixon and Kissinger, among other books. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and Vanity Fair. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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Rating details

397 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 16% (64)
4 37% (145)
3 38% (152)
2 8% (30)
1 2% (6)
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