New Nonfiction: Camelot’s Court – Robert Dallek

Our marketing department claims there is an “inexhaustible appeal” to Kennedy books. I hope so because there is a seemingly inexhaustible number of books coming out for the fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. 🙂

This one caught my attention for a couple reasons. First it is by the biographer of An Unfinished Life, a critically acclaimed and bestselling biography of JFK. Second, it’s not yet another take on the man himself. Instead it’s a look at the brain trust Kennedy brought in to advise him. The best way to sound bite this one is that it’s Team of Rivals for the Kennedy administration.

In a first term filled with crises–the Bay of Pigs, Civil Rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam—Kennedy was determined to fill his cabinet with the “best and brightest.” What is fascinating about this book is not so much the advice he was given—but the ways in which he was disappointed by that advice. Kennedy’s choice to resist the “experts” and craft a course based on common sense and personal principles offers a model for today.

This is a beautiful package (I’ve included the wraparound cover) with two eight-page photo inserts. Media includes an interview on CBS This Morning and CNN Piers Morgan Live at on sale on 10/9/13. There will also be a CBS Sunday Morning special on the 50th Anniversary of the JFK. And Dallek will be part of a two part, four hour PBS American Experience airing 11/11/13 and 11/12/13, as well as a panel about JFK on the Diane Rehm Show 11/21/13.

Dallek adds new insights beyond those in his excellent 2003 biography of JFK. Here is a compelling view of the president’s often frustrating interactions with cabinet members and high-placed government officials. Kennedy encouraged this ‘ministry of talent’ to speak their minds, but their advice was often ignored as JFK gained the confidence to rely on his own instincts, learning that the best-intentioned advisers could present bad options.…  Dallek concludes that Kennedy realized that since he could not control events in nearby Cuba, he would certainly not be able to do so in faraway Vietnam; he would likely have found a way out of Vietnam had he served a second term.”
Library Journal (starred review)

Full Cover Image

Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House (9780062065841) by Robert Dallek. $32.50 hardcover. 10/8/13 one day laydown.

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