Cover image for The Kennedy assassination--24 hours after : Lyndon B. Johnson's pivotal first day as president
Title:
The Kennedy assassination--24 hours after : Lyndon B. Johnson's pivotal first day as president
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, c2009.
ISBN:
9780465018703
Physical Description:
xvii, 294 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
"It all began so beautifully" -- "They do love this president, don't they" -- "They're going to kill us all" -- "Dave, he's dead" -- "The condition is not good" -- "He's gone" -- "Mr. President" -- "Anybody can swear you in" -- "I have only one president" -- "I do solemnly swear" -- "Rufus, where's my hat" -- "I ask for your help and God's" -- "It's getting late, Mr. President" -- "It was a gray day, fitting the occasion" -- "Honey, you stay as long as you want" -- "In Kennedy's shadow".
Abstract:
Historian Steven Gillon tells the story of how Johnson consolidated power in the twenty-four hours following the assassination. Based on scrupulous research and new archival sources, this narrative sheds new and surprising light on one of the most written-about events of the twentieth century.--From publisher description.
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Summary

Summary

Riding in an open-topped convertible through Dallas on November 22, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson heard a sudden explosive sound at 12:30 PM. The Secret Service sped him away to safety, but not until 1:20 PM did he learn that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Sworn in next to a bloodstained Jackie Kennedy at 2:40 PM, Johnson worked feverishly until 3:00 in the morning, agonizing about the future of both his nation and his party. Unbeknownst to him, his actions had already determined the tragic outcome of his presidency.

In November 22, 1963 , historian Steven Gillon tells the story of how Johnson consolidated power in the twenty-four hours following the assassination. Based on scrupulous research and new archival sources, this gripping narrative sheds new and surprising light on one of the most written-about events of the twentieth century.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this fresh take on John F. Kennedy's assassination, history professor Gillon probes the chaos that surrounded Vice President Johnson's ascension to power as he coped with both the trauma of Kennedy's murder and the enmity of Kennedy's inner circle. At Parkland Hospital in Dallas, a battle of wills between Johnson and JFK's inner circle-including appointments secretary Kenneth O'Donnell and military aide Brigadier General Godfrey McHugh-contributed to the confusion then (and now) over the timeline of Kennedy's death and Johnson's assuming the presidency. Leading the anti-Johnson contingent was the president's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who tussled with LBJ over the swearing-in details (both disagreed bitterly about the episode afterwards). Johnson faltered as he moved into the spotlight, trying in vain to adopt Camelot as his own by trying (unsuccessfully) to console Jackie and persuading (with varying degrees of success) Kennedy staffers to stay on. Gillon captures the two faces of Johnson-the insecure second-guesser and the brilliant politician-as well as the earliest signs of the Johnson presidency's eventual failure. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.


Booklist Review

Contemplating two famous books about November 22, 1963, William Manchester's The Death of a President (1967) and Jim Bishop's The Day Kennedy Was Shot (1968), historian Gillon concludes that their respective pro-Kennedy and pro-Johnson biases, plus archives newly accessible to scholars, warrants this review of Lyndon Johnson's succession. Gillon's narrative structurally accompanies Johnson from the moment shots rang out to when he was informed of JFK's death, followed by his taking of the oath and the flight back to Washington. Intrinsically dramatic, these details are historically important as recrimination ensued between the LBJ and RFK camps about what occurred on the plane, with fateful political repercussions. Summarizing LBJ and RFK's preexisting antagonism, and capturing the grief-stricken and frantic atmosphere aboard the presidential jet, Gillon tries to reconcile rival versions of the same incidents by Johnson, Kennedy, and their supporters. Gillon credits Johnson with an able performance under tragic circumstances, though not with inerrancy concerning events on the plane. This title is bound for high popularity, elevated further by the author's visibility as a host of History Channel programs.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2009 Booklist


Library Journal Review

The hours following JFK's assassination were a time of confusion, sadness, and fear, which Gillon (resident historian, History Channel) vividly describes in this companion book to a History Channel documentary airing this month. The author relies on both standard secondary sources and newly declassified documents to show that the Johnson era, with its Great Society triumphs and Vietnam failure, mirrored LBJ's combination of actions on that first harrowing day. Gillon credits LBJ for his calming leadership demonstrated through skilled use of television and for his sympathetic kindness toward the now-widowed Jacqueline Kennedy, but he also shows how Johnson's self-destructive insecurity, inflamed by Robert Kennedy's contempt for him, also manifested itself. Included is an intriguing discussion of the vulnerability of the United States during the 40 minutes between JFK's death and Johnson's learning of it. VERDICT This fast-paced book will appeal to general readers and historians who will likely have different opinions about how the first day following JFK's death set the course for the Johnson years. See Max Holland's The Kennedy Assassination Tapes for first-person transcripts of much of what's covered here.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 ôIt All Began So Beautifulöp. 1
2 ôThey Do Love This President, Don't They?öp. 23
3 ôThey're Going to Kill Us Allöp. 43
4 ôDave, He's Deadöp. 53
5 ôThe Condition Is Not Goodöp. 67
6 ôHe's Goneöp. 75
7 ôMr. Presidentöp. 87
8 ôAnybody Can Swear You Inöp. 103
9 ôI Have Only One Presidentö|P119
10 ôI Do Solemnly Swearöp. 135
11 ôThere Was Tenseness on That Planeöp. 143
12 ôRufus, Where's My Hat?öp. 161
13 ôYou're the Men I Trust the Mostöp. 169
14 ôIt's Getting Late, Mr. Presidentöp. 181
l5 ôI Remember the Word That He Used-Obsceneöp. 193
16 ôIt Was a Gray Day, Fitting the Occasionöp. 199
17 ôHoney, You Stay As Long As You Wantöp. 213
Conclusion: In Kennedy's Shadowp. 225
Acknowledgmentsp. 239
Notesp. 241
Note on Sourcesp. 273
Indexp. 277