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Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963

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20 Segments




The Politics Of Passing 1964's Civil Rights Act.

The act, among other things, ended the era of legal segregation in public accommodations, like restaurants and hotels. This year marks the 50th anniversary of its passage. Author Todd Purdum joins Fresh Air to talk about the legislative and political battles that surrounded it.


How Live TV Helped America Mourn The Loss Of JFK.

Critic David Bianculli remembers watching the original news coverage of Kennedy's assassination — four days of unprecedented television — when he was 10 years old. He recalls how from that point on, TV, not radio, was the dominant medium for breaking news.


Botched Investigation Fuels Kennedy Conspiracy Theories

It's been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and polls show that a majority of Americans still believe Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin. Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act, explores what keeps these conspiracy theories alive.


In 'Passage,' Caro Mines LBJ's Changing Political Roles.

The fourth volume in Robert Caro's monumental biography of Lyndon Johnson is The Passage of Power; it explores the period between 1958 and 1964 during which Johnson went from powerful Senate majority leader to powerless vice president to — suddenly — president of the United States.


Liz Carpenter, Feisty LBJ Aide, Dies at 89

A fiery feminist, former political reporter and founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, Carpenter was the person who wrote the 58-word text that newly sworn-in President Lyndon B. Johnson read when he returned to Washington after President Kennedy's assassination. LBJ's onetime executive assistant was also press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson; Fresh Air remembers her with excerpts from a 1987 interview.


Pete Hamill Remembers Robert F. Kennedy

When the candidate was assassinated 40 years ago, Hamill was there: He was Kennedy's friend and had helped persuade him to run for president. A journalist and author, Hamill covered the story for The Village Voice.


Bianculli on JFK TV Specials

TV critic David Bianculli reviews some of the network specials marking the 40th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They include the PBS documentary JFK: Breaking the News, about how local media covered the assassination, and Court TV’s Forensic Files: The JFK Assassination: Investigation Reopened, (both on tonight). ABC also presents a special on the subject, Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination — Beyond Conspiracy.


Author Robert Dallek, on John F. Kennedy

Robert Dallek has written a new biography of John F. Kennedy, An Unfinished Life. He looked into medical records to reveal new information about Kennedy's health problems, and he also discusses Kennedy's extramarital affairs and his life as a soldier. Dallek is a professor of history at Boston University. He previously wrote the biography Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times.


The Unsolved Mystery of a Kennedy Mistress' Death

Biographer Nina Burleigh talks about Mary Pinochet Meyer who it is believed was a mistress of President John F. Kennedy. She was found shot and murdered a year after Kennedy's assassination. Burleigh has written about Meyer's life in "A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer. (Bantam)


Norman Mailer Works to Solve "An American Mystery"

The two time Pulitzer Prize winning novelist joins us to talk about his new book Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery. Mailer says we must ask "Who was Oswald?" as a prelude to asking "Who killed JFK?" The book profiles Lee Harvey Oswald's life. It's Mailer's 28th book.


How Martin Luther King, Jr. Lit Up the World

Journalist Taylor Branch says most histories of the African American civil rights movement written by white people are missing heart and context. He seeks to avoid this pitfall in his new book, Parting the Waters. Branch joins Fresh Air to discuss the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. in black churches, and how John F. Kennedy and J. Edgar Hoover attempted to control him for their own ends.


Television Retrospectives of JFK's Assassination

25 years after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, several networks are rebroadcasting the original news coverage of that event, or airing new specials. TV critic David Bianculli shares his thoughts on a few of these upcoming programs.


"Libra" is a "Cold, Brilliant Moon of a Book"

Book critic John Leonard says that Don DeLillo's new novel is the culmination of the author's career writing great books. The heavily-researched, well-orchestrated story posits that the JFK assassination was an elaborate plot to regain Cuba, and was intended to have been near miss rather than a successful murder.


"Seven Seconds that Broke the Back of the Century"

Novellist Don DeLillo doesn't like talking about his novels; but he says there's much to discuss about his newest book Libra, based on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. DeLillo sought to fill in the gaps of that story, including what motivated gunman Lee Harvey Oswald.


Harris Wofford on the Leaders of the Sixties.

Harris Wofford was Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy for Civil Rights, the Assistant Director of the Peace Corps, a lawyer for Martin Luther King, Jr., and president of Bryn Mawr University. He currently practices law in Philadelphia. His new book is "Of Kennedys and Kings: Making Sense of the Sixties." He joins the show to discuss the leadership styles of three SIxties' figures: John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.


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