The Road to Camelot
A freshly told, endlessly riveting story that captures the reader every step along the way. --D....

The Road to Camelot Details

TitleThe Road to Camelot
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseMay 9th, 2017
PublisherSimon & Schuster
ISBN1501105566
ISBN-139781501105562
Number of pages433 pages
Rating
GenrePolitics, History, North American Hi..., American History, Nonfiction, Biography, Presidents

The Road to Camelot Review

  • Aaron Finestone
    March 25, 2017
    May 29 will be the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy. Our 35th President is remembered today for his personal style (drop dead handsome) and his inspiration to the nation ("Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."). However, his biggest achievement was breaking through the wall of religious prejudice. Never before and never since, has a Roman Catholic been elected President.Thomas Oliphant (Boston Globe national correspondent) and Curtis Wilkie ( May 29 will be the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy. Our 35th President is remembered today for his personal style (drop dead handsome) and his inspiration to the nation ("Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."). However, his biggest achievement was breaking through the wall of religious prejudice. Never before and never since, has a Roman Catholic been elected President.Thomas Oliphant (Boston Globe national correspondent) and Curtis Wilkie (journalism professor at the University of Mississippi and former Boston Globe national reporter) have written an enjoyable account of JFK's five year quest for the Presidency. The Road to Camelot (Simon and Schuster) covers JFK's bid for the 1956 Vice Presidential nomination, the 1960 primaries and convention, the campaign against Richard Nixon, and the effort to build the Black vote. The book is rich in political lore--campaign strategy, power struggles within the party, the experts, the journalists, the bosses and the activists.Most significant in the 1960 election was the religious issue. In less tolerant times, Kennedy had to defeat the perception that conservative Protestants would never vote for a Catholic. To reassure Protestants, JFK emphasized his commitment to separation of church and state. Meanwhile, he worked to boost the urban Catholic vote.On election day, JFK won the popular vote by 112,000 votes. He won the electoral vote by 303 to 219. After examining polls taken in 1960, reviewing press reports, and comparing statistics from prior elections, Oliphant and Wilkie conclude that anti-Catholic bias probably reduced JFK's popular vote. However, strong Catholic support helped him win several battleground states and raised his electoral vote. As we learned in 2016, the electoral vote counts.Happy 100th birthday, JFK.
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  • KOMET
    June 2, 2017
    This magisterial, ambitious book traces, in considerable detail, the path John F. Kennedy undertook in his quest for the Presidency between 1955 and 1960. From the time Kennedy first ran for Congress in 1946, he faced many challenges - both professionally and personally (given the periodic precariousness of his health, which remained largely a secret during his lifetime) - in forging a career in public service. "THE ROAD TO CAMELOT" shows the reader how it was that Kennedy in 1955 (by then a fre This magisterial, ambitious book traces, in considerable detail, the path John F. Kennedy undertook in his quest for the Presidency between 1955 and 1960. From the time Kennedy first ran for Congress in 1946, he faced many challenges - both professionally and personally (given the periodic precariousness of his health, which remained largely a secret during his lifetime) - in forging a career in public service. "THE ROAD TO CAMELOT" shows the reader how it was that Kennedy in 1955 (by then a freshman Senator) with the assistance of one of his top aides (Ted Sorenson), a dedicated 'band of brothers' who had played a significant and invaluable role in helping Kennedy further his career (i.e. the 'Irish Mafia', which consisted of Kenny O'Donnell, Lawrence O'Brien, Dave Powers, and Dick Donahue), his brother Robert, and several key Democrats (many of them on the state level) who recognized Kennedy's potential and devoted themselves to him - began the long and laborious task of capitalizing on the national prominence he received from his failed attempt to win the vice presidential slot on the Adlai Stevenson ticket at the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. What is significant is that Kennedy started campaigning across the country in a rather understated way considerably earlier than any of his potential rivals in the Democratic Party. Indeed, the party leadership underestimated Kennedy as did many others. His youth, Catholicism, and his lack of any significant, legislative achievements were regarded as factors that would discount him as a viable presidential candidate. What also struck me as truly remarkable and incredible is the organization that Kennedy and his supporters were able to develop in many of the states (often as a way of bypassing some of the state Democratic Party machines that were either mildly non-receptive or openly opposed to his candidacy) between 1957 and 1960. In the process, future presidential campaigns would never be the same again. For that reason, "THE ROAD TO CAMELOT" is a book that everyone should read who wants to learn how it was that John F. Kennedy overcame many obstacles and defied the odds to secure the Democratic presidential nomination and be elected President in 1960.
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  • Amy
    February 8, 2017
    An extremely detailed, well-researched look inside the path of JFK. Disclaimer: Advance Reader Copy
  • Samantha Myers
    March 27, 2017
    I received this an ARC of this book from Netgalley and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. I'm a Kennedy buff and pretty much devour anything related so I got excited when I was allowed an early copy. Long story short I think the work that Oliphant and Wilkie put into this book is extraordinary. The level of detail goes beyond most biographies and other things I've read. This is truly a great look into Kennedy and his legacy and effort he put into his campaigns I received this an ARC of this book from Netgalley and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. I'm a Kennedy buff and pretty much devour anything related so I got excited when I was allowed an early copy. Long story short I think the work that Oliphant and Wilkie put into this book is extraordinary. The level of detail goes beyond most biographies and other things I've read. This is truly a great look into Kennedy and his legacy and effort he put into his campaigns.
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  • Bryan Craig
    June 14, 2017
    Most Kennedy history books cover the 1956 Democratic convention then jump to 1960. This is a good book, because it wasn't like that. JFK started his 1960 race much earlier. The authors also use forgotten oral history to cover the choice of LBJ as vice president. Well done.
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  • Peter Mcloughlin
    May 22, 2017
    This book gets one into the nitty gritty of 1950s politics and the election of JFK in 1960. It covers the maneuvers of the Kennedy camp as they sought to gain the White House and their campaigning from about 1956 to the close electoral victory in November of 1960. All the major players of Democratic politics make an appearance from the times. Humphrey, Symington, LBJ, Kefauver, Stephenson et al. Turn of phrase from the time included 'lets get the country moving again' and 'this is 1958 and thing This book gets one into the nitty gritty of 1950s politics and the election of JFK in 1960. It covers the maneuvers of the Kennedy camp as they sought to gain the White House and their campaigning from about 1956 to the close electoral victory in November of 1960. All the major players of Democratic politics make an appearance from the times. Humphrey, Symington, LBJ, Kefauver, Stephenson et al. Turn of phrase from the time included 'lets get the country moving again' and 'this is 1958 and things like this are still going on...' belying an optimistic assumption of progress which we don't hear much anymore but instead a regaining of past idylls these days which hints that maybe we actually did see better days in the past or at least it seems that way.
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  • Patricia
    May 19, 2017
    As a Brit with a passion for history I'm embarrassed to say my American history knowledge is pretty sparse. But I, like many others, have an avid curiosity about The Kennedys. Even now all these years later, to someone who was born years after they died JFK and RFK's charisma and star quality shines.If you're after the usual stories this isn't the book for you. This instead really studies the political wrangling it took to get a Catholic into the White House and reveals how the Kennedys and thei As a Brit with a passion for history I'm embarrassed to say my American history knowledge is pretty sparse. But I, like many others, have an avid curiosity about The Kennedys. Even now all these years later, to someone who was born years after they died JFK and RFK's charisma and star quality shines.If you're after the usual stories this isn't the book for you. This instead really studies the political wrangling it took to get a Catholic into the White House and reveals how the Kennedys and their team subverted the perceived ideas of running for office, shaping the campaign trails of the future.This could have been very dry and dull but it brings alive the era. An excellent informative study.I received this from Netgalley for an honest review.
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  • john Plowright
    May 6, 2017
    Thomas Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie’s ‘The Road to Camelot’ begins in 1955, with both Senate majority leader Lyndon Johnson and President Eisenhower suffering heart attacks – events which led Joseph Kennedy to plant the seed of significant presidential ambition in his second son, John Fitzgerald Kennedy who, at that time and despite nearly ten years in Congress, was still better known as a war hero and socialite then as a serious politician. The book then charts the following five years in which J Thomas Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie’s ‘The Road to Camelot’ begins in 1955, with both Senate majority leader Lyndon Johnson and President Eisenhower suffering heart attacks – events which led Joseph Kennedy to plant the seed of significant presidential ambition in his second son, John Fitzgerald Kennedy who, at that time and despite nearly ten years in Congress, was still better known as a war hero and socialite then as a serious politician. The book then charts the following five years in which JFK defied considerable odds first to win the Democratic nomination and then to defeat Richard Nixon to become the 35th President of the United States in 1960.This story is told in considerable detail and with both style and pace. As well as reminding the reader of many things they may have forgotten the authors shed light on certain mysteries. For example, there is no definitive explanation why Robert Kennedy’s dislike of LBJ was quite so intense but Oliphant and Wilkie plausibly suggest that it may have had its origins in the anger Robert felt on behalf of his father and older sibling when Johnson summarily dismissed Joseph Kennedy’s offer, at the time of Eisenhower’s 1955 hospitalisation, that LBJ put JFK on the ticket as his vice presidential running mate in 1956, in return for lavish campaign funding.Oliphant and Wilkie’s central claim that JFK’s campaigning transformed US politics is not original. Hugh Brogan, for example, in his 1996 biography of Kennedy, had already drawn attention to the fact that the 1960 race occurred at a time of transition from one political system to another, of which Kennedy was the beneficiary, not least because of his expert use of the primaries, which alone could demonstrate his ability to overcome the handicap represented by his Catholicism. Kennedy did not, at this time, need to enter more than a sample of the primaries but he did need to show that he could overcome substantial opposition, and succeeded in doing so by besting Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia primary. Indeed, by taking 61% of the vote there he all but guaranteed the nomination.It is in connection with the West Virginia primary that Oliphant and Wilkie devote most space to the alleged links between JFK’s campaigning and organized crime, although they also have something to say on the “controversies that would engulf the integrity” of the 1960 count in Illinois, in which Kennedy crucially came out ahead by 8,800 out of 4.6 million votes cast. The 1960 result was so close that any number of factors, such as Robert Kennedy’s courting of the black vote or Nixon’s refusal of make up for the televised debate, could have made all the difference and Oliphant and Wilkie judiciously explore all of these what-ifs and might-have-beens.The impression that Kennedy ‘stole the election’ may not have been definitively laid to rest by Oliphant and Wilkie but their enjoyable account of JFK’s road to Camelot certainly offers much for both expert and general reader to savour.
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  • Richard West
    June 14, 2017
    This is for political junkies like me.....JFK admirers.....followers of American history and anyone who is just fascinated by the political process, but not necessarily a junkie.John F. Kennedy did not suddenly decide in 1959 he was going to run for the Presidency in 1960 - he decided that in 1956 after (fortunately) losing out on the Vice Presidential nomination. Oliphant and co-author Curtis Wilkie give an in-depth look at how JFK plotted and worked tirelessly towards achieving the 1960 nomina This is for political junkies like me.....JFK admirers.....followers of American history and anyone who is just fascinated by the political process, but not necessarily a junkie.John F. Kennedy did not suddenly decide in 1959 he was going to run for the Presidency in 1960 - he decided that in 1956 after (fortunately) losing out on the Vice Presidential nomination. Oliphant and co-author Curtis Wilkie give an in-depth look at how JFK plotted and worked tirelessly towards achieving the 1960 nomination beginning after the 1956 election. The authors have interviewed over the years countless people who were part of the process, listened to oral histories from those who are no longer alive and gone through countless reams of paper and documents, even notes that people saved to put together a comprehensive look at just what took place over 5 years, with Kennedy eventually achieving what many said was impossible - winning the Presidency and defeating the Republican Party's supposedly unbeatable candidate, Vice President Richard Nixon.This is one of the better books on Kennedy which doesn't focus on the assassination and in these days where everything the President does seems to wind up with a Congressional investigation and witch hunt which reeks of the McCarthy days of the mid-'50's, is a refreshing look at a time when politics were much more exciting. It's a must-read for political junkies and those who are interested in seeing what it used to be like when politics were a lot more fun and interesting.
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  • D
    May 27, 2017
    This is a workmanlike job from two fine reporters, and is recommended for those who have not read much about JFK or the 1960 campaign; it is in effect an adequate, updated "companion" to Theodore H. White's Making Of The President 1960, but in no sense supplants it as literature. Also particularly recommended for those who fit in the above category who are under the age of about 35. Unfortunately for anyone who is well read in the biographical and historical literature of the time that has been This is a workmanlike job from two fine reporters, and is recommended for those who have not read much about JFK or the 1960 campaign; it is in effect an adequate, updated "companion" to Theodore H. White's Making Of The President 1960, but in no sense supplants it as literature. Also particularly recommended for those who fit in the above category who are under the age of about 35. Unfortunately for anyone who is well read in the biographical and historical literature of the time that has been published since, roughly, Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Fitzgeralds and The Kennedys in 1987, there is not much new here, other than the appropriate crediting of several people whose significant roles in the campaign have not heretofore been noted. The book could have been better edited, as it frequently repeats information previously imparted, and in addition takes too much space identifying people and events already known to most with any knowledge. It seems to have suffered from marketing schizophrenia, in that it promises much to readers seeking new information, while barely delivering, and yet seems to have been either written or edited for an audience possessing very little knowledge.
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  • Richard Brulotte
    June 21, 2017
    Having been in elementary school in Massachusetts when Kennedy had been elected president, I had little recollection or understanding of what went into planning and winning an election. This book not only exposed who Kennedy --the man and legend -- truly was all about, but told the underlying story behind the methods he employed to gain the office he so desired which revolutionized the whole process of running for the White House! Couldn't put the book down and expect most readers will feel the Having been in elementary school in Massachusetts when Kennedy had been elected president, I had little recollection or understanding of what went into planning and winning an election. This book not only exposed who Kennedy --the man and legend -- truly was all about, but told the underlying story behind the methods he employed to gain the office he so desired which revolutionized the whole process of running for the White House! Couldn't put the book down and expect most readers will feel the same way.
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  • Chris Carson
    May 13, 2017
    Fast paced, well written and great storytelling provides both the familiar and a number of less well known moments in that pivotal 1960 Presidential election. Highly Recommended.
  • David Glickman
    June 11, 2017
    This is a good account of JFK's campaign for president. It tells the story well, but it does not break new ground. If you have not read much about JFK, you will enjoy this book.
  • Yosef Shapiro
    June 4, 2017
    This book follows JFK from his failed 1956 bid for the VP nomination thru his run for the Presidency in 1960 .
  • Kayla Tornello
    April 11, 2017
    This book offers an inside look into how JFK's presidential campaign was ultimately won. It was really interesting to find out what happened behind the scenes. I was fascinated by the ways in which the campaign broke with tradition and explored new ways to do things. I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. Yay!
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