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  • Camelot's Court Unabridged

  • Inside the Kennedy White House
  • By: Robert Dallek
  • Narrated by: James Lurie
  • Length: 16 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Summary

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.

©2013 Robert Dallek (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Camelot's Court Unabridged

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    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting

A great insight but I really struggled to get through the last 3 hours. It does however finish with a great epilogue

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  • izic
  • 17-03-15

Incredibly in depth in the best and worst ways

The book is an intensely in depth look at the Kennedy White House's decision making process regarding almost exclusively Vietnam and Cuba. Though it is very detailed, it lacks the narrative appeal that "An Unfinished Life" possessed. As a big fan of nonfiction, American history, and JFK, this book was undoubtedly informative, but struck me as a bit dry, and focused almost entirely on the excruciating minutiae of what every person around Kennedy thought at every moment.

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  • brent lloyd
  • 08-02-22

Well Researched but Critically Flawed

Robert Dallek’s return to the world of John F Kennedy and his presidency is once again a well-researched and intimate look at the men and the issues that defined the era and the decisions that have consequences lasting to this day. Dallek’s amount of research and comprehension is made clear throughout this book, and he pays close attention to the details surrounding the Kennedy presidency as well as to the opinions and backgrounds of the men who Kennedy brought in to advise him. The conflicts between these men and with Kennedy himself are fascinating and provide excellent insight into the battles of opinions that led to specific decisions that shaped both the presidency of Kennedy as well as the presidency of his successor. Dallek also does an excellent job of reflecting on this period with a modern lens, while still taking great pains to emphasize the zeitgeist of the era rather than condemn actions that were understandable at the time but have aged poorly in the passage of time.
This book has one critical flaw however that prevents it from rising to a higher level of respect and reverence in the history of political biography. Dallek focuses, almost exclusively, on the foreign policy of the Kennedy administration, specifically on Vietnam, Cuba, and the USSR, the last of which is most often reflected on through the Cuban issue. Dallek’s repeated returns to these issues quickly become worn, with the same issues and the same decisions recurring time and again, and there is a great deal of time spent on events that could be summed up in a paragraph. These extended, repetitive dialogues about the same issues bog down this book, and take what starts out as an intriguing look into the presidency and turns it into a philosophical “what if” regarding the administration’s decisions in Southeast Asia and Cuba. The book would have done better to focus on more domestic problems, and be less repetitive about the goals and observations of administrative efforts in foreign policy.
In general, the research conducted for this book must be respected for the diligence paid, but the excessive focus on just a few subjects and the repetitive observations by Dallek and outcomes by Kennedy advisors drags down the book and doesn’t give any unique insights when the same things happen over and over but are described in unnecessarily long detail. Worth reading for insights in the Kennedy administration’s foreign policy, but as a study of the administration as a whole, this book is lacking.

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  • theProfessor
  • 28-05-21

Not Much New Here

If you familiar with this time frame and Kennedy administration, you will not likely find anything new More just a straightfoward chronological history, nothing really indepth about the personalities , dispositions or motivation of the people in "Camelots Court." Heavey emphais on Cuba and Vietnam, but you did not get the feeling you were actually there while the decision were being made.Narrator has a pleasant voice, but does not infuse the book with any energy, emotion, tension, or passion.

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  • Joseph
  • 17-10-20

Okay

Not worth the read unless you are very interested specifically in the Vietnam War which predominates the book’s content. Not a good biographical resource on Kennedy.

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  • D M BOYCE
  • 17-09-18

Essential

For one would knew quite well the Kennedy presidency this was a very enlightening endever. Would absolutely recommend this book and a good listen. Heartbreaking as looking back know ing the future it still remains worth the journey.

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  • Larry David Fuller
  • 25-11-17

Flawed Men and Impossible Choices

An enduring picture of leadership and all that goes with it. I truly enjoyed it.