The Kennedy Assassination- 24 Hours After by Steven M. Gillion
“President John F. Kennedy has now been dead for more years than he lived, yet his assassination on November 22, 1963, remains one of the most misunderstood events in American History despite being one of the most well documented.” Steven M. Gillion writes in the Preface of his book The Kennedy Assassination- 24 Hours After. The book debates the aftermath of the dismal assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He discusses the immense irony behind the same television cameras used during his presidency and his assassination. They showed the emotional bond between the president and his citizens, and later transforming his death into a personal event shared between all his fellow Americans. These cameras followed him throughout his presidency, within minutes of his assassination, and the events leading up until his burial.
Gillion argues the American public’s fascination of Kennedy’s assassination. “Their ongoing fascination with the assassination and their instinctive skepticism toward authority have spawned a cottage industry of conspiracy theories: Did Oswald at alone? Was the fatal shot fired from the grassy knoll? Was the shooting part of a larger conspiracy involving high level government officials?” Kennedy’s death was the most devastating and painful transition between presidential power.
Gillon, Steven M. The Kennedy Assassination–24 Hours After: Lyndon B. Johnson’s Pivotal First Day as President. New York: Basic Books, 2009.
The Kennedy Obsession: The American Myth of JFK by John Hellman
An excerpt taken from The Kennedy Obsession: The American Myth of JFK by John Hellmann about Kennedy’s assassination states, “John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas, on Friday, November 22, 1963 at 12:32 P.M. His head was torn apart, his body wrenched, his actual person killed. Three days later his horribly mutilated body was buried. But his public image was transfigured. The representation of John F. Kennedy, aesthetic and erotic in his lifetime, now became also religious.”
John Hellmann discusses the three major phenomena that develop throughout the decades after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The three phenomena are a major topic throughout his book. They all represent the aspects of his idea about American myth of JFK. The use of the word “myth” is not the ordinary use of the word, but back to the idea of Kennedy’s double. Hellmann states that the first phenomenon is the dream of resurrection. The idea of resurrection is the “return of the hero from the grave.” (146) Hellmann argues that this resurrection was to be carried out by having a different Kennedy in the White House, such as his brother Robert. He believes that Ronald Reagan misfired in his self-comparison to JFK. The next phenomenon that Hellmann argued is the idea of demonology and how it represented the evil that lives inside a hero. He feels that “demonology has been the fury of speculation concerning conspiracy swirling around the assassination.” (146) He believes that anything bad that has been said about Kennedy was only dragged out to be able to fill more pages in a book, and not for credibility. None have been proven therefore Hellmann argues these horrors to be untrue. The last phenomenon Hellmann discusses is blasphemy. He feels that Kennedy’s achievements that occurred after his death caused others to become skeptical. This resulted in discoveries of the aspects Kennedy hid during his presidency. This argument is significant to his book because it gives a glimpse into what Hellmann felt towards JFK. It is understood that he is a supporter of Kennedy’s actions. Hellmann’s strength in this argument was his explanation about each of the phenomenon. These explanations help the reader understand Hellman’s point of view towards Kennedy’s assassination.
Hellmann, John. The Kennedy Obsession: The American Myth of JFK. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
Lyndon B. Johnson’s Adresses to Congress After the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
“An assassin’s bullet has thrust upon me the awesome burden of the Presidency. I am here today to say I need your help; I cannot bear this burden alone. I need the help of all Americans, and all America. This Nation has experienced a profound shock, and in this critical moment, it is our duty, yours and mine, as the Government of the United States, to do away with uncertainty and doubt and delay, and to show that we are capable of decisive action; that from the brutal loss of our leader we will derive not weakness, but strength; that we can and will act and act now.”
Johnson, Lyndon B. “American Experience: TV’s Most-watched History Series.” PBS. 1963. Accessed April 28, 2015. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/lbj-firstspeech/.