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JFK and the History That Wasn’t

The gravesite of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery
The gravesite of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

New Jersey 101.5

A half-century of history has unfolded since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the milestone anniversary has inspired new musings about the history that might have been.

The Discovery Channel takes readers on one of those alternate history trips with an article citing new books by political analysts Jeff Greenfield and Larry Sabato. Greenfield is among those who believe JFK would have somehow avoided a full-scale war in Vietnam. Sabato suggests Kennedy would not have pursued most of the “Great Society” social programs enacted by successor Lyndon B. Johnson.

The two authors also discuss whether JFK’s serial womanizing might have undone a second Kennedy term in the White House.

Did the assassination open the cosmic window through which Beatlemania arrived? Believe it or not, Slate Magazine explores that question.

The History News Network stretches imaginations further with a fanciful take on what President George Washington might have to say about a second JFK term.

And since we’re now deep into the realm of fiction, if not science fiction, why leave Stephen King out of the discussion? A British newspaper, The Independent, brings him right in with an excerpt from his novel “11.22.63,” whose hero goes back in time to see if he can undo the Kennedy assassination.

Book publishers are not finished with that concept. BooksWorld.com notes that another take has materialized in “Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?” by novelist Bryce Zabel.

Put your historical perspective and imagination to the test. How do you think history might have been different if Nov. 22, 1963 had been just another day?

More on this:

What If JFK Had Lived? / Discovery.com

Did JFK’s Death Make Beatlemania Possible? / Slate.com

Channeling George Washington: What If John F. Kennedy Had Lived? / History News Network

Imagine if John F. Kennedy had lived / The Independent

Award-Winning Author Releases ‘Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?’ / BooksWorld.com


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