What I noticed in my latest reading of Fawn Brodie's Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character was that Fawn Brodie did not criticize John F. Kennedy. At least she hasn't in what I have read of her book thus far.
become somewhat accustomed to seeing snark about Kennedy in some of the
books about Nixon that I have read. After talking about Kennedy's
advice to Nixon on the importance of writing a book, Stephen Ambrose
said that Kennedy did not really write Profiles in Courage, and
that his father pressured the Pulitzer Committee to give JFK the
Pulitzer. I read in one book about Nixon (though I forget which
one) that JFK's father, Joseph Kennedy, may not have been just lucky
when he managed to thrive during the Great Depression. Don Fulsom is
rather positive about JFK, noting that the mob hated him, and yet he
acknowledges that JFK had mob connections at some point. Anthony
Summers goes more deeply into JFK's mob connections, even talking about
how some bruisers were at polling stations pressuring people to vote for
Kennedy. Summers also tells a humorous story about when a Kennedy
associate in 1960 was doing investigative work on the wild weekend
parties that Nixon attended at Bebe Rebozo's home, but he decided not to
pursue that line when he learned that Kennedy, too, was at the
parties! And Nixon, and also biographers about Nixon, have claimed that
there were ghost votes for Kennedy in the 1960 Presidential election.
reading Brodie's book, and I don't see much of that. She acknowledges
that JFK was a womanizer, but I suppose that this was such common
knowledge by the time that she wrote the book that she decided not to
omit it. But she appears to take for granted that Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage.
She says that Joseph Kennedy luckily dodged the negative consequences
of the Great Depression. While Nixon charged that candidate Kennedy was
briefed about the U.S. Government's plots against Fidel Castro, and
that Kennedy was really low when Kennedy was publicly accusing the
Eisenhower Administration of doing nothing against Castro, Brodie seems
to think that Kennedy had not been told about the U.S. Government's
plots. Overall, she portrays Kennedy as a witty person who came across
as more authentic than Nixon did. As far as negatives go, she says that
Nixon was healthier than Kennedy because of Kennedy's bad back, and
that Nixon was a better orator, even though Kennedy improved by the time
he got to the first debate. But I don't see the snark about Kennedy
that I saw in many of the other books about Nixon that I read.
didn't Brodie share much dirt on Kennedy? Anthony Summers wrote an
anti-Nixon book, and he didn't shy away from that! Brodie talks about
how Kennedy drove women wild. Could she have had a crush on the late
President Kennedy? I don't know.