The Politics of Deception: JFKs Secret Decisions on Vietnam, Civil Rights, and Cuba

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Using recently released White House tape recordings and interviews with key inside players, The Politics of Deception reveals: Kennedy's secret behind-the-scenes deals to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. The overthrow and assassination of President Diem. Kennedy's hostile interactions with and attempts to undermine Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Kennedy's last year in office, and his preparation for the election that never was. The Politics of Deception is a fresh and revealing look at an iconic president and the way he attempted to manage public opinion and forge his legacy, sure to appeal to both history buffs and those who were alive during his presidency. President Kennedy regularly misled the American public, writes veteran journalist Sloyan in this collection of painful, well-documented, and no longer controversial incidents from his last year in office.

K secretly approved the coup, and Sloyan agrees with most observers that "Kennedy's order to get rid of Diem was the real beginning of the American war in Vietnam.

By comparison, his ongoing efforts to murder Fidel Castro may seem silly but only because they failed. Nevertheless, Sloyan points out that J.

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John Kennedy was not a trickster; he was a practical politician. As such, his reelection was always uppermost in his mind. How to balance support without alienating voters who were not supportive was his primary concern. Sloyan makes good use of the secret recordings Kennedy made in his office.

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Mar 26, John-Paul rated it really liked it Shelves: history-american. The assassination of a president is a tragic and hurtful event and our country has suffered through several in its relatively short history. However, an unfortunate by-product of such events is often the near-deification of the victim and in this book, Sloyan sets out to shed light on JFK's decisions on the civil rights movement, Cuba and Vietnam during his presidency. Having read the book, I can say that the three topics are not discussed equally; Vietnam dominates the book, with civil rights a The assassination of a president is a tragic and hurtful event and our country has suffered through several in its relatively short history.

Having read the book, I can say that the three topics are not discussed equally; Vietnam dominates the book, with civil rights a distant second and Cuba only being mentioned in the first couple of chapters though its ghost can be seen in the Vietnam debacle. Whether it was Cuba or Vietnam, Sloyan shows us a president that acts rashly and doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. The Bay of Pigs invasion is a perfect example of this, and though the secret tapes JFK kept yes, it wasn't just Richard Nixon that recorded conversations at the White House seem to indicate that he wanted his administration to learn from past mistakes, the same rashness and lack of forethought seemed to haunt his decisions regarding Vietnam.

Contrasted with the rashness of these foreign policy decisions was his painfully slow and timid response to the emerging civil rights movement. Yes, the civil rights movement eventually threw their lot in with JFK and the Democrats, but only because the Republicans did a masterful job of collectively shooting themselves in the foot at this critical moment in American history.


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Sloyan shows us a Back Bay aristocrat who wasn't against sharing an off-color joke about African-Americans on occasion and a president who supported civil rights only insofar as they did not lose him too many votes. It appears that JFK's reelection campaign of began approximately two days after his inauguration in and nowhere was this more evident than in his wishy-washy handling of the civil rights movement.

However, it is in his dealing with the emerging crisis in Vietnam that JFK is shown to be not only rash but duplicitous and just plain ignorant of the situation on the ground. Even worse, JFK seemed to have a problem bringing together capable advisers and was easily swayed by the most vociferous of the bunch. Sloyan reminds us of Kennedy's personal affection for the duly elected President of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, but when Diem's ability to lead is called into question and eventually outright denied by rather odious figures such as Averell Harriman and Henry Cabot Lodge, Kennedy acquiesces.

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The resulting disassociation from Diem's government by the U. A sobering view of a much-lauded president and a necessary antidote of truth against the pervasive myth of Camelot. Jan 15, Joseph rated it it was amazing Shelves: first-reads , reading-challenge I received this advanced reader's copy through Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honest review The Politics of Deception may very well shock some readers, while some may not believe any of it. Having said that, Sloyan has furnished citations, and official documents along with first hand knowledge to build another level to the Kennedy Bibliography.

The writing is concise, and fast-moving; Sloyan has constructed a compact, yet highly detailed account of the back-room deals that went on within I received this advanced reader's copy through Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honest review The Politics of Deception may very well shock some readers, while some may not believe any of it.

The writing is concise, and fast-moving; Sloyan has constructed a compact, yet highly detailed account of the back-room deals that went on within the Kennedy White House. After a half century, it is a reckoning of the truth in many ways. I highly recommend The Politics of Deception. I really wavered back and forth between a 3 and a 3. This should have been such an interesting book, the topic would but ally be fascinating, but in truth it was full. That's perhaps due to my lack on interest in the Vietnam War, but I thought maybe the underhanded and two facedness might help engage my brain a bit more.


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It got to the point where I was skimming the Saigon chapters by the end. And there's was barely anything about the Civil Rights Movement. Had potential but fell short for me. Pe I really wavered back and forth between a 3 and a 3. Perhaps those with more if a vested interest in Vietnam would enjoy this more, as that was the primary focus.

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Even Cuba didn't get much attention, despite the sub title. Mar 17, wade rated it it was amazing. This is a very interesting look into the behind the scenes deceptions of the Kennedy presidency. Kennedy looks like a hero after the Cuban missile crisis but actually was accepting an arms exchange suggested by Khrushchev months before. Other lines pursued are his administrations shabby treatment of Martin Luther King and his role in the assassination of Diem in Viet Nam which will totally destabilize the situation there while ap This is a very interesting look into the behind the scenes deceptions of the Kennedy presidency.

Other lines pursued are his administrations shabby treatment of Martin Luther King and his role in the assassination of Diem in Viet Nam which will totally destabilize the situation there while appearing to keep his hands. Very well researched taking the shine off the president.

THE POLITICS OF DECEPTION by Patrick J. Sloyan | Kirkus Reviews

View 2 comments. Nov 28, Emilie rated it really liked it. An interesting and in depth look into politics, and how JFK handled the big events in his presidency. It taught me a lot, and it once again reminded me of the fact that if we solely rely on the news, we don't know everything. Mar 08, Chris rated it liked it. Dec 07, Will Nelson rated it really liked it.

The history of the Cuban Missile Crisis - Matthew A. Jordan

Quite interesting. I'm not qualified to judge the author's accounts of the various incidents, but they seemed believable and illuminating to me. Peter J. Farina rated it really liked it Mar 04, Armen rated it liked it Nov 15, Exapno Mapcase rated it liked it May 27, John P. Nelan rated it really liked it Nov 24, Jeffrey Chantiam rated it really liked it Oct 10, David rated it liked it Apr 07, Eroin rated it really liked it Apr 02, TJ rated it it was amazing Jan 23, Craig McGraw rated it liked it Jul 10, Edward rated it really liked it Dec 29, Zabih Nazary rated it it was ok Sep 16, Steve rated it it was ok Sep 19, Teresa Prado rated it liked it Oct 08, Atul rated it liked it Jan 21, Thomas M.

La Guidice rated it really liked it Mar 09, Tedi rated it did not like it Feb 24, IntelgntPanther rated it it was amazing Feb 25, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers also enjoyed.