Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years

David Talbot

In 1963, the kind of country America would become was being decided, as centrifugal forces were pulling the JFK administration apart. The Kennedys were faced with intransigent Southern opposition to the civil-rights movement, a joint chief’s itching for pre-emptive war with the Soviets, an insubordinate FBI that snooped and blackmailed practically everybody, a shrill far-right propaganda campaign, a showdown with the mafia, and disgruntled Cubans determined to invade the island. The Kennedys opposed this dark side, instead opting for enforcing civil rights, establishing peaceful coexistence with the Soviets, aggressively prosecuting corruption, bringing the intelligence agencies to heel, and supporting Third World people’s desire for freedom from dictatorships that we’d traditionally supported. Bobby Kennedy privately believed, the book thoroughly documents, that his brother was killed by a combination of these dark forces, and planned to prosecute them upon winning the presidency, something that was conveniently denied the American people on June 6, 1968. The direct result of these assassinations forever changed the qualifications for the presidency. Never again have we had a president attempt to challenge the dark side of American power.