Consider deadlock on civil rights in 1964, followed by no further U.S. involvement in Vietnam after 1965. Suppose the vice president had been forced from office well before the next election, triggering the selection of his replacement. And think about the first lady’s calculated next move after eight years in the White House.
Exactly fifty years since the assassination of President Kennedy, today marks not only a fitting remembrance of what was, but also a fascinating exploration of what might have been. Aiding in this rich intellectual journey, author Jeff Greenfield has done it again, presenting us with his newest and well-timed work of alternate history, “If Kennedy Lived.”
It all comes down to one meteorological circumstance which ultimately changes everything, from split-second reactions to long-term policy decisions and every ironic turn of fate along the way. All the while, readers are invited via Mr. Greenfield’s plausible scenarios to ponder one alternative evolution of 1960s history, including the momentum of the growing counterculture and the administration’s tactics to quell certain scandal. The ironies abound, including chuckle-inducing quotes from private citizen Richard Nixon and a young Al Gore, Jr., among numerous other key players who either emerge or disappear as alternate developments dictate.
Fifty years ago today the world changed in an instant. Imagine, at least for this quick yet captivating read, if that instant had produced a different result, well beyond the immediate events of November 22, 1963.