Christopher Hitchens

The First Family

The Kennedys


Secker and Warburg 576pp £12.50 order from our bookshop

Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said that, had he been killed as he entered Moscow, he would have gone down in history as the greatest general who ever lived. Similarly, it is essential for the Kennedy myth that its exemplars should die young. If JFK had lived, his Presidency would have been besmirched by Vietnam and the domestic political corruption necessary to sustain the war. As it is, his worshippers can still convince themselves that ‘Jack’ would have made everything different. The rising generation of Americans is brought up to think of Kennedy as the man who had everything. Handsome, charming, witty, graceful, brave – a liberal but a tough guy.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Antonio Damasio's 'The Strange Order of Things' is a revolutionary view of the mind and its place in the world. Joh… ,
    • Terrifyingly I'm already at work (ha!) making the April issue. Feel like the March number came out but seconds ago.… ,
    • Charles I: King & Collector is until 15 April: Here's assistant editor Davi… ,
    • "Ivor Novello installed a mirrored bedroom in his apartment over the Strand Theatre ... with furniture veneered in… ,
    • Our 'footprints' series has writers talking about place and inspiration. This month it's Donald Rayfield on Dostoev… ,
    • RT : ‘Meticulously documented, full of drama … complex and compelling … this is a tale fluently told, and a thriller as… ,
    • There's still time to enter: win a brace of tickets to see the new West End production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Hu… ,