Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy

Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy

Ted Widmer Caroline Kennedy / Sep 16, 2019

Listening In The Secret White House Recordings of John F Kennedy In July in an effort to preserve an accurate record of Presidential decision making in a highly charged atmosphere of conflicting viewpoints strategies and tactics John F Kennedy installed hid

  • Title: Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy
  • Author: Ted Widmer Caroline Kennedy
  • ISBN: 9781401324568
  • Page: 168
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In July 1962, in an effort to preserve an accurate record of Presidential decision making in a highly charged atmosphere of conflicting viewpoints, strategies and tactics, John F Kennedy installed hidden recording systems in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room The result is a priceless historical archive comprising some 265 hours of taped material JFK was elected prIn July 1962, in an effort to preserve an accurate record of Presidential decision making in a highly charged atmosphere of conflicting viewpoints, strategies and tactics, John F Kennedy installed hidden recording systems in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room The result is a priceless historical archive comprising some 265 hours of taped material JFK was elected president when Civil Rights tensions were near the boiling point, and Americans feared a nuclear war Confronted with complex dilemmas necessitating swift and unprecedented action, President Kennedy engaged in intense discussion and debate with his cabinet members and other advisors Now, in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy presidency, the John F Kennedy Library and historian Ted Widmer have carefully selected the most compelling and important of these remarkable recordings for release, fully restored and re mastered onto two 75 minute CDs for the first time Listening In represents a uniquely unscripted, insider account of a president and his cabinet grappling with the day to day business of the White House and guiding the nation through a hazardous era of uncertainty.Accompanied by extensively annotated transcripts of the recordings, and with a foreword by Caroline Kennedy, Listening In delivers the story behind the story in the unguarded words and voices of the decision makers themselves Listening In covers watershed events, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, Vietnam, and the arms race, and offers fascinating glimpses into the intellectual methodology of a circumspect president and his brilliant, eclectic brain trust.Just as the unique vision of President John F Kennedy continues to resonate half a century after his stirring speeches and bold policy decisions, the documentary candor of Listening In imparts a vivid, breathtaking immediacy that will significantly expand our understanding of his time in office.

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    • [PDF] Download ✓ Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy | by ✓ Ted Widmer Caroline Kennedy
      168 Ted Widmer Caroline Kennedy
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      Posted by:Ted Widmer Caroline Kennedy
      Published :2018-010-06T16:08:30+00:00

    About "Ted Widmer Caroline Kennedy"

      • Ted Widmer Caroline Kennedy

        Edward Ted Ladd Widmer born 1963 is a historian, writer, and librarian, who served as a speechwriter in the later days of the Clinton White House.His parents were Eric G Widmer and Ellen B Widmer As of 1992, his father was working as Dean of Admissions and financial aid at Brown University, and his mother was an Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at Wesleyan University Ted Widmer obtained an A.B in the history and literature of France and the United States, an A.M in history, and a Ph.D in the history of American civilization from Harvard University Widmer was appointed lecturer on history and literature at Harvard University from 1993 until 1997 He then spent a few years working with Bill Clinton, both during and after Clinton s presidency He was the special assistant to the president for national security affairs, writing foreign policy speeches, and subsequently was the senior advisor to the president for special projects, advising on history and scholarship related issues He conducted interviews with Clinton while Clinton was writing his autobiography.He was the first director of the C.V Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and an associate professor of history at Washington College from 2001 On July 1, 2006 he was appointed director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.


    1. Most of the conversations here are a lot more mundane than you might expect. The recordings included were chosen to show what it was like day to day to be a president facing many issues. They don't reveal any big secrets or even much new information. Even the meetings about serious issues don't make a lot of sense. All the people talk in a sort of shorthand, because they were all familiar with the particulars and the conversations weren't meant for outside ears. This is worth reading and listeni [...]

    2. Being a fan of JFK's presidency, I had wanted to read this book as soon as it was released. The fact that two audio CD's accompany the book was an added bonus. It's interesting that I read this book at the same time that a documentary on Richard Nixon was released, essentially allowing the American public to listen in to Nixon's conversations during his own presidency. Nixon's tapes were recently declassified by the FBI (they were taken by the agency during the Watergate scandal). To have watche [...]

    3. This book is incredible and revealing. The President is the highest, most prestigious official in our country, and we really know so little about what happens behind the scenes. This book offers the American people a glimpse at those tense, turbulent, emotional, moments. We get to see and understand how a president thought and felt, and the inner workings of the decision making. In the introduction, Widmer wrote, " After so many words have been written about John F. Kennedy, it feels right to le [...]

    4. This book is a great read/listen not only for Kennedy buffs, but for anyone interested in the historical events of the Kennedy era (Civil Rights Movement, Cold War, Space Race, Vietnam, etc.), and for anyone with any interest at all in how the presidency operates and what the President actually does on a day to day basis. Starting in 1962, President Kennedy installed recording devices in both his phone and the Oval Office to record his day-to-day interactions (assumedly both for the sake of a me [...]

    5. "Listening In" is a collection of conversations that President Kennedy secretly recorded in the oval office while he was president. Reading these conversations would have been fascinating enough; however the book comes with two cd's which contain 2 1/2 hours of the actual recordings. In them you hear not only JFK, but also his brother, Robert, his wife, and his children, not to mention Presidents Truman, Hoover and Eisenhower, Martin Luther King, Jr Nikita Khrushchev and various politicians. I l [...]

    6. This book was a disappointment to me. The topics seem to skip around quite a bit never really delving deeply into any subject. The book was co-authored by Caroline Kennedy and published through the auspices of the Kennedy Library so the material has obviously been filtered to some extent to portray President Kennedy in a positive light. I thought the oral history book done with recordings of Mrs. Kennedy was much better, more comprehensive, and had more audio material than this book. Interesting [...]

    7. In conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy presidency, the John F. Kennedy Library have selected the most compelling and important recordings of the taped material of John Kennedy. Included with the book are 2 CD's of the actual recordings. The book itself details the circumstances surrounding the recordings. This book covers such watershed moments as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, Vietnam and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It is a shocking yet defining look back in the [...]

    8. Interesting to read how decisions are reached by those in positions of leadership. Especially to hear JFK talk about how he came to be involved in politics and just what motivated him to seek the White House

    9. From weeksnotice/2012/Tuesday, November 12, having difficulties in Latin America or the Alliance for Progress. The Argentines threatening to expropriate our oil. The Brazilians, the Brazilian [João] Goulart, ignoring the Alliance for Progress. Obviously, both playing a very nationalist game. And then the rumor that the Dominican Republic may break relations with us. They're irritated with the United States for not recognizing and making their lot more difficult. All this is, indicates a rising [...]

    10. comes with CD's of the calls and meetings transcribed in the book. Amazing to listen to -- my older sibs remember his assassination, but to me (b. 1961) it's like listening to a recording of Abe Lincoln deliberating about Civil War strategy. Organized thematically -- Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, Civil rights, space program,me of the language (constant references to "Negroes", e.g.) and mores (not sure a modern political polling outfit would call the President to ask exactly what questions he w [...]

    11. Last night in my dreams, I heard one of the spies saying that none of the 1963-born people have been allowed to prove to be sane, from no longer being spied on, because, since the Kennedy Administration was involved in spying, then the former President John F. Kennedy assassin, with last name Wilcox, according to that same spy, a British soldier that England had hired to murder the culprit of spying, would, should spying ever really end, at that point, have thus successfully ended spying and thu [...]

    12. Okay, so I’m a history buff. I’m also a Camelot history buff, a communism history buff, and a Presidential history buff. So basically this concept was totally up my alley. Listening In contains some of the secret recordings of the Kennedy era, spanning subjects from the Civil Rights Movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis and other intriguing events. It had so much potential.It just fell a little flat. Sure, some of the conversations were really interesting. To see exactly what was going on in th [...]

    13. This was a fascinating book.I have often had to defend to my choices of top 3 presidents for including Kennedy. Professors told me I was including him because he was a martyr, because he was handsome, because he was a Catholic, or because my parents' generation was scarred by his assassination.(I had a bunch of jerks for history professors in college, in case you cannot tell. It did not help that I was usually the only female in the classes, so the boys would have a good laugh over the "handsome [...]

    14. This book puts a whole new twist on the Kennedy Administration. I read this book a little differently than I do most books I read this book by listening to the audio CDs that are included with the book. What amazes me most about reading it this way is the book comes alive in a whole different way than by just sitting and reading your self. It was almost like I was transported back in time and new exactly what he was thinking and what issues were involved and challenges he faced during his admini [...]

    15. Interesting insight to JFK. Can listen to recordings or read them or both. I enjoyed the bookhoped for more recordings in some casesrticularly the Cuban missile crises. However, it did show how much the military was for a first strike option. Also was interesting to see how early in his administration he was worrying about reelection. Some of the recordings are kind of funnyke how pissed he was about the Navy spending $5,000 on furniture for a hospital room for Jacqueline K. if she had her baby [...]

    16. Fascinating glimpse behind the doors of the Oval Office. This book includes a couple of CD's that include audio highlights from the later days of the Kennedy White House. President Kennedy installed the recording system so that in later years when he wrote his memoirs he would have a clear record. Sadly, that wasn't to be and instead they are a record for us of the turbulent days revolving around Civil Rights, the Space Program, Viet Nam and the Cold War including the Cuban Missile Crisis.For th [...]

    17. Terribly sad, to listen to Kennedy's voice, full of confidence and intelligence, knowing his fate. Still, it is wonderful to be able to hear him. The fault with this book, though, is that there's so little context around the excerpts. Presumably, anyone familiar with the history of his administration would know, but it would still help to have a larger picture in the book. Also disappointing is the fragmentary nature of these audio excerpts: I know, from having read the transcripts of the entire [...]

    18. I really enjoyed the format of this book. There were written transcripts, audio, and video files. It is definitely best on an iPad or similar device. It was so interesting to hear not only JFK, but also his son, Jackie, other politicians of the time, General MacArthur, Eisenhower, etc. the content was also good - I found the format of the various chapters grouped by topic to make sense. The times, events, and people of this book are fascinating. This book was recommended to me and I would recomm [...]

    19. Although it is fascinating to reflect on the Kennedy years, taped transcripts more often resemble a David Mamet script. I found myself yearning for more substance.But it is still sad to see such a fun, youthful leader, firm in his love of country, and loving life. Knowing that it's just a short interlude before assassinations, war, riots, and cultural wars that forever changed everything.I know I'm rambling here, but I think a leader like JFK could have combined the love of life that the hippies [...]

    20. I've always found Kennedy fascinating but never really liked the mythologizing and worship. I love how this book strips that all away and just lets us see him through the most immediate lens still available. In these transcripts, JFK is a president but also a person, fallible and flawed just like the rest of us.Page layout and color palette were excellent, making this an exceptionally handsome and approachable book.My only complaint was that too many of the transcriptions were not given enough c [...]

    21. Intriguing way to peek behind the usually polished face of parade speeches and edited-to-a-comma writings of JFK. You "hear" him working through the critical moments of the 60s (Bay of Pigs, Civil Rights, Cold War, Vietnam) along with more human, even fragile characters.Quite good editorial job selecting the cuts, but it is always a bit painful to read direct transcripts of oral text. Could have worked better as an audio book but the two attached CDs with original audio recordings unfortunately [...]

    22. A unique book because it includes two CDs of secret recordings of conversations in the Oval Office that President Kennedy has with leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Hoover, Robert Kennedy and others. The book provides context for the conversations and then lists the word-by-word transcript of the conversations so that you can follow along while listening to the CDs. Very interesting to eavesdrop in on these conversations.

    23. Interesting approach to a never written autobiography. It offers quite uncommon "intimacy" in getting through most important points of JFK's unfinished run. A lot can be learnt - from foreign policy's focal points to the way JFK approached his predecessors in the Oval Office (though this part may be an impression due to author;s transcript choice). Though one must consider that 95% of the book is speech transcript. It does not read well, conversations are dynamic, often unfinished.

    24. Good book. I little drybut you have to remember that life is a little dry at times. The movies always make everything in history very dramaticwhen's it happening it may be tense, but there's no soundtrack. Worth reading and listening to. The audio quality was poor on a lot of these. I'm sure the best recording equipment was usede best for the early 60's anyway!

    25. Really intersting to read/hear excerpts of conversations particularly those taking place during the Cuban Misscle Crisis and those around the space race. Also endearing how JFK allowed and enjoyed having his young kids mill about regardless of whether or not he was in meetings. He wasn't a dad who turned away his kids to tend to business.

    26. A fair read. I was not that impressed with the selection of tapes that were chosen to be reproduced in the book - they left a lot to be desired. If the tapes selected were supposed to demonstrate Presidential Leadership, I feel they missed the boat, as they left out much of the needed background necesssary to grasp a full understanding of the issues and what was really at stake.

    27. An intimate look at one of America's most interesting presidents, this book offers a look at JFK at his best and worst. The audio portion of the book is a compelling counterpart to the text. It's a well written, insightful look at a fascinating, flawed, and larger than life person who's life and legacy changed the United States, if not always in the way people expected.

    28. I'm sure the content on this is fabulous. However, I listened to about 1/2 of the audio version and it was terrible. I couldn't hear the dialogue, because of the poor sound quality. I know it's just because of the technology differences between the 60's and now. Maybe one of these days I'll check out the book!

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