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American history

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

Ted Widmer, ed. Caroline Kennedy, foreword.
Publisher Hyperion  
Format hardcover & CDs
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 0.95 inches
ISBN 9781401324568
Pages/Publication Date 300pp, 2 hrs 26 mins/2012
Daedalus Item Code 36244
This item is not available.
In July 1962, following the Bay of Pigs disaster, John F. Kennedy installed recording systems in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room, in an effort to preserve an accurate record of presidential decision-making in a charged atmosphere of conflicting viewpoints, strategies, and tactics. The result is a priceless historical archive—some 265 hours of recorded material from a time of civil rights activism, nuclear brinkmanship with the Soviet Union, foreign conflicts, and other complex dilemmas necessitating swift and decisive action. With photos and document images throughout, this collection of transcripts includes two-and-a-half hours of presidential recordings on two audio CDs.

"Everyone knows Nixon had tape recorders running in the Oval Office, but most Americans aren't aware that FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower experimented with audio recording and that JFK installed taping systems in 1962 that he could activate to record significant meetings and phone conversations and, occasionally, his own reflections. All 265.5 hours of those tapes (with redactions, however) are now available at the Kennedy Presidential Library. This volume, accompanied by two CDs, gathers several dozen of the most interesting conversations. In addition to obvious subjects—Cuba, civil rights, space, and Vietnam—the collection also includes many remarks on history, politics, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and other foreign-policy developments.... Quite helpful ... are the book's illustrations, which range from photographs to contemporaneous documents and handwritten notes.... [This book is] a portrait of a president being president, and the closest to an autobiography we will ever get."—Booklist

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