The famed 19th-century humorist Finley Peter Dunne once commented that life “would not be worth living if we didn’t keep our enemies.” John F. Kennedy could certainly appreciated the wisdom behind this observation. At nearly every stage of his noteworthy political career, Kennedy collected his fair share of enemies. Some, like Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., or Richard Nixon, presented formidable political obstacles to his attaining public office. Others, like Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, threatened the very survival of the human race. This lecture will focus on the complex and strained relationship Kennedy had with longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and how their mutual hostility inadvertently led to his death at the hands of Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963.
Thomas J. Whalen is an associate professor of social science at Boston University and author of Kennedy versus Lodge: The 1952 Massachusetts Senate Race. His forthcoming book, JFK and His Enemies, will be published in March 2014. An expert in modern American politics, American foreign policy and the American presidency, Whalen's commentary has appeared in the New York Times, ABCNews.com, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and the AP. He has also appeared on several national broadcast outlets including CNN, NPR and Reuters TV.
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