If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History
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If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  36 reviews
From one of the country’s most brilliant political commentators, the bestselling author of Then Everything Changed, an extraordinary, thought-provoking look at Kennedy’s presidency—after November 22, 1963.

November 22, 1963: JFK does not die. What would happen to his life, his presidency, his country, his world?

In Then Everything Changed, Jeff Greenfield created an "utterly...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Putnam Adult
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

I've finally written a review for my LibraryThing Early Reviewers book IF KENNEDY LIVED. I love alternative history in general, and this is a very good example of the genre.

See it now on my blog, since there's no way I'll give the dataminers more of my data to mine.
If Kennedy Lived
By Jeff Greenfield
Publisher: G. P. Putnam & Sons
Published In: New York City, NY, USA
Date: 2013
Pgs: 249


November 22, 1963. Shots ring out in Dallas, TX, only it’s raining, and the President’s limo has a bubble shell over the covertible. Kennedy is wounded, but not killed. This is the story of the first and second terms of a John F. Kennedy who survived his 1963 trip to Dallas and what it meant to the people and politics of the era.

If you like Jeff Greenfield's alternate histories, you'll love a similarly themed new novel by award-winning journalist/screenwriter Bryce Zabel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?" In this imaginative and meticulously researched scenario, JFK survives the Dallas ambushand then (with his attorney general brother Bobby) tries to figure out who tried to kill him and seek revenge... The climax is shocking but entirely plausible -- not a sci-fi fantasy...More the work of a dra...more
Washington Post
Jeff Greenfield's current contribution to fantasy politics includes a Kennedy victory over Goldwater in 1964, following Kennedy’s survival of the assassination attempt by Lee Harvey Oswald in November 1963. Fantasists will find “If Kennedy Lived” intriguing — students of the real world less so, writes H.W. Brands, who reviewed the book for The Post.

Greenfield's alternate history engages and entertains, but by the very plausibility of its fictions, it risks leaving readers knowing less than they...more
Interesting, but as is inherent with this kind of book, a lot of this is guessing. Personally, the idea of Jackie wanting to strike out on her own in 1968 is utterly ridiculous to me. It does make you realize how much would change - how many other assassinations and murders might not have happened.
Rancy Breece
Did not like this book much. While Greenfield had a clever premise, imagining a different outcome to the events in Dallas than what occurred, he stumbled badly putting together an alternative history based on Kennedy surviving an assassination attempt. While Greenfield makes a gallant attempt at putting together a history in which Kennedy actively contributed after November 1963, the funny thing is the world he describes is less exciting and less dynamic than what actually happened. He drags out...more
This was an interesting alternative history. One thing to be careful with is that it is very difficult to distinguish between what parts are true and which parts are the imagined alternative history. The author jumps around in time quite a bit and it was sometimes hard for me to tell when he had moved from the things that had actually happened to the things that he supposes might have been likely if Kennedy had lived. I also read Jeff Greenfield's other book And Then Everything Changed" and both...more
Pat Nestor
The main thing to understand about this book is that it is neither a Sci Fi type (ie: Stephen King's 11/22/63) nor a conspiracy filled "who tried to kill JFK" tome. Greenfield's book is a political look at what he feels would be a likely direction for the United States had Kennedy indeed survived the attack. It starts out very interesting and hits a rather long lull about a third of the way in, where a tremendous amount of quasi-history is recounted where some of the facts are fiction and some a...more
Jesse Smith
As the title says, this book covers the remained ear of Kennedy's term and how he would be elected to a second.
While it is clearly conjecture there are some interesting take always and questions. What was Vietnams effect on civil rights? Would a second Kennedy term change the landscape for the republican nomination in 68?

Perhaps the biggest take away for me is how leadership is judged by what the followers know. For instance, had Kennedy averted Vietnam, but the cost was a set back in elsewhere,...more
Jim Cherry
There are some lynchpin moments in history in which we wonder if something else had happened how it might have changed history. The assassination of JFK is one of those lynchpin moments in history. Would he have escalated American troops in Vietnam? Or would he have foreseen the quagmire it was to become and found a way to avoid it? Would the late 60’s have seen the same turmoil had John Kennedy lived? What of his personal life? Would reporters have continued to protect Kennedy and his liaisons?...more
One of those "What If..." questions, that people have wondered about well, since 11/22/63...what if Kennedy had lived, and gotten a 2nd term.
I enjoyed this book, and while many(if not most) of the ideas here have been mentioned before, the writer does a good job giving us his 'take'. And he did throw in a few things I hadn't heard or thought about.
At times, it's a little "too cute"(You can feel him winking at us in some parts)....and he jumps back and forth in the timeline from 63-68, which bu...more
The story begins on the morning of November 22, 1963, with the assumption that all events prior to that date happened just as they did in history. However, one fateful decision would be made this day, a change that would alter the course of history. It was something that very possibly could have happened: The bubble top was left on Kennedy’s limousine and he survived the assassination attempt in Dallas, similar to what happened to Ronald Reagan years later in the actual historical timeline.

The a...more
Oct 23, 2013 Tim rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
Some estimate books about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy number in the thousands. And with the 50th anniversary of the assassination coming next month, there's been a growing stream of them this year about the assassination and Kennedy's presidency and its legacy. Amidst the avalanche, political commentator Jeff Greenfield contemplates where we would be if Kennedy had not been killed. He does so through the alternative history trope in If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Term...more
Book Lust

In an alternate world where Kennedy survived being shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963, what would we see? Greenfield suggests we’d see a nation that chose not to engage in a war in Vietnam, but also a nation that did not pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. What would be the benefits and drawbacks of this outcome?

The book starts off slowly and only really gets interesting once Greenfield starts discussing the run-up to the 1964 election. Kennedy is portrayed as over-confident and a bit o...more
This was a fascinating, if safe, account of what a Kennedy presidency could have looked like. Timed to release around the 50th anniversary of his assassination, the premise follows the questions "what if Kennedy survived the assassination attempt?"

I say "safe" as the author follows paths that existed during and after the Kennedy administration. Throughout the book are references to historical events and comments taken in new context. For example, when John Kennedy returns to the White House afte...more
Jeff Greenfield has long provided some of the driest, wittiest commentary on the American political scene for the "major" news outlets. At times it has been almost painful watching him suffer withanother panel discussion of a political debate as one of CNN's bazillion talking heads, where Greenfield has to cede air time to his much-less-talented colleagues.

He must find writing a worthwhile release for his creative side, as his alternate histories are well-researched (i.e., plausible) yet wickedl...more
Dave Schoettinger
Greenfield gives a very believable account of what might have transpired if Kennedy had survived, not just a hagiography of JFK. He may have tried a little to hard to put ironic words into the mouths of some of the people he mentions, however it was very enjoyable book. I don't think that his description of the 1964 Republican Party being captured by its right wing in terms that would lead the reader to compare it to the contemporary Republicans following the same path was unintentional.
Well, I stalled out on this. For whatever reason it just didn't keep my interest after the first 25% or so -- too much political background and not enough engaging twists and turns. It's too bad -- normally I enjoy alternative histories (and what's better than speculating about if JFK lived?) and have always like Greenfield's approach in his other works ... but this one fell to the bottom of the pile, if there is such a thing on Kindle, while several other unrelated books seduced me. To be fair,...more
It may seem I didn't really like this book based on my rating, but that might be slightly misleading. This book just didn't really grab my attention. When I started reading this I was expecting, and slightly hoping, for a more narrative style book about an alternate America. However, I quickly found that this was going to focus very heavily on JFK's political career more so than the impact on American life. The author obviously put a lot of thought into this alternate history and the events were...more
This was an interesting book- a "What if?" question that I think everyone in America has considered at some point. However, the one thing that really irritated me about this book is that in the narrative, people kept referring back to Kennedy's near-death experience. Writers, for example, said things like, "Look at the optimism our country has experienced over the past X years....can you imagine the doom that would have befallen the country if Kennedy had died that day?" It just seems like peopl...more
I enjoy alternative history as long as there is some factual basis to the conjecture and speculation. In this case, Greenfield has a lot of the focus on the Vietnam War and how a change in policy (peace instead of war) could have impacted the rest of the 1960’s. That seems to be a reasonable method of dealing with an eight year Kennedy administration. Some of the things (RFK as SecDef) are pretty “guess oriented” but I don’t think it ruins the narrative and it would have been possible in the sec...more
I found this book to be very interesting. There were many aspects that got me thinking. Would Kennedy have pulled our troops from Vietnam? Could a man from New England convince the South to pass Civil Rights legislation? A fellow Southerner (Johnson) would have an easier time I would think. Speaking about Johnson, I am not sure if he would have left the vice presidency as quickly as Greenfield has speculated. Johnson was a fighter and wasn't the type of guy who just gave up.

Overall, this was a...more
I received this book from the Goodreads First Read program.

As the title states the book is about how JFK's presidency would have transpired if JFK had lived after the assassination attempt. I do not believe the book was long enough to do the subject matter justice. It was only 228 pages of narrative. It feels like it was a rush job so the book could be published prior to the 50th anniversary of the assassination as in his acknowledgements Jeff Greenfield states that he presented the idea to his...more
Greenfield offers a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been but refuses to speculate too far (the last portion of the book wraps up abruptly), which is understandable. The book is intriguing as far as it goes but the fact is that we'll never know what Kennedy might have achieved in a 2nd term, or if the recklessness in his personal life would have destroyed him.

We'll never know, hence the fascination.

Jim Rittenhouse
Really quite decent AH on Kennedy surviving Dallas - very plausible in many respects, but I got tired of some of the awkward turns of foreshadowing that were used, including one that stuck with me that went *nowhere*.

Story isn't a full novel, more of a outline of trends and events with fictional bursts here and there. I found myself nodding with agreement here and there - even mock outrage over a key guess that the author made that *i* made trying to outline a similar scenario.

Highly recommende...more
I do like these "alternate reality" books, where you are given an entirely different take on the course of history should one vital detail be different. This book is no different, however I do feel like they could have fleshed it out a whole lot more.
People like to believe JFK would have been a wonderful president, and surely he would have been, however the book also teaches you that no matter who the president is the country will always have it's fair share of problems.

I received the book for f...more
Keith Gerlach
Very Interesting concept. Kennedy survives assasination attempt. We pull out of Vietnam. Kennedy does 2 terms as President. The only spoiler is the Vietnam thing. One last point that I really got a kick out of--Senator George Bush (who of course in real life was Prez after Reagan and then his son in 2000)campaigning for Nixon says "Bobby Kennedy should not run for President--This is America, We do not have family dynasties in America".
Kurt Cunningham
This book just never seemed to pull me in completely. I rarely give up on reading a book halfway through but I just couldn't get through this one.
didn't finish
John Daly
This time out Greenfield just focuses on what a second term for Kennedy would have been like. Unfortunately this volume is not as good as as Then Everything Changed. I would recommend it only if you like Then Everything Changed and 43*
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if Kennedy Lived 1 3 Nov 12, 2013 01:12PM  
Alternate History: What if JFK Survived Dallas? 1 18 Oct 22, 2013 12:50PM  
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Jeff Greenfield (b. 1943) is one of the most prominent political writers in the United States. Born in New York City, he went to college in Wisconsin, and received a law degree from Yale. He entered politics in the late 1960s, as a speechwriter for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and has covered the beltway ever since, contributing to Time, the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and, in a lighter vein,...more
More about Jeff Greenfield...
Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan The People's Choice: A Novel 43* When Gore Beat Bush Oh, Waiter! One Order of Crow!: Inside the Strangest Presidential Election Finish in American History Jeff Greenfield's book of books

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