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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

3.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  267 Ratings  ·  64 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 G.P. Putnam's Sons
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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.
Rancy Breece
Mar 28, 2014 Rancy Breece rated it did not like it
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
Mark
Nov 11, 2013 Mark rated it liked it
If Kennedy Lived
By Jeff Greenfield
Publisher: G. P. Putnam & Sons
Published In: New York City, NY, USA
Date: 2013
Pgs: 249

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
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.

Genre:
fictio
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Bob
Nov 25, 2013 Bob rated it really liked it
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
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Jerry
Oct 22, 2013 Jerry rated it really liked it
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
Deidre
Oct 21, 2013 Deidre rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
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
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
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Stacey
Jan 27, 2014 Stacey rated it liked it
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.
Debbie
Dec 30, 2014 Debbie rated it did not like it
Just not good. What else can I say?
Robert
Jul 18, 2014 Robert rated it it was ok
Be forewarned: Some SPOILERS ahead.

The most important aspect of any alternative history story is plausibility. The credibility of the story itself and the attention span of many readers (including myself) hinges upon that. If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History I think ultimately doesn't live up to the hype and it ended up losing my plausibility at several points.

I thought it started out great by using weather (a common alternative history
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Karenj
Feb 03, 2014 Karenj rated it liked it
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
Feb 25, 2014 Pat Nestor rated it liked it
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
Dennis Goshorn
Apr 29, 2014 Dennis Goshorn rated it really liked it
I just finished If Kennedy Lived by Jeff Greenfield. This is an alternative history book, subtitled The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy.

I found myself so mesmerized by the book that I forgot it was a work of fiction—so I think the author succeeded in painting an realistic picture of what a completed presidency of John F. Kennedy might have been like. Greenfield makes liberal use of actual quotes from historical figures, but not necessarily in the their real setting. This adds
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Shanwow
Jan 29, 2015 Shanwow rated it liked it
I loved the principle of this book. It's a question I often think about.

How different would the world be If Kennedy Lived?

I was very eager to start this book, having received many for Christmas so I started with this one. I wanted to love it but I just can't. Don't get me wrong. The rewriting of the assassination was amazing. It was plausible and I was giddy it was well done. The middle however had me confused. I'm wondering if it's because I didn't recognize the key players or if it was because
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Jesse Smith
Feb 11, 2014 Jesse Smith rated it really liked it
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,
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Jim Cherry
Jan 06, 2014 Jim Cherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Evan Moore
Jun 27, 2015 Evan Moore rated it it was ok
A decent read, and the author poses some interesting questions about what a complete Kennedy first term, and the hypothetical second might have looked like. My main complaint is that he uses too broad of a brush stroke-we could have used some more detail, some more exposition. The text doesn't know if it wants to be an in-story narrative or a discussion of the alternate history, and in trying to be both, loses coherency. I will say this: Greenfield definitely did his research on this. Three bran ...more
Dave
Mar 29, 2014 Dave rated it liked it
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
Andrew P
Jun 30, 2014 Andrew P rated it really liked it
Shelves: kennedy
I actually really enjoyed this alternate history of what would have happened if President Kennedy didn't get assassinated on 11/22/63. I have recently been looking into Kennedy's life and his presidency and it definitely shows a happier future then how the future plays out in Stephen King's 11/22/63. I can't remember since it has been a few days since I finished it and I watched the History Channel series The Kennedys in the meantime but it definitely rewrote Bobby's history as well if Kennedy h ...more
Michael
Mar 01, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
It seems that the people I know who read this book and didn't like it all had the same complaint - it was fiction. Of course it was fiction! It's just one of many books that deal with alternate history. What I liked about the book was that it was written with a reporter's eye - and you begin to feel as if what you're reading actually did happen. The best alternate history books creates a world that did not happen but that might have happened in a logical, well researched way. A fascinating "what ...more
Robert Sparrenberger
Apr 05, 2015 Robert Sparrenberger rated it really liked it
Writing alternate history is tough. Many reviewers criticized the author for being boring and predictable. The author would have gotten the opposite if he had written a bunch of off the wall stuff.

I think this was a very interesting take on what could have happened if Kennedy had lived. I especially enjoyed the book references at the back and the ideas for some of the material.

Well written. Plausible for sure. Plan to read some of the books mentioned at the back. Already have read bios of both
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Trisha DeBoer
Dec 14, 2014 Trisha DeBoer rated it liked it
"If Kennedy Lived" was an interesting foray into the potentials of life if...JFK had lived. If you aren't bored to tears by history or politics, this could be a good book for you to read. It's heavy into the politics and behind-the-scenes "maybes" of the JFK White House.

One of the main things that made me mark only three stars was the way the author did his foreshadowing. He kept ending his sections with, basically, the same sentence OVER AND OVER. But, it wasn't annoying enough to make me regre
...more
Leslie
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
Tim
Oct 23, 2013 Tim rated it it was ok
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
Brita
Sep 29, 2013 Brita rated it it was ok
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
Scott
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
Mar 03, 2014 Dave Schoettinger rated it really liked it
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.
Elizabeth Qualia
Jun 02, 2014 Elizabeth Qualia rated it liked it
Shelves: at-library
This was a tough book to read. For the first part I kept going... but he can't know that's what would have happened. For the second part I just kept dragging my feet. I do understand it is an alternate history, and we won't ever know for sure, unless someone events a time machine and inadvertently creates an alternate timeline, but of course then the only one who'd know would be the one who created the alternate timeline. Anyway, I was fascinated the a lot of what was speculated in this book abo ...more
Joe
Mar 26, 2014 Joe rated it did not like it
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
Jayson
Jul 18, 2014 Jayson rated it it was amazing
This is my definition of a guilty pleasure beach read. Filled with real quotations and ironically misattributed ones, I chuckled more than a few times. Because of a shift in cloud cover in November 22, JFK lives and is reelected. The butterfly effect continues: we are not bogged down in Nam, the Civil Rights Act dies in committee, and Reagan faces off with Humphrey in '68 (after a peaceful Chicago DNC). Somewhat appropriately, I finished it on the beach in Hyannisport.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
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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...

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