Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reaga n” as Want to Read:
Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reaga n
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reaga n

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  728 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
The New York Times bestseller from Jeff Greenfield, the renowned CBS News senior political correspondent and veteran of CNN and ABC news, offering an alternative history of America. These things are true: * In December 1960, a suicide bomber paused when he saw the young President-elect John F. Kennedy's family come to the door to wave good-bye.... * In June 1968, Robert F. ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Berkley (first published January 28th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Then Everything Changed, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Then Everything Changed

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Matt Mitrovich
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've made no secret on how I disprove of America presidential alternate histories. Next to the American Civil War, it is one of the easiest alternate histories to get wrong. When an alternate historian changes the results of an election they are doing one of two things: either the world will be a utopia when the loser wins or the world will be a dystopia when the loser wins. There is rarely any middle ground.

Then I read Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics J
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History turns on a dime. It is dynamic, not static. A missed meeting, a chance encounter, a different choice of words, and the outcome changes dramatically (from the inside flap).

In Then Everything Changed, political analyst Jeff Greenfield gives us three events in 20th century American politics and presents the 'what might have been' scenarios. First is a little known attempt on John F Kennedy's life in December 1960, after election day but before the Electoral College met to confirm the result
Nov 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finished THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED quickly but I grew more and more annoyed with it as I did so. I'm up for a good counter-factual, and the scenarios explored in the book are not your standard what-if-JFK-had-lived scenario, but Greenfield's narratives feature a number of bad habits that writers of alternate history often fall into: anachronistic jokes, awkwardly shoe-horning in famous people (and famous quotes) into the story, and active wish fulfillment (in this case of the boomer high Broderi ...more
Noah Gittell
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Asking the question - "what if?" - is a serious and delicate proposition. Looking at back at one's life to wonder what would have happened if a few key moments had turned out differently can lead to an innocent fantasy or a darker path of regret. Would I still be alive? Would I be happier? What would I be doing with my life? These questions are no simple matter. Greenfield respects this notion by crafting both a serious alternative-narrative of key moments in recent Presidential history, while t ...more
Mal Warwick
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trade-fiction
There is a subspecies of the human race that is afflicted, usually from birth, with an insatiable thirst for politics. This book was written for them — and, to this political junkie, what a book it is!

Here we see one perspective on what might have happened had a little known but all too real would-be-assassin succeeded in killing John F. Kennedy in 1960, after the election but even before the Electoral College met to certify his winning the Presidency. With Lyndon Johnson ascending to the White
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gives you a lot to think about...what if JFK had been assassinated before the electoral college had cast its votes? How would that constitutional problem been solved? What if RFK hadn't been assassinated in California and he won the presidency? What social programs would we have today? Would we have gotten out of Vietnam earlier? The most interesting segment was on Carter and Ford. What if Ford hadn't flubbed the debate question about Soviet domination in Eastern Europe and had beaten Carter? Ho ...more
Billy Roper
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is a real political insider with an intimate knowledge and understanding of Presidential politics, and the mechanisms by which D.C. functions. This book is highly recommended for any political junkie or fan of alternate history.
Orville Jenkins
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent, well-written, even riveting, analysis of American political history in the last half of the 20th century.

This work represents a new, productive and insightful approach to history, called Alternate History. The approach is to review a key event or factor and develop what might have happened if one important event had turned out differently.

Greenfield analyzes these Presidencies this way. What if John F Kennedy had been assassinated after his election, but before he was inaug
Tony Heyl
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a lot of fun for a history/politics junkie like me. Greenfield, a CNN contributor, takes three actual instances of major events that nearly happened and then alters history. Instead of being shot in 1963, JFK is killed by a suicide bomber in the late fall of 1960, after his election but before the inauguration, making LBJ President for the Cuban Missile Crisis and very much altering how the civil rights struggles happened. (There had been a bomber in 1960, but he stopped himself at the ...more
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It took on three what if events and used historical data to justify certain paths political avenues took. I loved the arguments presented, though some of the endings took much suspension of disbelief. A fun read.
One for the political junkies but also an interesting take on alt-history. Small differences may make a difference.
Greenfield certainly knows his modern American politics. This could well be read as a primer on modern politics in the U.S..
He can certainly tell a story and tell it very well.
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Let's get the elephant out of the way first: I'm shelving this as nonfiction because of the volumes of research used to create these alternate histories, and because it read more like a nonfiction work than a novel. That said, obviously, there are liberties taken here with history that make it entirely fictional.

What if JFK had been assassinated as president-elect? What if Robert Kennedy had been saved? What if Ford had handled just one question better in the debate?

For someone interested in but
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy alternate history; in fact, I write it. I sure don't write it like this, though. Mr. Greenfield offers a very well researched book that contains three separate sections, each starting with a minor point of divergence and examining the effect on history, addressing many aspects.

In the first section, an assassin kills John F. Kennedy after the election but before he takes office. In the second, Robert Kennedy doesn't get assassinated. In the third, Gerald Ford adeptly recovers from a verb
Debbie J
I think Then Everything Changed resembles a history textbook, but with fantasy mixed in. The problem is, if you don’t know what truly happened, you may at times have trouble separating the fiction from the facts.

Author Jeff Greenfield shows here a rich writing style and one which includes some stylistic choices I saw as annoying. First he takes real game-changing events and both has them happen in different time frames and involve other people.

Next he has noted D.C. insiders posit the absurdity
An interesting interpretation of what might've happened had history been turned in the other direction at a few pivotal moments in regards to the president of the United States. An interesting read, however, in some cases I think it dragged on.

Maybe it would be more enjoyable for people who have lived through the era. An era that mainly began with JFK as president. My parents' generation.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting look at what could have happened if specific historical atrocities hadn't occurred. The insight that Jeff Greenfield provides makes you almost believe that his alternative history actually happened.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the end, it feels like an entire book of speculation arranged just to end with a weird and mean Clinton joke.
Danilo DiPietro
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing and very credible alternate scenarios for some key historical events. And you learn a lot about the politics of the times along the way.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greenfield creates a wonderful piece of alternate history meant to entertain the history and political buff alike. His three novellas posit that a single change in history can greatly alter everything that happens thereafter, leaving the ‘new truth’ totally unrecognizable from the known reality that history birthed. With a strong cast of historically accurate characters and plausible scenarios, Greenfield uses his experience in the political world and his smooth writing style to create ‘what if’ ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was prepared to give this 5 stars until the inexcusably weak ending. Great idea and almost great execution though.
I won a copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads program, and thank you very much for that. I'm not sure what prompted me to enter the drawing, as I generally prefer reading fiction. I do remember watching Mr. Greenfield do political commentary on television when I was a teenager, and I remember being impressed by his command of the language. Upon winning a copy of the book, I became alarmed that I was about to read a book written in overly academic and esoteric language, thereby making ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most of us are aware of how much life can change in a minute: A gunshot kills someone. A gun shot misses killing someone. A person says the wrong thing and damages a relationship. A person says or explains everything correctly. Using fact and fiction in THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED, Jeff Greenfield puts this to a test by exploring how the United States might have been different if the actual scenarios had differed.
In the first incident, an extremist planned to run a car filled with explosives into J
Alternate history stories are among the most difficult. To really enjoy them, the reader must have some understanding of the history surrounding the events that the author chooses to alter. In the case of Greenfield's book, unless you lived through the events, you would need graduate degrees in History and Political Science to fully appreciate the stories.

The first story takes an event that history has almost forgotten: in 1960, a suicide bomber named Richard Pavlick has a car full of explosives
Dan C.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I like and don't like "alternate history." On the one hand, I find it interesting to contemplate what might have happened had certain events happened or not happened. But more often than not, alternate history fiction is handled very clumsily and is usually reduced to "what would happen if someone showed up at the US Civil War with automatic weapons?" THAT kind of alternate history doesn't intrigue me in the slightest and honestly, that's probably more science fiction than anything else. But as ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LBJ was one of the most interesting presidents from recent history. His dislike of JFK was well known, and his mutual hatred with RFK was legendary. If JFK had lived, and if RFK had become president? Much would have changed.
Three and a half stars.

I have no doubt that Greenfield could write brilliant, well researched and insightful essays about each of his central premises. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he decided to explore those ideas in novella length fiction that reads very much like essays forced into a story format.

One of the basic rules of good story telling is to show rather than tell and this is where Greenfield fails. The stories are 90-95% exposition. Each story even has at least one section with bu
Scott Martin
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Audiobook). With as much attention as we are giving the 2016 Presidential Election in Summer 2015, perhaps it is just as well that I would end up listening to a book about a series of counterfactual histories regarding the American Presidency between 1960-1980. This was actually quite a well-researched work as Jeff Greenfield applied his insider political knowledge combined with extensive historical and political research to try to put together a plausible alternative if certain things happened ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting theories about some major "what if's" in American history. But, you have to know somIn this disjointed fiction, there are some interesting theories about several "what if's" in American history. But, you have to know something about the periods (1960's-1980's) to appreciate the stories. And, it helps to have a strong constitution to plow through the unending paragraphs of exposition rather than a novel with characters, plot, and dialog. If Jeff Greenfield had just taken one inci ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always love asking the "what if" question when I consider history. There were many points in national and world history when a seemingly small detail drastically changed what would have happened. Wen I found this in audio book format from my library it seemed like it was right up my alley.

This book is shelved in the non-fiction section of the library but it is almost fiction. The author is able to move past fiction by using histories, opinions from eye witnesses (including his own opinions as
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • From Then to Now: A Short History of the World
  • Surrounded by Enemies: A Breakpoint Novel
  • Virtual History: Alternatives And Counterfactuals
  • In the Presence of Mine Enemies
  • Alternate Presidents
  • Stars and Stripes Triumphant (Stars & Stripes, #3)
  • Lewis  Clark
  • Hitler Victorious: Eleven Stories of the German Victory in World War II
  • White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters
  • Pitchforks and Torches: The Worst of the Worst, from Beck, Bill, and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans
  • Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization
  • Nixon Volume #2: The Triumph of a Politician 1962-1972
  • Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims' First Year in America
  • My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz
  • Year of Decisions
  • The Peshawar Lancers
  • The Two Georges
  • Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court
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

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God: A
    $11.49 $2.99
“In politics, Bugs Bunny always beats Daffy Duck. Daffy's always going berserk, jumping up and down, yelling. Bugs's got that sly smile, like he always knows what's up, like nothing can ruffle him.” 5 likes
“A citizen at his home in Rockford, Illinois, or Boulder, Colorado, could read a newspaper, listen to a radio, or watch the round-the-clock coverage on television, but he had no way of connecting with those who shared his views. Nor was there a quick, readily available tool for an ordinary citizen to gather information on his own. In 1960, communication was a one-way street, and information was fundamentally inaccessible. The whole idea of summoning up data or reaching thousands of individuals with the touch of a finger was a science-fiction fantasy.” 4 likes
More quotes…