Of course Kennedy had style to spare. That, combined with the fact that Nixon was the GOP presidential nominee in , enabled Schlesinger to climb aboard the Kennedy bandwagon without any qualms of conscience. Schlesinger was to serve as Special Assistant to the President. No one had more than a murky understanding of what that title was meant to entail. Schlesinger had no staff and no fixed responsibilities. With or without invitation, he dashed off memos advising Kennedy on sundry matters. His actual function—and the reason Kennedy wanted him around in the first place—was to serve as a sort of court historian in waiting.
Put him in front of a typewriter and words, sentences, and whole paragraphs gushed forth. Put him in front of a typewriter and words, sentences, and whole paragraphs gushed forth: In just over a year, he crafted a massive memoir-history of the Kennedy administration that appeared in under the title of A Thousand Days. It was a bravura performance, delivering precisely what Kennedy himself and the Kennedy family had counted on Schlesinger to produce.
A grateful Jacqueline Kennedy sent Schlesinger a congratulatory note comparing him to Plutarch and Thucydides. A Thousand Days was more akin to an epic poem in prose form. Schlesinger depicted JFK as more than a mere mortal and his assassination as something more than a politically motivated murder—in his telling it was an incomparable historical tragedy affecting all of humankind. Intent on returning to his Roosevelt project, Schlesinger accepted a position with the City University of New York—the teaching duties were light, the amenities generous—and moved to Manhattan.
Newly divorced and something of a celebrity in his own right, Schlesinger soon emerged as a man about town. All was not frivolity, however. At the same time, as a leading figure of the liberal Democratic establishment, Schlesinger himself came in for sharp criticism from the New Left. In some quarters, liberal had become an epithet.
After only the briefest hesitation, he accepted the invitation. In this instance, however, the project took far longer to complete than expected. Starting a new family while in his fifties, he became a devoted father. Nixon inspired Schlesinger to rethink his enthusiasm for an activist chief executive in the mold of FDR.
His anti-Nixon brief found expression in his book The Imperial Presidency. When Robert Kennedy and His Times finally appeared in , it pleased Kennedy acolytes but struck others as overly long and uncritical. In truth Schlesinger now found himself increasingly out of step with the prevailing political and cultural climate. Although he kept writing, he increasingly came across as something of crank. In his later years he retained his ability to provoke.
Yet his views now seemed retrograde, a throwback to another time.
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After a long period of physical decline during which he demonstrated a continuing zest for life, Schlesinger died abruptly of a heart attack in February Yet with very rare exceptions, historians themselves are a disposable commodity, their work destined to be superseded or simply forgotten. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. Now we are going one step further to become completely ad-free. This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks or barriers to entry.
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Please try again later. The parts on what liberals do wrong, and how the American political system is set up to favor conservatism were very interesting. There are many other useful discussions and practical tips for the left, such as creating a simple coherent message and sticking to it. While fairly readable, sometimes the convoluted sentences and wording were difficult to wade though. As social commentators struggle to reinvent the wheel, one might forget that the ultimate and primordial diagnosis of the ills of liberalism came into being quite some time ago from an unmentionable source, constantly plagiarized.
Without the usual leftist shibboleths, this version of 'leftis lite' moves pst cross-eyed 'tactics liberalisms' floundering in the tide of engineered reaction now flooding the civil space. One person found this helpful. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.
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