Camelot rages on

Portrait of Camelot: A Thousand Days in the Kennedy White House by Richard Reeves
While visiting the Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum (witness flipped-out-with-bliss, wind-blown weirdo above) I saw this book in the gift shop (damn, I love presidential library gift shops!) And the DVD included with the book was running on the little TV screen there, and I knew I had to experience this thing.
This book is one of those timeless numbers. It’s completely a look book (that’s coffee table book in Unruly lingo), with photos by Cecil Stoughton, the president’s photographer (who was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa! It’s true! He was an Osky boy).
Small digression: On PBS, there’s a fully great documentary called The President’s Photographer, which follows President Obama’s photographer Pete Souza. At the time I’m posting this, the documentary can be viewed online. (I love that.)
Back to JFK—Cecil Stoughton was a master of capturing real moments; it’s really quite a lovely thing. And he’d become enough a part of the Kennedys’ lives that he was able to capture images of them that probably are about as natural as you’re going to get.

If you’re a Kennedy geek like me, here’s the thing to do with this book: Open to a page, do not look at the caption, and scan the photo to see how many people you can identify. Then check the caption to see how many faces you correctly identified. If you can correctly identify JFK’s sisters by name, you get bonus points. I tell you, it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys (which has always sounded to me like no-fun-at-all, actually; why’d you put monkeys in a barrel, anyway?) For some of the speech photos and bill-signing photos, not all people are identified. But a person eventually recognizes McGeorge Bundy well enough to know it’s really him.

(photo credit: John F. Kennedy Library & Museum)

This book has a picture—or several—on every page. It is a feast for the eyes, and a veritable smorgasbord for the JFK geeks among us.
If I were a book buyer, I’d have to own this book. I actually may eventually break down and buy it, which is nothing short of a miracle—and very high praise for any book.

(Hey look! We’re watching them watch Alan Shepard getting launched! [wild squealing commences] Look at how messy Evelyn Lincoln’s office was! Look at Schlesinger, geeking out as only he could do!])

(photo credit: John F. Kennedy Library & Museum)