"Next to President Kennedy and perhaps his brother, Robert, Ted Sorenson was probably the most important individual in the country [during the Kennedy administration]." So intones analyst and professor Ralph Buultjens in his introduction of Ted Sorenson, JFK’s special counsel, advisor, and longtime speechwriter. Indeed, students of Kennedy history point to Sorenson as the great behind-the-scenes figure of the time.
In this edition of Live from the 92nd Street Y, recorded in 2008, two years before Sorenson’s passing, Professor Buultjens and Sorenson discuss the civil rights movement, the space race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his famous, fallen boss.
In his intimate and revealing memoir, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History, Sorensen recalls some of the most dramatic moments of Kennedy's presidency, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil rights movement and the decision to go to the moon. He discusses current events and Kennedy's legacy with noted professor Ralph Buultjens.
Although I thought this an interesting interview and it did contain some historically relevant record of the Obama Clinton race for the Presidency, it was not as revealing as I had hoped it might be about the topics everyone wanted to hear Sorensen speak about; Camelot, the assassination, JFK's input into those famous speeches and the other politically sensitive things like the Bay of Pigs and Nixon. Still, it was good to hear him speak in his measured way and to imagine the calm that he (probably not O'Donell) brought to the tension that gripped the Whitehouse during the Missile Crisis. Worth the time and the meager expense.
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A very enlightening set of valuable inside knowledge from a real character that was with the Kennedy brothers from before Jack became president till after Bob was murdered.