Saturday, 19 April 2014
What distinguishes this book from many allohistorical texts - particularly those considered with political popular culture (that is a term I can apply to the Kennedy assassinations, no?) - is that the author is genuinely a political insider. He had familiarity with many of the people he writes about, including the Kennedys. He also brings years of experience as a political analyst and commentator. This knowledge has led him to write a book that is more daunting than the average 'science fiction'/casual reader might desire. It is, however, the key to Greenfield's approach.
Much of what Greenfield considers in weighing historical alternatives is based on tweaking a single event, and then looking at the weight of likely political response, particularly in how the negotiation of alliances, strategizing, and campaigning would play itself out in the new circumstances provided by the author's re-imagining. So, for instance, RFK's near-assassination is obviously important, but where the true 'grit' of Greenfield's imagination gains its importance is how he conceives of RFK's electoral chances given the likely messaging his team would have pursued, who the Republicans might have selected as their candidate in response to the changed circumstances, and how their competing messages might have played out in the various electoral colleges. Frankly, fascinating, daunting, exhausting reading that offers much for historians and political junkies alike.
I admit to knowing nothing about Greenfield before I read this book. I picked it up based on an interest in political allohistory.
Monday, 7 April 2014
In short, the greatest value of this book is its intriguing insight into how a contemporary television news-type corporation works, from the perspective of the coffee-fetchers and wrench-turners. For this, Muto has provided an eminently worthy book for university students hoping to break into big media work.
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
His story is not merciless; he clearly loves the city he grew up in, and returned to. He has family there, who much like the city itself, struggle with decay, loss of dignity, and poor coping mechanisms. They figure in his story as well.
Elegiac in tone, unsparing in its assessment, frightening in its observations, Duff has indeed offered an autopsy for a patient who has died. The city he describes is a new thing, a shell of the destroyed American dream.