What Would JFK Do? A Way to Find Out ...

By James Fallows

The recent step back from the brink of the Syrian showdown has led to many comparisons, admiring and otherwise, with John F. Kennedy's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

That is as good reason as any to highlight the appearance of the Atlantic's stand-alone commemorative issue on JFK, on sale at newsstands and in electronic edition now. I had nothing to do with this project and saw it only when it was complete, so I can come right out and say that it is an exceptional and physically beautiful piece of work, which I think will set a high standard for the Kennedy appreciations we are going to see on the 50th anniversary of his death. 

As with our commemorative (and also beautiful, and very popular) Civil War war edition published early last year, this one makes the most of the Atlantic's having been in business during the period we're looking back on. It includes an article Kennedy himself wrote for the magazine as a young Senator; one by Eleanor Roosevelt making a tough realpolitik argument for the Peace Corps as a way to outflank the Soviets; Washington-insider reports on what seemed to be working, and not, for the Kennedy Administration as it was getting going; plus a range of eminent historians: Samuel Eliot Morrison after Kennedy's death, and (on the Cuban Missile Crisis and other topics) Garry Wills, Robert Dallek, James MacGregor Burns, Alan Brinkley, and more. Thomas Mallon with fiction about the assassination, an introduction by Bill Clinton, and ....

... and, the main thing may be the photos. I've seen photos of John Kennedy and his family all my conscious life, but this issue contains quite a few I had never seen before. This is worth checking out. By which I mean, you should buy it.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/09/what-would-jfk-do-a-way-to-find-out/279597/