u_topn picture
Atlantic Unbound Sidebar



Seymour Hersh
From The Dark Side of Camelot
(Little, Brown, 1997)

Author's Note

This is not a book about John Kennedy's brilliant moments, and his brilliant policies. Nor is it a book about the awful moment of his death and why he was shot.

John Kennedy's policies and his life contained many superb moments. After his death, his glamour and wit combined with his successes in foreign affairs and domestic policies -- real and imagined -- to create the myth of Camelot. But there was a dark side to Camelot, and to John Kennedy.

I began writing this book knowing that it would inevitably move into a sensitive area: When is it relevant to report on the private life of a public man? The central finding that emerged from five years of reporting, and more than a thousand interviews with people who knew and worked with John F. Kennedy, is that Kennedy's private life and personal obsessions -- his character -- affected the affairs of the nation and its foreign policy far more than has ever been known.

This is a book about a man whose personal weaknesses limited his ability to carry out his duties as president. It is also a book about the power of beauty. It tells of otherwise strong and self-reliant men and women who were awed and seduced by Kennedy's magnetism, and who competed with one another to please the most charismatic leader in our nation's history. Many are still blinded today.

In writing this book, my hope is that I have been able to help the nation reclaim some of its history.

Seymour M. Hersh

October 1997


  • Return to an interview with Seymour Hersh

  • Discuss this interview in The Body Politic forum of Post & Riposte.

    Copyright © 1997 by Seymour Hersh. All rights reserved.
  • Cover Atlantic Unbound The Atlantic Monthly Post & Riposte Atlantic Store Search