Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Unfinished blog.

Meager blogging for a while to come. My for-pay work is gripping like a vise at the moment; there’s always the white noise of domesticity at home, especially when you can’t turn the kids loose in the back yard; the ice-covered, wind-swept, mostly dark month of January doesn’t offer that much to write about, especially since it discourages walking around, which is a good way to see things; and I’d rather be reading anyway, especially now that I’ve got a compelling book in hand.

An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy by Robert Dallek was well lauded when it was published a few years ago, and after a few hundred pages I can see why. There’s the detailed research, of course. And there’s the solid prose style, without which a 711-page book would be a waste of pulp. But more than that, Dallek writes about President Kennedy as a human being, rather than a repository for his large body of myth.

Also, though I knew this going in, I’m still astonished by how sickly he really was, which I understand was one of the real revelations of the book. Bowel troubles, spinal problems, Addison’s disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcers, malaria and more. It’s a wonder he lived long enough to be assassinated. It’s almost as if the Devil came to make a deal with an overeager teenage JFK: “Besides your family’s wealth, you can have great fame and vast power—and all the girls you want. But you can’t have good health.” “Did you say all the girls I want?”


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