The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign
1956 would turn into a year of possibilities in the US presidential election. The incumbent, Dwight Eisenhower, had recently suffered a heart attack, causing doubt about his run for re-election. The Democratic field was also up for grabs as Lyndon Johnson was also ill. Senator John Kennedy saw an opportunity to vault himself into higher office by taking the VP slot under Adlai Stevenson. Kennedy had garnered support for the nod but was still unknown in some parts. His Catholicism would also be viewed with suspicion. Stevenson’s indecision would lead to an open vote for the VP spot, with Kennedy losing out to Estes Kefauver. Kennedy would gain respect that would lead to him seek out the Presidential nomination in the 1960 election. Kennedy’s campaign would strike at the local levels, surpassing the political bosses and overcoming opposition from front-runners such as Hubert Humphrey, Johnson, and others. The 1960 election victory against Richard Nixon would solidify the grassroots effort.
Thomas Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie acknowledge treading over familiar ground; however, their work adds more to the previous literature. The run-up to the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy race is often overlooked and the pitched battles in the Democratic party are often a footnote. This book is a trailblazer in that vein, an excellent addition to the Kennedy history.
Simon & Schuster
Thomas Oliphant • Curtis Wilkie