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JFK Recordings
September 22, 2012 6:31 PM   Subscribe

"The story came straight from Kennedy himself." "Though even some of his closest aides did not know at the time, Kennedy recorded more than 260 hours of Oval Office conversations, telephone calls and dictation into his Dictaphone. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation has culled the highlights into a new book of annotated transcripts and two audio CDs. Some of audio portions will be available online." Please note the recording links on the left side of the page.
posted by HuronBob (15 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can't wait to hear/read these. I've heard several of the previously released recordings, and they never cease to be fascinating.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:00 PM on September 22, 2012


Obama’s Way
He’s kept the desk used by Bush—the one with the secret panel made famous by John-John Kennedy. It had been brought in by Jimmy Car­ter to replace the one with the secret taping system in it, used by Johnson and Nixon. “Is there a taping system in here?” I asked, gazing up at the crown molding.

“No,” he said, then added, “It’d be fun to have a taping system. It’d be wonderful to have a verbatim rec­ord of history.” Obama doesn’t come across as political or calculating, but every now and then it seems to occur to him how something would sound, if repeated out of context and then handed as a weapon to people who wish him ill. “Actually,” he said, “I’ve got to be careful here [about what I say].”
posted by homunculus at 8:15 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Gotta love his parting words to Eisenhower: " Hang on tight!"

The man was cool under pressure, got to give him that.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:32 PM on September 22, 2012


Kind of scary that he sent people to Alaska for failing to correctly anticipate his wishes. Still, at least this wasn't in Russia, where people would have been sent to Siberia ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:06 PM on September 22, 2012


But they could quit here.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


From listening to the actual conversation, it seems that things went further than that. They expensed $5k for furniture, which was bad enough, but upon examination, it appeared to be nowhere near 5k in value, with no good explanation of where the rest of the money went. An assignment in Alaska would have been getting off lightly.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:14 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fantastic insight, thanks for posting.
posted by arcticseal at 10:01 PM on September 22, 2012


I always enjoy "how stuff really works" stories.

Coincidentally, I'm reading The President's Club, and I just finished the chapter on Kennedy. Excellent book for anyone interested in Oval Office life, and how the presidents deal with each other.
posted by The Deej at 10:02 PM on September 22, 2012


Fascinating post, thanks HuronBob. And homunculus, thanks for a link to that great article

Even tho I am a Mass native, I marvel at that Kennedy accent.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:35 PM on September 22, 2012


And homunculus, thanks for a link to that great article

My pleasure. Actually, I got it from vidur's post here.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


every now and then it seems to occur to him how something would sound, if repeated out of context and then handed as a weapon to people who wish him ill

I want to tell him, "Dude, that's been your life since 2007."
posted by zombieflanders at 4:34 AM on September 23, 2012


I want to hear his conversations with his trouser tailor before I really respect him.
posted by srboisvert at 8:00 AM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Several tapes have already been released in their entirely, as the article states. The ones dealing with the Cuban Missle Crisis are great studies unto themselves. These were used verbatim to reconstruct the meetings in the Kevin Costner film, "Thirteen Days". Fascinating stuff.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:04 AM on September 23, 2012


Wow, that first recording about James Meredith and the integration of Ole Miss is fascinating. I can see why historians would be creaming their pants, but this:

culled the highlights

kinda bugs me. There's no reason the Kennedy Library folks couldn't release all 260 hours as soon as possible to everyone, not just select historians. I know this sounds snide, but I'd love to hear what historians have access to that we only get after careful "culling" and "a serious historian providing context for each conversation." Now that it's all cleaned up and listenable, maybe sometime in the future the rest of us will get to hear everything, after the Kennedy Library folks have had a chance to cash in with their book.
posted by mediareport at 4:01 PM on September 23, 2012


(Just to be clear, I don't begrudge them the book at all, just hope that sooner rather than later we get to hear all of the tapes ourselves. It'd be a fun group transcription project, if nothing else.)
posted by mediareport at 4:25 PM on September 23, 2012


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