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Extended Audio Sample Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House, by Robert Dallek Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Dallek Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In his acclaimed biography of JFK, Robert Dallek revealed Kennedy, the man and the leader, as never before. In Camelot’s Court, he takes an insider’s look at the brain trust whose contributions to the successes and failures of Kennedy’s administration were indelible.

Kennedy purposefully assembled a dynamic team of advisers noted for their brilliance and acumen, among them Attorney General Robert Kennedy, his “adviser-in-chief”; Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Secretary of State Dean Rusk; National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy; and trusted aides Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger. Yet the very traits these men shared also created sharp divisions. Far from unified, JFK’s administration was an uneasy band of rivals whose personal ambitions and clashing beliefs ignited fiery debates behind closed doors.

With skill and balance, Dallek details the contentious and critical issues of Kennedy’s years in office, including the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, civil rights, and Vietnam. He illuminates a president who believed deeply in surrounding himself with the best and the brightest, yet who often found himself disappointed in their recommendations. The result is a striking portrait of a leader whose wise resistance to pressure and adherence to personal principles, particularly in matters of foreign affairs, offer a cautionary tale for our own time.

Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Camelot’s Court is an intimate tour of a tumultuous White House and a new portrait of the men whose powerful influence shaped the Kennedy legacy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Dallek’s portraits of advisers including Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Walt Rostow are lapidary, and it is difficult to quarrel with his judgments.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Dallek is an assiduous digger into archives…The story of how a glamorous but green young president struggled with conflicting and often bad advice while trying to avoid nuclear Armageddon remains a gripping and cautionary tale of the loneliness of command.”

    Washington Post

  • “Think The Best and the Brightest meets Team of Rivals…Dallek is one of the deans of presidential scholarship.”


  • “Dallek adds new insights beyond those in his excellent 2003 biography of JFK. Here is a compelling view of the president’s often frustrating interactions with cabinet members and high-placed government officials. Verdict: Readers who keep up with the body of work on JFK will appreciate Dallek’s page-turning style. Historians will value his excellent scholarship as he, in effect, revisits David Halberstam's classic, The Best and the Brightest.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “The author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 returns with descriptions and assessments of the fallen president’s principal advisers…Dallek examines each of JFK’s crises in detail, focusing on what the advisers were (or were not) telling him, and he notes several times that their failure to reach consensus was a serious problem. The author spares no one. He chides JFK for his womanizing, LBJ for his ego, and McNamara for his credulousness. Here is perhaps the only account of the 1963 March on Washington that does not mention King’s speech. More than a little admiring of Arthur, but there's clear-eyed criticism of his Round Table.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “After the assassination, Jackie and some Kennedy cabinet members promoted a romanticized vision of the late president. It started with Jackie’s interview with Life magazine, in which she compared the Kennedy White House to King Arthur’s court. A spate of glowing biographies followed. Myths are one thing; facts are another. Camelot’s Court is an unvarnished account of JFK’s inner circle (nicknamed the ‘Ministry of Talent’)…Dallek has cleverly spiced up his scholarly reporting. In doing so, he humanizes the sometimes brittle politician…[and] takes a measured view of what might have happened had JFK not been killed.”


  • One of the Globe and Mail (Toronto) Best Books of 2013
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