JFK: The cultural impact of an assassination

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This year marks 25 years since the release of Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991), starring Kevin Costner and a flamboyant supporting cast including Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. The three hour-plus film reignited debate over the 1963 assassination of US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A quarter of a century on, that debate still festers. In addition to Stone’s fascinating (though hugely flawed) production, Kennedy’s murder has spawned countless books, films, television documentaries and websites, each devoted to solving the crime. Virtually all take a position on the shooting underpinned by one of two competing theories. On … Continue reading

America’s war with Indochina

In 1961 the Kennedy administration came into office and inherited the Eisenhower policy of sending military advisors to South Vietnam in support of the Saigon government. The American presence in Vietnam had reached 800 by the close of the Eisenhower era and by 1963 President Kennedy would increase the number of military advisors to 16,000. The first strikes came in 1961 as the Kennedy administration sent war planes with South Vietnamese markings against rural targets where 80% of the population lived and the Viet Cong insurgency had taken root in South Vietnam. The war planes were manufactured in the United … Continue reading