Book Review: Two Days in June 9780771023873

Book Review: Two Days in June 9780771023873

LiQ_Mag_July_2015_CoverThis book review first appeared in the July 2015 issue of Life in Québec Magazine and on Quebec news and information portal LifeinQuebec.com.

It is reproduced here with their kind permission.

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Review by John Spychka

By Andrew Cohen
ISBN: 9780771023873
Price: $34.00
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

So much has been written about John F. Kennedy; what could another book on his life offer?

Montrealer Andrew Cohen researched previously unavailable sources to offer readers an intimate look at Kennedy’s life, centred around two key speeches given on June 10 and 11, 1963.

The first speech, called “A Strategy of Peace,” focused on nuclear disarmament and opened the door for the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, ratified later that year. At the time, “mutually assured destruction” was a household term.

Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev understood Kennedy was opening the door to peace talks, although many American and Russian hardliners felt it was a mistake.

The second speech addressed civil rights and was given on live TV, a new medium at that time. Kennedy got the speech minutes before going on-air. Timing, though, was critical: June 11 was the day of the standoff at the University of Alabama, where Governor George Wallace physically blocked two black students from entering the university.

The two speeches planted the seeds of change in the minds of Americans.

The book also details other challenges Kennedy faced during those two days in June — questions of space exploration, pay equity, daycare and Vietnam.

Cohen, a former Washington correspondent, offers readers an authoritative narrative.

Review by John Spychka

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