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Far as the Eye Can See por Robert Bausch
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Far as the Eye Can See (edição 2015)

por Robert Bausch (Autor)

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1197180,003 (3.98)9
"John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago--yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato--himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency--explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors. A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn't died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK's assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public's view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK's presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions--often in surprising ways--of every president since. Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half-Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK's short presidency has had on our national psyche"--… (mais)
Membro:HaroldTitus
Título:Far as the Eye Can See
Autores:Robert Bausch (Autor)
Informação:Bloomsbury USA (2015), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*****
Etiquetas:Western Indian/U.S. Army wars

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The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy por Larry J. Sabato

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The subtitle of this chunky volume gives you an idea of the scope of the work: "The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy." It can easily be read in parts. Sabato covers what is known, suspected and suggested about Kennedy's assassination in a well-organized, objective and enlightening fashion, based on years of research using all the documentation available as of 2013. (Additional documents are just now being released, or re-released without redactions, and Sabato refers to those from time to time, indicating that while he expects them to be of interest, he does not believe there will be anything particularly startling in them, nor will they answer, once and for all, the 50-year-old questions about Kennedy's murder.) Sabato did not set out to prove anything, which makes this the best book I've ever read about this highly charged subject. Sabato also has a reader-friendly style of narrative that kept me going strong through over 400 pages of text. If all you're interested in is the assassination, you can stop around page 256. But as fascinating as that all is, the subsequent chapters, in which the author examines closely how the next nine U. S. Presidents quoted, praised, invoked, imitated, misrepresented, appropriated or ignored JFK and his legacy, are must reading for all political junkies and plain old history buffs. If this had been my own book, it would be studded with page-point markers. It isn't just good narrative non-fiction, it's a valuable reference work as well, with over 150 pages of end notes, and an extensive index. Highly recommended.
July, 2017 ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Jul 28, 2017 |
Robert Bausch’s first person narrated “Far as the Eye Can See” is the best historical novel that I have read this year. It is instructive about hostile relations between Native American tribes and whites (and, especially, the U.S. Army) in the West during the 1870s, it is character driven with important romantic elements, it is an adventure story -- I was to the very end of the novel concerned about the protagonist’s fate -- and it is philosophical.

Bausch’s protagonist is a twenty-nine year old man that calls himself Bobby Hale. We are told that much of Hale’s childhood was devoid of affection. His mother died of cholera when he was nine. His father abandoned him immediately thereafter. He was raised in Philadelphia by a spinster aunt, who “never once looked upon me with anything but impatience and disparagement.” During the Civil War he joined the Union army seven times to collect enlistment bounties: each time joining, collecting his bonus, deserting, moving to a different Northern city, changing his name and enlisting. Near the War’s end, not able to desert, he experienced fierce combat. “I seen men dropping next to me in rows like something cut down by a thresher in a wheat field.” After the War he stayed in the Richmond, Virginia, area for four years working menial jobs but dreaming vaguely of living a free life in the Far West “where land was there for any fellow with the nerve to stake it out and call it his.” Eventually, he bought a horse, a 32-cartridge repeating carbine, and other essential equipment and accompanied a wagon train out of St. Louis headed for Oregon. All of this is important for us to know prior to the first major event that Hale narrates.

“Far as the Eye Can See” opens with a prologue. Hale has done something not yet revealed that has caused him to abandon his job of scout for the army, whose mission is to find and collect all of the Indian tribes in the Yellowstone River area and move them to specific areas near specified forts. The act that Hale has committed has him believing that both soldiers and Indians have good reason to track and kill him. Traveling hastily toward Bozeman, Montana, he discovers that he is being followed. Hiding behind an outcropping of large boulders, he sees what appears to be an Indian crawling through underbrush seemingly intent on attacking him unawares. He wounds the Indian and discovers the person is a young woman. The shot has ripped a shallow tear across her abdomen. She tells him that she is a half breed, has escaped from a Sioux village, and is fearful that her Indian husband is tracking her to kill her. Hale treats her wound and they leave, together, determined to find a distant sanctuary.

The novel now backtracks to Hale’s experiences prior to his meeting “Ink,” the half-Indian, half-white woman. We read of Hale’s adventures of being a part of the wagon train headed out of St. Louis. We meet several white characters possessing varying degrees of bad character. (They reappear later in the novel) We meet also two individuals who will influence positively Hale’s evolving character. One is Theo, the wagon train leader, wise of the shortcomings of mankind, of life on the trail, and of Indian values and behavior. The other is Big Tree, Theo’s wagon master, a six and a half foot massive Crow. Both men believe that when Indians and white men interact more often than not it is the white man who is the savage.

Theo, Hale, Big Tree, and several other members of the train ride out ahead of the wagons. Indians suddenly appear. Surrounded by a party of galloping, yipping Sioux braves, not understanding that individual braves are taking “coup” – touching the tops of white men’s heads with the tips of their lances not to kill but to enhance their reputation for courage and to make good medicine – Hale shoots one of them. Theo is disgusted. He must now prepare the wagon train for certain attack. He tells Hale, “But the truth is, we went into Indian country and murdered a brave. That’s what we done. There ain’t no other way to look at it.” Big Tree’s assessment of whites, expressed after a later incident, is “Wasichus [white men] kill for gladness.”

Theo stops the wagon train at Bozeman and nearby Fort Ellis to wait out the winter. Deciding to reside permanently in Bozeman, he urges Hale to lead the train to Oregon in the spring. Hale refuses to take the responsibility. Theo then recommends that Hale accompany Big Tree on a winter hunting, trapping expedition through the wild lands of the eastern Rocky Mountains. Hale and Big Tree do this for seven years. What Hale learns about Indian life from Big Tree and from his experiences is the second major section of the novel.

When Big Tree and Hale eventually part, Hale returns to Bozeman. In route, he overtakes a wagon owned by two white women whose husbands, missing for more than a year, are presumed to be dead. He helps them reach Bozeman. During this third major section of the novel we observe an evolving relationship between Hale and one of the women that tests Hale’s reluctance to make commitments. Hale eventually promises to escort the two women to Oregon in the spring. He chooses in the meantime to scout for the army because it will provide him an income and warm shelter when he is not on the trail. Hale witnesses firsthand the intractable thinking of the officer class regarding “the Indian problem.” We experience the incident that causes Hale to flee and, eventually, to wound the half-breed girl called Ink. The final section of the novel depicts the dangers he faces and the extent to which he is willing to accept the obligations he feels he must honor regarding the women in Bozeman and Ink’s safety and future.

What interested me most in the novel was Hale’s journey toward commitment to others. Because of his experiences, he has, justifiably, a harsh opinion of mankind. At one point in the novel, he and other wagon train members witness a bald eagle seize a puppy and carry it to its nest. The puppy, observing the humans below, wages its tail, then whimpers, then commences to howl. The train moves on. We do not need to be told the puppy’s fate. Hale comments: “I couldn’t help but think that maybe we’re all a little bit like that dog. We occupy our little space of earth and wait for the damn bird to strike.”

There is so much viciousness that he witnesses, so much stupidity, so much hatred. Life daily is “strife and struggle.” Awaking each morning, he must “look for trouble again.” He wants to believe that there is goodness for him, goodness for any man. Thinking of the two women that he had left in Bozeman, he muses: “It’s a tragic kind of world we find ourselves in, all the time looking for some way to have what we want, hoping for nothing but a reason to hope.” And, “we don’t know all the time what is taken away and what is given. Sometimes we know what we have been given only when it’s been lost.” In the novel’s final chapter he reflects that people talk of living in peace, of not wanting to go to war, of not wanting to kill or be killed. But these, he decides, are just words. “We’re all lying to ourselves and everybody else. … Something way down inside of me feels like it’s dripping and damp and completely evil. I know I am a animal that can talk and there ain’t nothing that will ever save me or no one else.” But, like every human, he has innate needs. Not like every human being he can be empathetic. Ink recognizes his goodness. The final five pages of the novel reveal whether or not he is strong enough to utilize it and whether or not the malevolence of others will eliminate the opportunity. ( )
  HaroldTitus | Sep 13, 2015 |
Unlike the stream of books released near the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's tragic assassination, this one doesn't have a historical axe to grind and is quite balanced in the treatment of his presidency and legacy. I thought he could have condensed the " conspiracy" discussion to a more manageable format; spent too much time plodding through multiple possibilities. I also found it interesting that one of the presidents who frequently quoted JFK and claimed to be carrying on his tradition, was Ronald Reagan. This was the same Reagan who was a constant critic of Kennedy during JFK's presidency. That hypocrisy aside, despite Kennedy's mixed record during his short presidency, he was such a charismatic figure that both political parties have claimed them as their own and try to capitalize on the JFK aura. As Sabato notes, as we get more decades distant from the events of '63, that aura will certainly fade. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
The author's premise is that the Kennedys have affected our national political history since JFK's election. This includes our strained relationship with Cuba, the Viet Nam war, the prominent role of anti-communism in all our foreign policy decisions (Joseph Kennedy was closely connected to Sen. Joseph McCarthy) , Keynesian economics with it's tax cuts and deficit spending, the space program and subsequent progress in technology and medicine, all of which began with Kennedy's presidency. One of the biggest legacies he sees is the general distrust of government which he feels began with the assassination and the inept Warren Commission report. He goes to great lengths to list all the conflicting witnesses and evidence which can prove either Oswald acted alone or that there were others involved. I found it a bit tedious to wade through all of this although he makes a good case for much information being ignored at the time. It was also interesting to look at how JFK's and Jackie's image was protected by the press, hard to imagine in this day of 24 hour news talking to death any small misstep. An interesting book which proposes that Kennedy didn't have the liberal agenda that he is credited with. It is well researched with many end notes and references cited. ( )
  Oregonreader | Jan 21, 2014 |
I thought I had heard and read all there is to know about JFK but, if anything, this book demonstrates that it's not what you say but how you say it. The first chapter takes the reader back to that fateful day 50 years ago in Dallas and closes with Lee Harvey Oswald's denial that he had shot the president leaving the door wide open for the reader to ponder who else would have done it and who could have benefited by it. The following chapters goes back even further to when Kennedy became a member of Congress, a Senator and his eventual rise to the presidency. Friends and rivals were made along the way but would any one enemy find it necessary to assassinate him? Sabato opens the discussion in the chapters which follow, the conspiracy chapters. Extremely interesting that security was lax, that his route was published in the papers days before his arrival. There are the obvious questions regarding Communist's, USSR, Castro, Mafia connections even LBJ himself. Sabato puts it all out there on the table for the reader to debate and mull over. I found the final chapters fascinating in that Sabato had a chapter on each succeeding president after JFK and how his legacy benefited future presidents or hampered them.
Whatever your politics, I highly recommend this book it is captivating. ( )
1 vote Carmenere | Nov 26, 2013 |
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"John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago--yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato--himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency--explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors. A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn't died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK's assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public's view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK's presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions--often in surprising ways--of every president since. Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half-Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK's short presidency has had on our national psyche"--

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