Beefed up with previously unavailable archival footage, this History Channel documentary sheds new light on President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s physical and political tests of will during his truncated term of office. Although JFK was groomed for leadership, he had to learn to trust his own instincts once he
made it to the oval office. Throughout his 1000-day tenure, he faced off against the Soviet Union's Nikita Kruschev, who recklessly used his country's nuclear arsenal as a bargaining chip. Kennedy's most damaging anti-Communist blunder was the Bay of Pigs fiasco, a Cuban military invasion that failed because the new president was intimidated by the military old guard. JFK subsequently relied more on his brother Bobby and no longer allowed others dictate his policies, regardless of which general's boots he had to step on. Although the media kept Kennedy's personal life out of the press, the president's inner circle did its part to make sure the general public never realized the extent of his health problems, which included colitis, Addison’s Disease and osteoporosis. Crises proliferated. When not busy keeping blackmailing FBI director J. Edgar Hoover at arm's length, Kennedy was dealing with the ramifications of troop escalation in Vietnam. But no political contretemps compared with Kruschev's power plays; though outraged, Kennedy allowed Russia to build the Berlin Wall so Kruschev could save face and would back down from the brink of war. In addition to averting a nuclear holocaust, JFK changed the face of the presidency; the first family became American royalty. On November 22, 1962, this "flawed giant" was assassinated. America has never recovered spiritually or morally from the loss. Assassination conspiracy theorists will have to look elsewhere for hot new theories; this lengthy documentary focuses on presidential accomplishments and liabilities. In showing how JFK's leadership skills evolved during his time in office, this balanced chronicle doesn't ignore his drug-dependency or womanizing but places Kennedy's human frailty in a greater context.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: Beefed up with previously unavailable archival footage, this History Channel documentary sheds new light on President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s physical and political tests of will during his truncated term of office. Although JFK was groomed for leadershi… (more)