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Reconsidering JFK

Take an exciting new look at JFK’s presidency, enhanced by new documents, interviews, and information about this exciting period in American history.
Reconsidering JFK is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 21.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definitely surpassed expectations So often, we only think of President Kennedy in terms of three main events: the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, and the assassination in Dallas. While this course addresses those topics, it discusses so much more and fleshes out parts of JFK's story that may be new to many people. I especially enjoyed the material from the oral histories of the Kennedy library. That was new information for me, and I thought those stories gave us a unique insight. This class is extremely well written and presented. It adds so much shape to the story, not only of JFK's life, but also the period in which he lived and the people and events that were an integral part of that time. So often we are presented in school with the study of history as simply a collection of names and dates. I'm glad that classes like this one exist to help fill in the context and details which go along with those lists of facts. The only request I would have for future courses or an updated version of the study material for this series is to please add additional reading references. I love being able to read more on the subject.
Date published: 2022-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing eye-opening course JFK's assassination was the first event from the "outside" world that impinged on my young life. I was 7 at the time, and though I was never aware of him when he was alive, his life and legacy were ever present for me after his death. Being a New Englander, raised as a Catholic, and a serious space nerd, JFK has always loomed large. I thought I knew a fair amount about him, but this course really opened my eyes to many aspects of his life and his presidency that I have hitherto had only hints of. The instructor is compelling and knowledgable, and he puts so much in perspective. The extended excerpts from the oral history collection of the JFK Presidential Library make a persuasive case that Kennedy was a complex figure -- much more so than I'd ever realized. One of the best courses I've experienced from TGC.
Date published: 2022-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Very Human Story I thought Dr. Shelden did an excellent job filling in some of the historical blanks through his research but he also tells a very human story which, rather than dimensioning President Kennedy's place in history, enhances it. For example, the origin of the association with Camelot was not just Mrs. Kennedy's desire to control the narrative. It gave the nation a common lament which he illustrated powerfully with the story of the spontaneous emotional response of the audience during a performance in Chicago soon after the murder. I recommend the course even for those who know the story; even those who remember it.
Date published: 2022-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from JFK: The Man and the Myth In this course, Professor Shelden invites us to reconsider the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy through the scholarly lens of a dispassionate historian. Looking beyond myth and Camelot, Professor Shelden paints a compelling portrait of the many challenges and triumphs of one of the most dynamic figures of the Twentieth Century.
Date published: 2022-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from JFK Enjoyed the Professor s view point and it helped supplement my research, I had just started college.Thus having lived at that time in history, I appreciate the reflection.
Date published: 2022-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb! I was introduced to Professor Shelden through his course on Winston Churchill. I was immediately impressed by both his expertise, creativity in shaping the story, and his expert manner of delivery. He was also responsive to an email I sent with a question/comment, in which he also revealed the soon coming project on JFK. I was immediately committed to its purchase. Let it be said I am a fan of Michael Shelden! He is a scholar of great stature and an excellent pedagogue. Very highly recommended.
Date published: 2022-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very informative and enjoyable Very good course. i learned things I did not know about Kennedy's years as President.
Date published: 2022-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great lector and subject I bought this and thoroughly enjoyed every lecture
Date published: 2022-08-02
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Overview

Although so much ink has been spilled about JFK, recent years have seen the public release of documents and interviews, shedding new light on this most charismatic president. In Reconsidering JFK, Professor Michael Shelden of Indiana State University delivers 12 captivating lectures to transport you back in time for a fresh angle on a multi-faceted, always fascinating American president.

About

Michael Shelden

There is much yet to discover, and lessons we can learn to help us chart a better path forward.

INSTITUTION

Indiana State University

Michael Shelden is a Professor of English at Indiana State University, where he has won the top award for excellence in scholarship, the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Award, three times. He earned his PhD in English from Indiana University. He is the author of six biographies, including Orwell: The Authorized Biography, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other Great Courses include How Winston Churchill Changed the World; George Orwell: A Sage for All Seasons; and England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles.

By This Professor

How Winston Churchill Changed the World
854
George Orwell: A Sage for All Seasons
854
England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles
854
Reconsidering JFK
854
Reconsidering JFK

Trailer

JFK Reconsidered

01: JFK Reconsidered

Who was John F. Kennedy? So many people had a view of him, but as you will discover in this opening lecture, JFK excelled at compartmentalizing his life so that few—if anyone—truly knew him. Settle in to investigate the life of this charming, courageous, and multifaceted personality.

31 min
1956: Vice President Kennedy?

02: 1956: Vice President Kennedy?

In the 1950s, Kennedy was a sickly and relatively obscure senator, but his star quickly rose in the 1956 Democratic convention, when he mounted a spirited campaign to win delegates for the vice presidency. Gain an inside look at the backstabbing, backroom deals of a party that expected the young politician to pay his dues.

30 min
JFK’s Pivotal Choices to Win the Presidency

03: JFK’s Pivotal Choices to Win the Presidency

After losing the nomination in 1956, JFK understood he had a narrow window to catapult him to the highest office. As you will see here, 1960 was the year, and television was the medium to showcase his strengths to the American public. Survey his campaign against the seasoned politician Richard Nixon.

29 min
Unearthing JFK’s Public and Private Lives

04: Unearthing JFK’s Public and Private Lives

Handsome and charming, Kennedy was a well-known playboy, which was something of an open secret in Washington during his time in office. While the press of the day considered his peccadillos too lurid for publication, new testimonies and interviews have come to light, shedding a different perspective on the president’s pastimes.

27 min
Kennedy’s New Approach to the Presidency

05: Kennedy’s New Approach to the Presidency

With his inexperienced background and his youthful vigor, JFK brought an intriguing new dynamic to Washington. After setting the stage of the foreign and domestic challenges Kennedy faced when entering office, Professor Shelden reflects on the role of speechwriters and aides in shaping Kennedy’s approach to the job.

30 min
1961: The Education of a President

06: 1961: The Education of a President

JFK entered office optimistic but naïve. Not only did he thread some political challenges, such as the split in the Democratic party between progressive New Englanders and southern segregationists, but he also confronted aggressive Cold Warriors who wanted to incite a war via the Bay of Pigs invasion.

31 min
Promising the Moon

07: Promising the Moon

In the wake of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy asserted his own approach to the Cold War and the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. In an attempt at a political reset, JFK looked to outer space and avowed the United States would send a man to the moon. Here, examine America’s fledgling space program.

29 min
Before and during the Cuban Missile Crisis

08: Before and during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Kennedy’s presidency involved one crushing challenge after another. While 1961 was a difficult year, 1962 was among the hardest any American president has faced. See how the president dealt with negotiations at home (against US Steel) and abroad (when the Soviets placed nuclear warheads in Cuba).

30 min
Kennedy’s New America

09: Kennedy’s New America

The peaceful end to the Cuban Missile Crisis marked a new era for the Cold War, in which all sides understood the threat of nuclear annihilation. Fortunately, President Kennedy was savvy enough to manage the nuclear age—and was able to turn his attention to the civil rights movement. Here, delve into the world of segregation and political activism.

30 min
Kennedy’s Strategy in Vietnam

10: Kennedy’s Strategy in Vietnam

President Kennedy fought the Cold War on multiple fronts. Although we may associate the Vietnam War with the Johnson and Nixon administrations, the seeds of war were planted under JFK. Dive into the world of palace intrigue, grand strategy, domino theory, and an unofficial coup in South Vietnam.

31 min
The Fateful Visit to Texas

11: The Fateful Visit to Texas

Much has been written about JFK’s assassination, but Professor Shelden takes a different approach to this tragic story. Why was Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963? As you will discover, the world of Texas politics had split—and threatened his reelection bid. Get a front-row seat in the petty political dramas that preceded the shot from Lee Harvey Oswald.

30 min
The Mythos of Camelot

12: The Mythos of Camelot

In this final lecture, reflect on the legacy of President Kennedy as a flawed King Arthur in a mythical Camelot. After the shooting, the actions of Lyndon Johnson and Jacqueline Kennedy prepared America for the next chapter of history. The course ends by revisiting the beginning and the question that intrigues us still: Who was John F. Kennedy?

32 min