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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 4.6 out of 5 by 37.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful look back. If you like a well-researched perspective on twentieth century history, this a worhtwhile course.
Date published: 2022-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Remember JFK I was fifteen years old and on the way to my last period High School World History class when upon entering the class room door a classmate named Andy informed me that JFK had just been shot in Dallas. I was stunned and unable to react. As the news quickly became apparently accurate I went home and along with my family sat glued to the TV all weekend long. The news surrounding the assassination was all the was on all of the three major networks CBS, NBC and ABC. Obviously cable news would not become available until some thirty plus years or so into the future. It was so sad for everyone everywhere. Then on Sunday afternoon Lee Harvey Oswald while he was being transported by numerous law enforcement personnel was murder at close range by Jack Ruby a Texas local night club owner. Now Oswald's testimony would forever remain undisclosed for the American public's discernment. The talk shows of the day such as Alan Burke, Joe Pyne and David Susskind featured regular guests especially book authors and other theorists about what had actually happened. The government's Warren Commission had concluded that Oswald was the lone assailant. Research and speculation based on both facts and logic said otherwise. Two books I remember titled Rush to Judgment and Whitewash plus the so called magic bullet theory said otherwise to the Warren Commission's conclusion. All of this and much more came flooding into my mind as I listened to Professor Sheldon's concluding lecture. I have enjoyed watching all of Professor Sheldon's Great Courses. While they are all very good, especially the Winston Churchill course this course, in my opinion, is Professor Sheldon at his best. I highly recommend this course. Whether you were alive when JFK was president or if you only know about him and his tragic death from books, media commentaries or history lessons, you will be informed, persuaded and deeply moved upon concluding this course. Professor Sheldon concludes the course with, in my opinion, a compelling quote from Wernher Von Braun that is worth waiting for as an eloquent statement the summarizes the legacy a JFK for posterity.
Date published: 2022-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I was in ninth grade when Kennedy was assassinated. I wanted a broader perspective on the man and his presidency. This course delivered. Time and research have allowed us to better understand that pivotal time in history.
Date published: 2022-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Johnny, we hardly knew ya Really great updated information! JFK has become such a myth, it's hard to sift through it all and find the facts and this course has been refreshing and informative.
Date published: 2022-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! He is an excellent teacher, he speaks clearly and gives a lot of interesting (and previously unknown to me) anecdotes. Well done!
Date published: 2022-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reconsider JFK Very well done. Shows clearly JFK wasn't a saint, wasn't a demon either. A young man with a vision and the intelligence to guide us thru amazingly difficult times.
Date published: 2022-10-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A few new insights, but mostly a rehash The speaker is good, but he is a Professor of English, not History, so I have to wonder about his research methods. He glosses over Kennedy's controversial doctor, referring to her chemical cocktails as "medicine." A minor point, but his pronunciation "nucular" for "nuclear" is distracting. Having said that, he does a good job of explaining the context of the times, and not mythologizing the man.
Date published: 2022-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing title; my 'coming of age' president JFK was my coming of age president but then I was uninterested in politics - it was the 60's after all. Now, he seems less consequential than some of his successors to me, but Professor Sheldon is changing that notion and I've only completed lecture 2.
Date published: 2022-09-08
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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