What if that had been the headline? What if the real story, as told by Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and other talking heads of the day was not that John F. Kennedy perished in the November 22, 1963 assassination attempt but instead survived? What if the recovering president returned to the business of governing the most powerful nation in the world? Imagine a modern American history written from that alternative outcome. Which is what Donald Lawn has invited us to do in this fascinating historical novel. If you can't get enough of the Kennedys (Robert plays a prominent role), if you like a good read that gets your "What if?" juices roiling this is the book for you. A brilliant, creative idea. Mr. Lawn is a terrific writer.
— Norman Stamper, former Seattle Police Chief, author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing
A fascinating and original work, very highly recommended
With a bullet turned non-fatal, suddenly America becomes a different place. "The Memoirs of John F. Kennedy" is a work of alternative history, proposing an America where Kennedy survived the assassination, and won a second term. Told in the style of memoirs, Donald James Lawn explores how he feels America would be a different place had Kennedy remained at the helm. "The Memoirs of John F. Kennedy" is a fascinating and original work, very highly recommended. —Midwest Book Review
Realistic historic fiction
"The Memoirs of John F. Kennedy" at first glance would appear to be a work of non-fiction, but if you turn the book over on the back you will see that the genres are listed as historical fiction and alternative history. What author Donald James Lawn has done is created a "what if" book. What if John F. Kennedy had survived the attempt on his life on November 22, 1963?
If you have ever pondered the question about what direction the country would have taken if Kennedy had remained president and had been elected for a second term then you will find Lawn's work to be highly interesting. In "The Memoirs of John F. Kennedy," John F. Kennedy enlists the skills of memoirist Patrick Hennessey, whose previous work he admired, to write his memoirs for him. Through these conversations the reader is enlightened as to which paths Kennedy would have chosen throughout the remainder of his presidency.
Lawn's writing seems very realistic and it is entirely plausible that most of the events and conversations in the book could have taken place. I appreciated this intellectual work and found it to be a thought-provoking novel. I found it especially interesting that in the Epilogue, Lawn states that "Many readers have asked just where the boundary between fact and fiction is drawn in this story. That is a hard border to define precisely, as after the shooting fact and fiction are interwoven throughout. But even so, the reader may be surprised to find that this story leans heavily upon fact." (p. 378)
I recommend "The Memoirs of John F. Kennedy" to history buffs, Kennedy enthusiasts, and anyone who just wants to take a look at an alternate version of history and ponder "what if?" —Rebecca Reads
Kudos for Kennedy
I've just finished your splendid book, which floats our forgotten hopes, through the magic of fiction, on our collective pool of grief, saying which is almost literary, but, you will agree, not quite. You, on the other hand, have the most uncanny ear for characterization and dialogue, reanimating your characters as though never lost. The whole process of reading it is therefore exquisitely painful, conveying the sense of our loss even more graphically than reading the suspicious details of what we've grown used to. Needless to say, I much prefer your conjectural sixties to the actual, and the implied course of later events to the squalid US litany that followed these events...
The quality of discourse so evident in Kennedy's words was crafted personally, and poised as brilliantly as Churchill or Edward Gibbon ever addressed the world, suffering alone and toads under the harrow that they were. Don't forget Lincoln. History hinges on such people; it is not foolish to bring them to life as Shakespeare did, and to hang our hopes upon them. I can't say enough about the quality of your writing, showing as it does neither clunking machinery nor spatchcocked stitchery nor any other editing snafus. Your editor is there in cameo, I guess, and I think whoever it is really is very adept, as naturally are you, whether appearing or not in the tale. —Paul McN., Czech Republic