New and popular titles at Juniata County Library

BOOK REPORT

With so many good books, movies, and more being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to check out next. Every week, I offer a run-down of significant releases available here at the library.

Visit our online card catalog at juniata.sparkpa.org to search today or call 717-436-6378 to have a helpful library staff member assist you.

The Kennedy imprisonment: a meditation on power by Garry Wills.

I have found that once I start reading a book or two on a president, I find my way down a rabbit hole and want to read more books to gain different perspectives. Much positive attention has been given to the Kennedy’s over the years, focusing on Camelot and their ideals for the common good. Wills has published dozens of books, including titles on Jesus, the apostle Paul, the Catholic Church, and other historic religious figures. The Kennedy Imprisonment is all about the darker side–the downsides of the cult of charisma and the Kennedy’s obsession with power. At the same time, the book is so absurdly negative at times that it’s almost painful. Wills’ study of the Kennedys is remarkably acute in separating myth and reality, and looking at how the father (Joseph P. Kennedy) and his three sons – John, Robert, and Ted – added new dimensions to the Kennedy legend as well as to our politics.

The book is divided into five sections, each devoted to a particular aspect of the Kennedy family: Sex, Family, Image, Charisma, and Power. The prologue gives an important note that supports each chapter: “Because of privilege of various sorts, bad behavior does not have consequences, which means that it continues and becomes more pronounced.”

Wills is especially attuned to how the press and even political scientists get caught up in in the cult of presidential power. The glowing descriptions of the Oval Office, which Wills quotes from various authors, are remarkable and humorous.

I appreciate a strong vocabulary, but in several instances, it seemed like a simpler word might have served the purpose: for example, “jansenist,” “circumnambient,” “orotundities,” “thurible,” and “perdured’ seem a bit over the top (while the less puzzling “circumlocutious,” panegyric,” and “simulacra” seem to adequately demonstrate the author’s fine vocabulary). Or maybe it’s just me, and everyone else is completely familiar with these words? In any case, you may want to have a dictionary by your side while you read this book.

This book is unlikely to tell the reader anything new if they’re even moderately well versed in the bountiful literature available on the Kennedys. If you are interested in an amazing meditation on power, be sure to check out the Power series by Robert A. Caro, which are some of my favorite books ever.

You can find The Kennedy imprisonment in the Adult Nonfiction section.

Bookshots…Here are some quick recommendations and star ratings I give them.

≤The Other Woman by Daniel Silva (5 stars)

≤Cottage by the sea by Debbie Macomber (5 stars)

≤Turbulence by Stuart Woods (2 stars)

≤≤≤

Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015.

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