ITPL Ep 027 featured image

Episode 027 JFK at 100 – The Legacy and Memory of a President

In this episode, in recognition of John F. Kennedy’s 100 birthday – I know, 100?, Really? – we dive into the life and legacy of the nation’s 35th President. Every couple of years, we read about a poll that ranks the presidents of the United States from best to worst. These surveys generally attract a lot of public attention, and they do so for two reasons.subscribe-button
First, lots of people want to know where recent presidents rank (where’s Obama? Bush?).And second, many people want to know who’s in the top 10. They want to see if Lincoln ranks number one versus Washington, but they also seem keenly interested in the ranking of presidents like John F. Kennedy. JFK often lands in the top 10. In fact, a recent CNN Poll of historians put Kennedy at #8. But this result often leaves historians and political scientists scratching their heads. Kennedy, after all, served less than one full term. And he had his share of personal flaws and political failures. Well, there’s no simple answer to this question. But part of this answer is certainly tied to the way JFK created a magnetic political persona on his way to becoming President and then, following his assassination, the way Kennedy loyalists carefully crafted and preserved a certain kind of historical image of JFK.

That’s our focus in this episode. Here’s the lineup:
1. First, I sit down with historian Michael J. Hogan to talk about his latest book, The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Biography. Hogan is a distinguished professor of history at the University of Illinois, Springfield and an emeritus professor of history at Ohio State University.Michael J. Hogan, The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Biography

2. Second, I visit the museum dedicated to the JFK assassination, the 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to talk to some of the people who visit the site.

About Michal J. Hogan website

Further Reading

Michael J. Hogan, The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Biography.

Robert Dallek, JFK: An Unfinished Life, 1917-1963

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Ketsa, “I Will Be There” (Free Music Archive)

PC III, “Cavalcades” (Free Music Archive)

Jon Luc Hefferman, “Epoch” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Associate Producer: Devyn McHugh

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Podcasting Consultant: Darrell Darnell of Pro Podcast Solutions

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

Legal services: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Social Media management: The Pony Express

Risk Assessment: Little Big Horn Associates

Growth strategies: 54 40 or Fight

© Snoring Beagle International, 2017


  • Tom Neagle

    Ed, a very interesting podcast about a piece of history that happened in my lifetime. As Professor Hogan stated, almost everyone alive at the time can tell you exactly where they were when they heard of JFK’s assassination. I was a 15 year old high school kid at St. Anthony’s High School on Long Island returning from phys ed class to French class (taught by an immigrant from Lebanon) when I ran into a classmate in the hall who told me “Kennedy has been shot!” Naturally, I did not believe him until the French teacher confirmed it and led us in prayer. He was still alive, at least as far as we knew since there were no mobile phones and no one had a radio on the bus home. Speculation by some was that LBJ had arranged for the dastardly deed. When I got home, my Mom was in tears with the black & white TV on and told us he had died. As Irish Catholics, having him as president was a big deal and when he ran for president, the family went to a rally for him in the Commack (L.I.) arena. My Mom dragged me with her to a side door to try to see him arriving. Indeed we did and while I was not able to shake his hand, I was within 2-3 feet of him but I recall at the time thinking he had no chance to beat Nixon. More objectively, his failure with the Bay of Pigs was probably more than offset by the “success” of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Like Abraham Lincoln in which revisionist history tells us he was adored, the reality was that like Lincoln, Kennedy was hated by many. His widow lived a masterful life honing the fiction of “Camelot.”

    What many, including myself, wonder was what would have been the result of the war in Vietnam had Kennedy lived.

    • Edward T. O’Donnell

      Hi Tom, Thanks for your comments and reflections about the podcast episode. It’s generated a lot of feedback for the reasons you noted – it was such a big event in the lives of so many Americans and it lives on among those of us not old enough to have experienced it. Good question about Vietnam. Robert Dallek’s bio of JFK strongly suggests JFK would not have escalated like JBJ did. Alas, we’ll never know. – Ed