Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, This week I am going to the renowned Weinstein Cookie Swap and amidst all the delicious treats and toasts, I'm sure there will be some good book talk. Can you recommend something for me to read in anticipation of this wonderful event? Consummate Cookie Swapper

Dear Consummate Cookie Swapper, I too love the annual Cookie Swap and while the book I am about to recommend is more bittersweet than sweet, it is a winner indeed: THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED by Jeff Greenfield. The book is divided into the presidential administrations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Gary Hart. Yes, I did say RFK and Hart because these are alternative histories- the "what if's" that plague the mind in the early morning hours. Greenfield has been involved in politics as a speech writer, commentator, and news reporter for forty years and his knowledge of the inner workings of campaigns and elections is vast. In the JFK section, the president-elect is assassinated before being sworn in so LBJ's term is his alone with shocking consequences. In the second piece, Robert Kennedy escapes the assassin's bullet, snatches the presidency from Hubert Humphrey, and leads the United States to a far different place. In the last scenario, Gary Hart debates and defeats Ronald Reagan, again resulting in a very different world. Missed meetings, menu changes, verbal missteps - all contribute to the realization that it takes very, very little for "everything to change…"
PS- This Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 6:30 to 8pm, the Hanukkah Happening is happening at the Sea Cliff Fire House. It sounds like great fun for all ages with food, treats, games, and much merrymaking; the entire Sea Cliff community is invited.

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