At the website of the magazine Foreign Policy, David J. Rothkopf, a Washington-based consultant and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has written about “Five Books That Haven’t Been Written Yet” (but, he continues, “ought to be”). Four of these titles are:
Carla [Bruni] And I: The Early Years
A School For The Differently Humor-Enabled (about the school attended by Mr. Rothkopf’s daughters, which recently staged Mel Brooks’s The Producers, complete with the “Springtime For Hitler” extravaganza but without the swastikas)
Did The News Media Die Or Commit Suicide?
and The Takeover: Goldman Sachs And The Leveraged Buyout Of America.
But it was something Mr. Rothkopf said in his description of his fifth desired title, America’s Real First Family: The Daleys Of Chicago that caught my eye. After referring to Richard Daley’s role in the 1960 presidential election, he adds this parenthetical aside:
It would also be great to see a side-by-side comparison of say John Kennedy and Richard Nixon that would offer a fair evaluation of who really best exemplified the American dream of making it on one’s own, who actually committed the greater crimes in pursuit of their political futures and who actually was the better president. Of all these books…this last Kennedy vs. Nixon idea is the one least likely to actually get written given the machinery that would shut it down.
It’s been 13 years since Kennedy And Nixon by Chris Matthews was published, a book which went a long way toward making readers think about those questions (and answering them, to the degree the archival record permitted at the time), and in the years since then many, many documents have become public which would be invaluable in the writing of another such volume. It’s true that the most recent crop of Kennedy-themed books seeing the presses this year and next – spurred by the illness of Sen. Edward Kennedy – seem as if they’ll have a hagiographic tone, by and large. But not long after that the 100th birthday of RN will be approaching, so it may be the right time for a book such as Mr. Rothkopf describes.