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President John F. Kennedy, a former naval hero and a passionate football fan, was looking forward to watching the Midshipmen take on the Cadets at the annual Army-Navy game on
Booklist Online, January 13, 2009
With even Kennedy’s assassination gradually fading into history as just another national tragedy, Connelly’s reframing of the event in terms of a very specific context manages to capture the anguish of a nation in a new and surprisingly compelling way.
Connelly did a superb job of weaving the incidents of the final year of Kennedy's presidency into his narrative on the Army-Navy rivalry and 1963 game. It's an emotional history lesson for those who lived that year, a very entertaining read.
Boston Herald sports reporter Michael Connelly takes readers back to the time period and tells the parallel stories in an engaging, though occasionally verbose, manner. He has read almost every press account of the subject and also spoke with the players and coaches who are still alive. Mr. Connelly doesn't break a great deal of new ground, but synthesizes information well. As a decorated Navy hero, Mr. Kennedy had a special bond with the football team of the U.S. Naval Academy that predated his presidency. There is an extensive discussion of Mr. Kennedy's naval heroics as well as his love of football, including much detail about the Kennedy family's frequent football games on the lawn of their estate in Hyannis Port, MA… As Mr. Connelly noted, during the season Mr. Staubach "scrambled, dodged and avoided the fastest and biggest football players in the country, but there was no escaping the wrath of Ethel." Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy poked his finger in the face of Navy Coach Wayne Hardin and said "I thought you knew, how important that game was to my family.'' Such behind-the-scenes revelations make "The President's Team: The 1963 Army-Navy Game & The Assassination of JFK" an enjoyable book.