The Post Reports: Reconstructing Kennedy

Fifty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, read about him as he was seen in his time, before a half century of re-evaluation, criticism, and second-guessing.

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Fifty years have passed since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but the memory of that day has barely dimmed for most baby boomers. In conjunction with the Post’s reprinting of the Kennedy memorial issue published December 14, 1963, we present the following series of articles illustrating John F. Kennedy as he was seen in his time, before a half century of re-evaluation, criticism, and second-guessing.

These articles touch on key points of his time in office: his victories and blunders over Cuba, his Cold War strategy, and his late but crucial action for Civil Rights, and includes Post original material by Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Ralph McGill, ex-president Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Breslin, Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and others.

Ilustration of President John F. Kennedy. Illustration by Fred Otnes

The Unanswerable Question

Even before the Warren Commission met for the first time, the majority of Americans no longer believed a lone shooter was responsible for President Kennedy’s murder. Read more »

Official White House photo of President Kennedy in the Oval Office.

Why Kennedy Still Matters

The 35th president completed only three years of his term and left behind a pile of unfinished projects and unraveling plans. Yet Americans consistently rank him among our greatest presidents. Archivist Jeff Nilsson explains why we still love JFK. Read more »


Falling for Jackie Kennedy

Many Americans only got their first look at Jackie during the inaugural ceremonies, but her fashion sense and unflappable poise soon made her one of the country’s most admired first ladies. Read more »

John F. Kennedy on The Saturday Evening Post, April 6, 1963

How the Early 1960s Looked to Americans

The 1960s began with the election of a young, optimistic president who spoke of new opportunities. “Change is the law of life,” John F. Kennedy said, and in his inaugural address, he talked about “a new generation,” “a new alliance for progress,” “a new endeavor,” and “a new world of law.” Read more »

President Kennedy signs documents in the Oval Office. © SEPS

A Surprisingly Popular Presidency

Despite political opposition–and a few arguable failures in policy and tactic–John F. Kennedy remained a popular, well-regarded president throughout his short term in office. Archivist Jeff Nilsson explains why. Read more »

Ignoring a litter of wire-service copy on his desk, Cronkite takes a breather in CBS office. © SEPS 2013

Rethinking Kennedy’s Camelot

In the years following President Kennedy’s death, many people often spoke of his presidency as an idyllic time, dubbing those pre-assassination days as “Camelot,” a noble, idyllic but ultimately doomed kingdom. In truth, America was already in the midst of troubling times that little resembled the idyllic innocence of Camelot. Read more »


Kennedy on the Campaign Trail

Doubts about then-Senator Kennedy’s religious affiliation, family ties, and youth made the viability of his campaign questionable. Yet when Post reporter Beverly Smith followed Kennedy on the campaign trail, she said it was “the most exciting presidential contest within [her] fairly extensive experience.” Read more »

The Gay Young Bachelor

A Very Eligible Politician

The first time the Post took notice of John F. Kennedy, he was still a very junior senator from Massachusetts. It was unusual for the magazine to run a feature article on a senator, particularly one as young and inexperienced as Kennedy. Read more »

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