BY Beth Comery
(10.24) Author, presidential speechwriter, director of the John Carter Brown Library, and adviser to Hillary Clinton on affairs of state, Edward “Ted” Widmer, a.k.a. Lord Rockingham, will read from “Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy” with a book signing to follow.
In July 1962, in order to better gauge the viewpoints and strategy delivered in meetings, President John F. Kennedy had hidden recording devices placed in the Oval office and the Cabinet room. Now, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy administration, historian Edward L. Widmer and the John F. Kennedy Library have carefully selected the most compelling and important of these remarkable recordings for release.
Gwen Ifill of PBS recently interviewed Widmer for the book. Kennedy happened to have installed the recording equipment just prior to the start of the Cuban missile crisis. Says Widmer, “. . . the result is we have a nearly perfect record of all of the meetings and what people were saying and their shifting opinion. So it’s very important for historians that we have these tapes.” (Speaking of which, “Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go To War” airs tonight, Tuesday, October 23 at 8pm, on PBS. Among those interviewed for the program, Rhode Islander Sergei Khrushchev. More at NYT)
Widmer reading and book signing, 5:30pm, Wednesday, October 24, Brown Bookstore, 244 Thayer Street