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November 20th, 2013
11:04 PM ET

Jeff Greenfield on America had JFK not been killed: "It would have been very different"

As the whole of the nation, and much of the world, looks to honor John. F. Kennedy's life and memory on Friday's 50th anniversary of his death, on Wednesday evening "Piers Morgan Live" sought perspective from Jeff Greenfield, author of the book "IF KENNEDY LIVED: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History."

"It would have been very different. Principally, because, I think based on the evidence, not wishful thinking, not some gauzy hope, that he probably would not have gone into Vietnam," surmised the guest, theoretically evaluating an America which featured JFK serving a full term, and perhaps longer, in the White House. "Without a major land war in Asia, the whole late 1960's becomes very different."

In viewing the United States from a historical sense, Greenfied suggested that the date of JFK's assassination serves as a significant marker:

"The line of November 22nd, pre and post, is dramatic. Because the country was in an optimistic, upbeat frame of mind," he explained.

Morgan, however, wonders how things might have changed had Kennedy's personal affair become public fodder:

"What would have happened if within two, three years all the infidelities and scandals had come out? How would he have dealt with that as a serving president?"

Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Jeff Greenfield, as the guest goes on to describes JFK's "darker side," predicting how his indiscretions might have been handled politically. And for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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  1. jerrylazar

    If you like Jeff Greenfield's alternate histories, you'll love a similarly themed new novel by Bryce Zabel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?"   In this imaginative and meticulously researched scenario, JFK survives the 11/22/63 ambush and then (with his attorney general brother Bobby) tries to figure out who tried to kill him and seek revenge...  That's what Kennedy would have done!... The climax is shocking but entirely plausible - not a sci-fi fantasy... And this novel contains more truth than most non-fiction JFK assassination accounts!... Check it out here: ... or

    November 21, 2013 at 2:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. jerrylazar

    PS: In "Surrounded by Enemies," JFK's foes follow their failed assassination attempt with a campaign designed to undermine his reputation and political career, in part by exploiting the freewheeling, risk-taking Lothario president's behavior (based on JFK's actual real-life extramarital affairs)... Ditto for his secret medical treatments and covert political operations - which in reality didn't become public knowledge until after his death... So instead of a rose-colored glasses take on his second term, in Bryce Zabel's novel we instead see the president undone by his own excesses and foibles...

    November 21, 2013 at 2:45 am | Report abuse | Reply

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