Author of JFK Book Was Most Shocked by Vietnam Revelations

Patrick J. Sloyan is paying a visit today to Iowa's Grinnell College.

GrinnellCollegePulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Patrick J. Sloyan is visiting Iowa’s Grinnell College today, to meet with and speak to students. No doubt one of the topics will be his 2015 book The Politics of Deception: JFK’s Secret Decisions on Vietnam, Civil Rights, and Cuba.

Sloyan listened to hundreds of hours of Kennedy audio recordings while researching the book. As he told Megan Tcheng, a writer with Grinnell’s student newspaper The Scarlet and Black, ahead of today’s visit, his view of Kennedy changed greatly as a result of what he discovered:

“As I got in to it, certain tape recordings leapt out at me. There was one conversation, [about the execution of a coup South Vietnam,] where JFK approved bribing a Vietnamese general. The general took the bribe, led the coup, assassinated the president of South Vietnam, destroyed the government stability in Saigon, destroyed the military in Saigon — and Kennedy was assassinated three weeks later. Lyndon Johnson went to his grave blaming Kennedy for that overthrow. That was the most startling thing I uncovered in my book.”

Sloyan won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for International Reporting, for a series of articles on “friendly fire” incidents and other American battlefield tactics during the Gulf War.

And because we have been guilty of this kind of brain-freeze name switch ourselves, more than once, we noted that Tcheng mistakenly in her headline and intro paragraph refers to her interview subject as Robert Sloyan, perhaps thinking of JFK’s brother while writing. We’ve let her know.

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