I was so thrilled when I received this book for review. Both my husband and I love reading book about U.S. History and Politics, fiction and non-fiction. I was disappointed when I realized that because of this books large size I was going to be unable to hold it with my one good hand for any length of time and be able to read it quickly enough for this post. So I did the next best thing, I enlisted Mr. Dollycas to read and review this book. I do plan on finishing it when I can and will post my review then, but today I hope you will welcome my husband as he shares his thoughts with you.
Back Channel: The Kennedy Years
Published by the author
This the first book of a remarkable memoir of a Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy. Known familiarly as Bertie Mac, he reported directly to the President and his office was in the West Wing of the White House.
Prior to achieving that position, he had been betrayed by his own government – the United States – and handed over to the Soviets. He was tortured in the Lubyanka prison in Moscow before being covertly rescued by two high ranking Soviet Generals who wanted to convey information directly to the White House to try to avert a nuclear confrontation. They believed that he would be a uniquely reliable conduit of information between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as he deeply mistrusted both governments and therefore had absolutely no motivation to “color” any information he might transmit.
Bertie Mac coined the term “Back Channel” and served as a direct communication link between the White House and the Kremlin during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bertie Mac is a patriot, a soldier, a spy and an assassin. He served in all four roles during his time under President Kennedy.
Bertie Mac served under and reported to nine U.S. Presidents.
The book is heavily documented with photocopies of documents which, though now declassified, originally bore the very highest of security classifications – Top Secret/ Sensitive/ Eyes Only. The documents are indisputably authentic and reveal the real facts that the American – and world – public never knew. Back Channel recounts the first stage of a totally fascinating journey.
Most of us know our history by the scores of text books written on the subject, but William Bertrand MacFarland had a view of almost all of them from inside the most recognizable location in the world, the “White House”. As a “Special Advisor” to then President John F. Kennedy “Bertie Mac” was present during meetings, often during critical periods acted as a “back channel” or a behind the scenes courier of information between governments when official channels are not either trustworthy or effective. His career of government service would span at least 9 US presidencies and this book is devoted entirely on the Kennedy years most of us fondly remember as “Camelot”.
From the infamous “Bay of Pigs” incident Kennedy inherited from the previous administration by accepted full responsibility for, throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis where a contact forced on him because he was sacrificed as a pawn in the world of international espionage not of his doing. He was present and had a hand in providing the president with valuable independent information regarding the early years of the Viet Nam war when President Kennedy had second thoughts about the direction our country was heading there to the final days leading up to and following the assassination of an American president. “Bertie” was there and relives many of these historical events from the inside and adds some of his own unique spin the “whole’ story as they occurred outside of general knowledge to the rest of the world.
If you are a history buff, and fondly remember how we all felt when John F Kennedy was our president you will absolutely be fascinated with this read as it takes you back to the 1960’s as if you were there also.
I cannot wait for the next book to be published in this series because there are so many questions I now need the answers to and I feel “Bertie Mac” has the answers I need…….
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”