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Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas? (Audiobook)

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If President John Kennedy had survived the ambush at Dealey Plaza in Dallas a half-century ago, what other twists might history have taken? In his meticulously researched novel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?”, author Bryce Zabel delivers a supercharged but plausible alternative narrative of the turbulent 1960s after our charismatic president esca If President John Kennedy had survived the ambush at Dealey Plaza in Dallas a half-century ago, what other twists might history have taken? In his meticulously researched novel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?”, author Bryce Zabel delivers a supercharged but plausible alternative narrative of the turbulent 1960s after our charismatic president escapes unscathed on November 22, 1963. Since the assassination, other writers have speculated about the important work for peace and equality that President Kennedy could have done had his life been spared. Instead, Zabel -- a Writers Guild award-winning Hollywood writer/producer -- boldly re-imagines a shocking post-1963 political scenario that is painfully disruptive to the nation, culminating in a Constitutional crisis and even calls for the president’s impeachment. Without resorting to sci-fi gimmicks, Zabel instead investigates and explores what we now know about the underbelly of JFK’s presidency to portray him returning to a very different Washington, D.C. where the stakes are high on so many fronts. After all, someone had just tried to execute him in broad daylight on a public street in front of a national television audience. The President and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, essentially become the first conspiracy theorists, determined to strike back at their formidable and determined enemies. This is not a time-travel story with a protagonist sent back to save JFK. It is not a rose-colored glasses look at an idealized “what if.” Instead we get a hard look at the dark secrets of the Kennedy administration -- and of those who have the motive and means to brutally remove him from office, including government insiders at the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and even suspects such as Vice President Lyndon Johnson. The provocative and compelling narrative covers the period from Kennedy’s near-miss in Dallas through the subsequent political earthquake of 1964-1966. We witness the president interact with his family and close circle of famous friends and colleagues, with the colorful politicians and government leaders of that era, and with such Sixties icons as the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, boxer Cassius Clay and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Zabel’s novel is cleverly presented as a commemorative retrospective assembled by contemporaneous journalists on the staff of a fictitious newsmagazine, Top Story -- and incorporates into the narrative realistically designed faux-magazine covers depicting JFK with those luminaries he gets to meet only in Zabel’s parallel universe. "Surrounded by Enemies" literally breathes new life into the Kennedy years, and intimately portrays a decade even more surreal than the one found in conventional history books. "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?" is widely available as an eBook through all major sellers; as a trade paperback; and as an audiobook narrated by Edd Hall (The Tonight Show). It is the first in a series of alternate history novels under the alt.Worlds imprint from Stellar Productions. Bryce Zabel is the creator of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning Dark Skies which dramatized the UFO cover-up through the perspective of the Kennedy years. He is the winner of the 2008 Writers Guild of America award for “Outstanding Original Longform” for his Hallmark miniseries Pandemic, and has writing credits on Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Blackbeard and The Poseidon Adventure. Zabel has created five primetime television series, including Fox’s M.A.N.T.I.S. and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. He served as the elected Chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and he has taught producing for the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His book, A.D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth about Alien Contact (Career Press, 2012), now in its fourth printing, was a Barnes & Noble “new and noteworthy” selection.


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If President John Kennedy had survived the ambush at Dealey Plaza in Dallas a half-century ago, what other twists might history have taken? In his meticulously researched novel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?”, author Bryce Zabel delivers a supercharged but plausible alternative narrative of the turbulent 1960s after our charismatic president esca If President John Kennedy had survived the ambush at Dealey Plaza in Dallas a half-century ago, what other twists might history have taken? In his meticulously researched novel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?”, author Bryce Zabel delivers a supercharged but plausible alternative narrative of the turbulent 1960s after our charismatic president escapes unscathed on November 22, 1963. Since the assassination, other writers have speculated about the important work for peace and equality that President Kennedy could have done had his life been spared. Instead, Zabel -- a Writers Guild award-winning Hollywood writer/producer -- boldly re-imagines a shocking post-1963 political scenario that is painfully disruptive to the nation, culminating in a Constitutional crisis and even calls for the president’s impeachment. Without resorting to sci-fi gimmicks, Zabel instead investigates and explores what we now know about the underbelly of JFK’s presidency to portray him returning to a very different Washington, D.C. where the stakes are high on so many fronts. After all, someone had just tried to execute him in broad daylight on a public street in front of a national television audience. The President and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, essentially become the first conspiracy theorists, determined to strike back at their formidable and determined enemies. This is not a time-travel story with a protagonist sent back to save JFK. It is not a rose-colored glasses look at an idealized “what if.” Instead we get a hard look at the dark secrets of the Kennedy administration -- and of those who have the motive and means to brutally remove him from office, including government insiders at the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and even suspects such as Vice President Lyndon Johnson. The provocative and compelling narrative covers the period from Kennedy’s near-miss in Dallas through the subsequent political earthquake of 1964-1966. We witness the president interact with his family and close circle of famous friends and colleagues, with the colorful politicians and government leaders of that era, and with such Sixties icons as the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, boxer Cassius Clay and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Zabel’s novel is cleverly presented as a commemorative retrospective assembled by contemporaneous journalists on the staff of a fictitious newsmagazine, Top Story -- and incorporates into the narrative realistically designed faux-magazine covers depicting JFK with those luminaries he gets to meet only in Zabel’s parallel universe. "Surrounded by Enemies" literally breathes new life into the Kennedy years, and intimately portrays a decade even more surreal than the one found in conventional history books. "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?" is widely available as an eBook through all major sellers; as a trade paperback; and as an audiobook narrated by Edd Hall (The Tonight Show). It is the first in a series of alternate history novels under the alt.Worlds imprint from Stellar Productions. Bryce Zabel is the creator of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning Dark Skies which dramatized the UFO cover-up through the perspective of the Kennedy years. He is the winner of the 2008 Writers Guild of America award for “Outstanding Original Longform” for his Hallmark miniseries Pandemic, and has writing credits on Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Blackbeard and The Poseidon Adventure. Zabel has created five primetime television series, including Fox’s M.A.N.T.I.S. and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. He served as the elected Chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and he has taught producing for the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His book, A.D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth about Alien Contact (Career Press, 2012), now in its fourth printing, was a Barnes & Noble “new and noteworthy” selection.

30 review for Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas? (Audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    What if JFK had survived the attack on his life in Dallas? This book was really intriguing and well written. Instead of dying in Dallas in 1963 JFK survived and one gets a chance to see how his life and those around him change with him alive. But it is not a fairy tale with everything ending well. His involvement with women, especially affairs with women of questionable reputations that are something everyone knows about nowadays, but something that was not a public knowledge during the 60s is t What if JFK had survived the attack on his life in Dallas? This book was really intriguing and well written. Instead of dying in Dallas in 1963 JFK survived and one gets a chance to see how his life and those around him change with him alive. But it is not a fairy tale with everything ending well. His involvement with women, especially affairs with women of questionable reputations that are something everyone knows about nowadays, but something that was not a public knowledge during the 60s is the thing that in this "what if story" will come to light during his presidency. And, that combined with his ill health that he has been hiding from the general public and orders he has given to alleged assassinations of foreign leaders will, in the end, lead to his impeachment. In the end, when they could not kill him they tried in every way to kill his political career instead. I enjoyed this book immensely. A favorite subject, the Kennedys told in one of my favorite ways of telling a story; a what if story. It helped that it was really good and it felt like it could have happened if JFK had lived. Well except one thing, in the end, something that has to do with John-John was a bit too much even for me! Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bryce Zabel

    I wrote this book because no one had ever written the version of "if JFK lived" that I wanted to read. This is no "rose-colored glasses" version but one that takes into account how the world would have been changed even by a near-miss in Dallas. Let's face it: JFK would have know that he'd been targeted for murder on a public street in broad daylight. Things would not have pinged back to normal. President Kennedy and his attorney general brother Bobby would have become the first true conspiracy I wrote this book because no one had ever written the version of "if JFK lived" that I wanted to read. This is no "rose-colored glasses" version but one that takes into account how the world would have been changed even by a near-miss in Dallas. Let's face it: JFK would have know that he'd been targeted for murder on a public street in broad daylight. Things would not have pinged back to normal. President Kennedy and his attorney general brother Bobby would have become the first true conspiracy theorists. The idea for this book first came to me back in 2003 and I'd been dabbling about its premise for years. As 2013 began, I realized that it was now or never to write it, given the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. It was hard work, but I'm very glad that I took the time and made the effort. While I realize that when it comes to alternate history, no reader will ever embrace 100 percent of the decisions that were made in this story, I hope that all can appreciate they were made with research, thought and care. Thank you for considering reading "Surrounded by Enemies."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Suanne Laqueur

    Holy SHIT that was awesome.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Wow! Just Wow! This is a book that reads so vividly you will swear you are there. Mr. Zabel has taken the premise of JFK's survival and run with it. His alternative take on the events that day in Dallas and it's aftermath made for riveting reading. The pacing was fast, the believability level high, and the twists and turns well-plotted. The inter-weaving of truth with invention was seamless, and I am guilty of staying up way too late to finish. All in all, a satisfying, well-researched and well Wow! Just Wow! This is a book that reads so vividly you will swear you are there. Mr. Zabel has taken the premise of JFK's survival and run with it. His alternative take on the events that day in Dallas and it's aftermath made for riveting reading. The pacing was fast, the believability level high, and the twists and turns well-plotted. The inter-weaving of truth with invention was seamless, and I am guilty of staying up way too late to finish. All in all, a satisfying, well-researched and well plotted novel. I would definitely read more from Bryce Zabel. *I received my copy from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I was lucky enough to have read this book during the late stages of its development and I can say that it is a wonderful book for anyone, but particularly if you are interested in the history of the 1960's and its consequences. Bryce Zabel creates a very plausible alternate history. As you read, you feel as if this was the real history of those times because he has spared no detail, he has overlooked nothing in developing an alternative. Like Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Surrounded by Enemies is an I was lucky enough to have read this book during the late stages of its development and I can say that it is a wonderful book for anyone, but particularly if you are interested in the history of the 1960's and its consequences. Bryce Zabel creates a very plausible alternate history. As you read, you feel as if this was the real history of those times because he has spared no detail, he has overlooked nothing in developing an alternative. Like Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Surrounded by Enemies is an alternate world that tells the story of what happens when we dare to think of the alternative. For those of us who have done extensive research into the facts surrounding Kennedy's presidency and the government's responses to the events of that era- Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination, all the way to Watergate- we recognize the competing theories Zabel introduces and how he fleshes out what they might mean. It's thrilling, and it has a cinematic feel to it that Zabel, a television screenwriter, is so adept at. I read this in one sitting. I simply could not put it down. Excellent book! It is currently available as a kindle edition through amazon.com, but will be out as an ebook Septmeber 1st and in print October 1.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Drita

    This is my second Fiction book i read in years, i don't normally read them not for anything but we are so cough up in everyday lives, TV with so much negativity that i like to escape to a fantasy land for a while. I don't know what would of happened if Kennedy Survived Dallas, one thing i am mostly sure of we wouldn't have what we have today. Not into politics i just wanted to read and know of ones version about JFK and this authors believes. So glad i found it and was able to read it, it kept my This is my second Fiction book i read in years, i don't normally read them not for anything but we are so cough up in everyday lives, TV with so much negativity that i like to escape to a fantasy land for a while. I don't know what would of happened if Kennedy Survived Dallas, one thing i am mostly sure of we wouldn't have what we have today. Not into politics i just wanted to read and know of ones version about JFK and this authors believes. So glad i found it and was able to read it, it kept my interest i wanted to know more. Well done Mr. Zabel. I wish we have more presidents like JFK. Hope one day!!! Passing it over to my husband.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    The title and subtitle pretty much tell what this is about: JFK surviving the assassination plot and trying to come to terms with it (who was behind it and why and how to deal with it at all?). That was a refreshing approach: I mean, okay, so JFK survives - but still somebody tried to murder him, that needs to be an issue, doesn't it? Overall, I liked the approach presented here. It was a fast, entertaining read and offered a scenario that was, in the most parts, very plausible. I especially lov The title and subtitle pretty much tell what this is about: JFK surviving the assassination plot and trying to come to terms with it (who was behind it and why and how to deal with it at all?). That was a refreshing approach: I mean, okay, so JFK survives - but still somebody tried to murder him, that needs to be an issue, doesn't it? Overall, I liked the approach presented here. It was a fast, entertaining read and offered a scenario that was, in the most parts, very plausible. I especially loved Jack and Bobby teaming up and was intrigued by Oswald's further fate. There were moments, like JFK meeting The Beatles at Ed Sullivan - that made my inner fangirl have a field day. What I didn't like: the style was too, how to say it, clipped for me. It made the novel fast and action driven, but I would've enjoyed some more words every now and then. Also, the last third of the book was a let down compared to the first two thirds, the whole impeachment plot dragged on for too long and some of the future outlooks - especially John-John's - were way over the top. A few more details on the main points of this What If containing spoilers: (view spoiler)[JFK survives Dallas (he's saved by Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, who dies, as does Connally). Oswald does not get shot by Ruby but later dies under mysterious circumstances in prison shortly before his trial begins. When JFK wants to fire Hoover, the FBI leaks the Kennedy files (on his multiple affairs including the East German spy and Mafia liason, his medical condition and drug usage and so on) which ultimately gets him impeached and resigned from office. RFK never runs for Senate, but John-John does (and marries Princess Diana, lol, wtf? That was way too much, sadly). (hide spoiler)]

  8. 5 out of 5

    Claire Hall

    This is a timely book with the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination just a few weeks away, but it should have lasting appeal. The question of how the United States, and the world, would have changed had the thirty-fifth president not been murdered will haunt our collective consciousness forever. Numerous books have tackled this question in one form or another. Bryce Zabel has taken an original and logical approach to providing an answer. Zabel is a veteran journalist, and this This is a timely book with the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination just a few weeks away, but it should have lasting appeal. The question of how the United States, and the world, would have changed had the thirty-fifth president not been murdered will haunt our collective consciousness forever. Numerous books have tackled this question in one form or another. Bryce Zabel has taken an original and logical approach to providing an answer. Zabel is a veteran journalist, and this book reflects his skills in presenting a taut, fast-paced, well-told story. (WARNING: Partial spoilers ahead.) Most writers who tackle the question “What if Kennedy lived?” are focused on whether he would have continued or curtailed our involvement in the Vietnam War, whether he would have won a 1964 landslide similar to Lyndon Johnson’s and what his second term domestic policies would have looked like. Yet they fail to address the fact that the majority of Americans believe that JFK was not the victim of a lone gunman; this is the true “elephant in the room” for every storyteller presenting a world in which JFK survives Dallas. They also fail to acknowledge that the half-century since the assassination has seen revelations about the president’s personal life that could have been very destructive to his career had that information been exposed while he was still alive. Bryce Zabel presents a world where the bullets fired in Dealey Plaza failed to find their mark, so those who were determined to remove Kennedy from power had to find a different way to accomplish their goal. Do they succeed? Read the book to find out.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    As a rule, I do not like fiction. It is not that I think fiction is bad or that it is a genre that has no value. Quite simply, most fiction I have tried to read just does not keep my attention. So it may seem odd that I chose to read, finished, and enjoyed greatly this work of fiction. A couple of things, my disdain for fiction is becoming less prominent as I am exposed to more good works. Also, I thoroughly enjoy history and have been, like many, inundated with JFK material over the past few yea As a rule, I do not like fiction. It is not that I think fiction is bad or that it is a genre that has no value. Quite simply, most fiction I have tried to read just does not keep my attention. So it may seem odd that I chose to read, finished, and enjoyed greatly this work of fiction. A couple of things, my disdain for fiction is becoming less prominent as I am exposed to more good works. Also, I thoroughly enjoy history and have been, like many, inundated with JFK material over the past few years and off and on throughout my entire life. So when a book is going to portray the "what-if" of JFK escaping Dealay Plaza on that fateful Friday afternoon, I was very intrigued. And I was not disappointed. Zabel keeps the readers attention from beginning to end. There were no "skim-worthy" parts. Some may tire of some of the minute details he includes and the presentation...I did not. Zabel did a tremendous job making this work feel like a media retrospective on the life of a beloved president who narrowly escaped an assassin's(or assassins') bullet. I do not know how to recap without giving away key aspects so I won't. What I will do is encourage any fiction lover or history lover to give this book a chance to offer a fascinating trip through what could have been. I will add the warning that this deals with the lives of sinful people and some parts are a bit PG-13. With that caveat aside, this was quite a good book. *I received a review copy from the publisher to offer a review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    REMEMBER UKRAINE NOW ReadingReindeer

    Review: SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES by Bryce Zabeli I've been a "What If?" person as long as I can remember: the kind of individual with a curious bent of mind who needs to examine the road not taken. So it's no wonder that alternative history is one of my lifelong interests. What If the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had been circumvented? What If Hitler occupied Britain? What If William the Conqueror didn't conquer? And so forth. Of course, one of the biggies of the last 50 years: what if JFK wasn't Review: SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES by Bryce Zabeli I've been a "What If?" person as long as I can remember: the kind of individual with a curious bent of mind who needs to examine the road not taken. So it's no wonder that alternative history is one of my lifelong interests. What If the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had been circumvented? What If Hitler occupied Britain? What If William the Conqueror didn't conquer? And so forth. Of course, one of the biggies of the last 50 years: what if JFK wasn't assassinated? To make alternative history live, it must be believable, deeply researched, and well-written. I give you SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES. Mr. Zabel has the advantage of 5 decades of historians' studying the Kennedy Administration, and JFK himself. Many secrets have been opened that contemporaries of the Kennedy Brothers couldn't access. The result is not a pretty rendering of Kennedy's Camelot as an Arcadia; but it is compelling, and a keeper.SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES should be required reading for students and authors of alternative history

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ailith Twinning

    There's no nice way to say it, I'd never found myself wishing Kennedy had lived before I read this book. It was surprisingly interesting and, if not realistic, believable. Who knows how it might have actually gone - but this story is a worthy one. And there is something intensely disturbing, and deeply wrong about the mere existance of the CIA, NSA, and the entire post-911 Alphabet soup of Gestapo and Stazi forces in this country. . . and the loudest voices against them are, ironically, the peop There's no nice way to say it, I'd never found myself wishing Kennedy had lived before I read this book. It was surprisingly interesting and, if not realistic, believable. Who knows how it might have actually gone - but this story is a worthy one. And there is something intensely disturbing, and deeply wrong about the mere existance of the CIA, NSA, and the entire post-911 Alphabet soup of Gestapo and Stazi forces in this country. . . and the loudest voices against them are, ironically, the people that most benefit them, and from them. I think most Americans probably don't much like most of them, but the loud voices always seem to be right-wing cranks. It's scarier how many CIA operatives are becoming "news" and politcal personalities, openly and proudly. This book kicked ass - a fiction non-fiction book. Like, where can I get more of these? Because I'm running out of NF books I want to read, and I don't really like narrative fiction as a format. Historical/NF fiction as a format is fun.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    Thought-provoking "alternative- history" what-if take on what a post-'63 JFK administration might have looked like... considering that the president (and his attorney general brother Bobby) are now consumed by figuring out who is trying to kill him, and getting back at them. Because it's written by an award-winning screenwriter, it's less an historical tome than a fast-paced thriller with you-are-there scenes and dialogue. Which is not to say that the author hasn't done his homework, for the sto Thought-provoking "alternative- history" what-if take on what a post-'63 JFK administration might have looked like... considering that the president (and his attorney general brother Bobby) are now consumed by figuring out who is trying to kill him, and getting back at them. Because it's written by an award-winning screenwriter, it's less an historical tome than a fast-paced thriller with you-are-there scenes and dialogue. Which is not to say that the author hasn't done his homework, for the storyline draws heavily on the various assassination conspiracy theories that have arisen, as well as JFK's own dark personal and political secrets that have come to light, so the meticulous research is evident throughout. Surprising plot twists, and cameo appearances from real-life historical icons, make for a fun read. Especially timely in light of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    I listened to this as an audio book and as such it really worked. It was written in such a way that the audio was like a documentary show discussing the attempt on JFK's life in Dallas and the resulting affect on his Presidency. Being very familiar with the period helped a great deal as I was able to more easily compare what happened in our timeline (OTL) versus this hypothetical one. My main concern with the story is that the author seems to have made *everything* happen to Kennedy that was pos I listened to this as an audio book and as such it really worked. It was written in such a way that the audio was like a documentary show discussing the attempt on JFK's life in Dallas and the resulting affect on his Presidency. Being very familiar with the period helped a great deal as I was able to more easily compare what happened in our timeline (OTL) versus this hypothetical one. My main concern with the story is that the author seems to have made *everything* happen to Kennedy that was possible and the result had to be taken with a grain of salt when viewed as a whole. When one looks at only a few of the possibilities happening rather than the whole, things are much more plausible. The narrator was also quite good and had an excellent voice and pacing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Adele

    I utterly loved this book! Firstly, I am a JFK nut & will read anything about him, but this is the first time I have ever read anything that made me forget he had been assassinated. This book reads like complete fact, not alternative-world fiction, at times I struggled to work out which bits were fact & which bits were fiction. Extremely well written & researched, only downside was towards the end of the book where it went a tad 'Hollywood' with a relationship between John Jr & Princess Diana. I utterly loved this book! Firstly, I am a JFK nut & will read anything about him, but this is the first time I have ever read anything that made me forget he had been assassinated. This book reads like complete fact, not alternative-world fiction, at times I struggled to work out which bits were fact & which bits were fiction. Extremely well written & researched, only downside was towards the end of the book where it went a tad 'Hollywood' with a relationship between John Jr & Princess Diana.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    I read this book in a single evening. I couldn't put it down. Zabel's done his homework and this re-tread of history past Dallas-1963 are illuminating and sad. I will share this: you don't get the ending that you expect from this book. Still, it was a riveting read and I suggest it to anyone who loves History, speculative non-Fiction, or JFK. I read this book in a single evening. I couldn't put it down. Zabel's done his homework and this re-tread of history past Dallas-1963 are illuminating and sad. I will share this: you don't get the ending that you expect from this book. Still, it was a riveting read and I suggest it to anyone who loves History, speculative non-Fiction, or JFK.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    A great book, I loved every page of it. It was well written and thought out. Things might have been better if this had happened.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Gonko

    I enjoyed this one, written as though it were another "All the President's Men." An interesting look at what could have happened if JFK had survived Dallas. I enjoyed this one, written as though it were another "All the President's Men." An interesting look at what could have happened if JFK had survived Dallas.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Surya

    Wow! What a Thriller! This book, Surrounded By Enemies, is an alternate history novel written by screenwriter and author Bryce Zabel to coincide with the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. The premise of this book is that President John F. Kennedy, with the quick thinking of one of his secret service agents, miraculously escapes all the shots meant for him in Dallas on November 22, 1963. However, Agent Clint Hill, Texas Governor John Connally, and Officer J.D. Tippit sadly were killed. Amer Wow! What a Thriller! This book, Surrounded By Enemies, is an alternate history novel written by screenwriter and author Bryce Zabel to coincide with the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. The premise of this book is that President John F. Kennedy, with the quick thinking of one of his secret service agents, miraculously escapes all the shots meant for him in Dallas on November 22, 1963. However, Agent Clint Hill, Texas Governor John Connally, and Officer J.D. Tippit sadly were killed. America and the world breathes a sigh of relief that President Kennedy survived the attempt on his life with just a minor shoulder wound in broad daylight. But now, everyone is faced with a shocked, but true fact: Somebody did try to murder their president. Now, President John F. Kennedy, along with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, team up together to find out who was behind the near-assassination, whether it was a larger group or the work of one crazed-lone gunman. I really liked about how JFK and RFK's relationship got deeper when they were trying to find out who was behind the ambush in Dallas and them working together to keep JFK's dark secrets (health issues, extramarital affairs) getting leaked to the press and public. JFK also keeps the United States out of the Vietnam War and therefore, leads to a less turbulent '60s. However, he was unable to get many of his ambitious Civil Rights agenda passed due to the impeachment trial taking over the headlines. This was basically Watergate, but a whole decade earlier. I was able to get a glimpse of the 1964 election, JFK's impeachment trial, his post-presidency, his relationship with his wife and children, and his son John Jr. getting into politics in the 2000s. However, there were some things I kind of disagreed with. While I do believe that JFK's private life will eventually would have gotten leaked, I disagree with the fact that him and Jackie having a more shakier relationship because just after the Cuban Missile Crisis, him and Jackie started to have a stronger marriage and they got even closer after the death of their newborn son Patrick, and this may have lead to him being more devoted to his family. The author portrays Jackie leaving Jack constantly and attempting to file for a legal divorce. While that did not happen, I was kind of disappointed about them still not getting along. Still, I enjoyed every single part of the book and I simply could not put it down. I had been waiting a long while to read this book, and after finishing it last night, it was worth the wait. Overall, great read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aloysius

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There have been a couple of alternate history takes on the Kennedy assassination, but none which focuses much on the possible hidden culprits of the deed. This one does. In this scenario, Kennedy survives Dallas, only to rush headlong into a web of intrigue, scandal, disappointment, and danger. First, he has to make it pass an alternate 1964 election against a right wing Goldwater who doesn’t sound quite as “nuts” as in our timeline. When the would be killer is himself gunned down in a botched tr There have been a couple of alternate history takes on the Kennedy assassination, but none which focuses much on the possible hidden culprits of the deed. This one does. In this scenario, Kennedy survives Dallas, only to rush headlong into a web of intrigue, scandal, disappointment, and danger. First, he has to make it pass an alternate 1964 election against a right wing Goldwater who doesn’t sound quite as “nuts” as in our timeline. When the would be killer is himself gunned down in a botched transfer, suspicion of the government spikes in the public, and Kennedy isn’t immune to the backlash. Even re-election provides little respite. While a less friendly Congress digs through what evidence there in search of possible accomplices to Dallas, Kennedy stares down a wily vice-president and a FBI head not afraid to break a few laws to hold on to his post. But when devastating sex and medical scandals leak, Kennedy‘s judgement and rectitude are seriously called into question, and country may find out there is more than one illicit way to take out a president. And that’s before throwing such things as Vietnam, civil rights, the space race, and the ongoing dread of nuclear tension into account. This was much more thrilling than I thought it would be when I first picked up the book. Glad I read it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Spoilers ahead! Took me a while to get into this one. Not sure why, but I went into it expecting it to read like a novel, where JFK, RFK, EFK, etc. had dialogue and there was a narrative tying everything together. Instead, it reads like a Carl Bernstein book. So I had to re-adjust my expectations at the beginning of the book, and I wasn't sure I could actually get through it until it got to the point where JFK met The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, and I found myself thinking I had to Google th Spoilers ahead! Took me a while to get into this one. Not sure why, but I went into it expecting it to read like a novel, where JFK, RFK, EFK, etc. had dialogue and there was a narrative tying everything together. Instead, it reads like a Carl Bernstein book. So I had to re-adjust my expectations at the beginning of the book, and I wasn't sure I could actually get through it until it got to the point where JFK met The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, and I found myself thinking I had to Google the photo with JFK shaking their hands because I couldn't recall ever seeing it before and all of a sudden I realized I was actually a lot more into this book than I realized, lol. Anyway, I really did enjoy this one. It's a very interesting take on how things might have panned out had JFK survived. The parallels between Kennedy/Johnson and Nixon/Agnew were very cool. I loved the idea of avoiding the Vietnam War, too. It also brought me up short to realize that in this timeline, Ford was never president (though it seemed to be leading in that direction for a minute), nor was Carter, and RFK was never assassinated. Little stuff like that sprinkled through the book made it a really fun read. Every time I thought, oh we're now back to the real timeline, something upended it and took me in another direction. This was a fun read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I am sure that many of us have wondered what would have happened had JFK survived the assassination attempt in Dallas. While nobody can be sure, this alternate history novel puts forth some very interesting extrapolations. I can't say much without ruining it for anyone who wants to read it, but I will say that certain things that happened in the real world also happened here, but in very different ways. This is a real page-turner! I am sure that many of us have wondered what would have happened had JFK survived the assassination attempt in Dallas. While nobody can be sure, this alternate history novel puts forth some very interesting extrapolations. I can't say much without ruining it for anyone who wants to read it, but I will say that certain things that happened in the real world also happened here, but in very different ways. This is a real page-turner!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Jackson

    It was OK I liked this take on the question, "what if President Kennedy" was not killed in Dallas. I'm not sure if everything that happens in this alternate future made sense but overall a good story. I especially enjoyed the Post Presidental segments. It was OK I liked this take on the question, "what if President Kennedy" was not killed in Dallas. I'm not sure if everything that happens in this alternate future made sense but overall a good story. I especially enjoyed the Post Presidental segments.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jim Kinkead

    What if JFK had survived the assassination?. Getting out of Dallas was the easy part.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Makarand Mannur

    Gave a different perspective about enemies n JFK

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Very interesting.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Schwabacher

    What would have happened if Kennedy had survived Dallas? Speculative history.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Krisann Hagan

    Loved it. Read straight through. Wanted more at the end.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matt Gorman

    Really good, but somewhat disappointing ending.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robert Edward

    Great story, with powerful lessons I read the original web series, "Winter of Our Discontent" by Zabel and Turtledove and I was glad to see this finished. Anyone who likes political history, alternate history, or just a well-written story will like this. I finished it in 30 hours. The premise is simple and the storyline entirely plausible. We've lionized JFK because his death cut short any real criticism or scrutiny of his administration. In this story, JFK lives and the resulting investigation pl Great story, with powerful lessons I read the original web series, "Winter of Our Discontent" by Zabel and Turtledove and I was glad to see this finished. Anyone who likes political history, alternate history, or just a well-written story will like this. I finished it in 30 hours. The premise is simple and the storyline entirely plausible. We've lionized JFK because his death cut short any real criticism or scrutiny of his administration. In this story, JFK lives and the resulting investigation plays out similar to the Watergate of our time, with similar results. The story is written as a retrospective from the magazine that first broke the inside story of the corruption in the administration, and that narrative style is flawless. There's even a clear parallel to the Frost/Nixon interview near the end of the book. As a starting point, Zabel basically adopts EVERY JFK conspiracy theory-- grassy knoll, LBJ, Hoover, East German spies, etc. And it all comes out. Hoover's fight with the Kennedys spills out into the public. LBJ becomes a modern Aaron Burr, ending up in prison for his role in the conspiracy. For me, the most powerful scene is when Bobby Kennedy tells JFk that they don't have the votes in the senate to keep him from being impeached, when they've played every card and come up short. The author ends with what is clearly wishful thinking on his part. JFK resigns and a Democratic Speaker of the House becomes President. JFK's resignation sets up a series of events where in 2000, Bill Clinton wins his second term against George W Bush, and then by 2016 JFK Jr is poised to become President. But there are real and powerful parallels in this book that come through the story so smoothly because the writing is effective without being heavy handed. Weaponizing politics, the danger of using the power of the state for personal agendas, painting political opponents as existential threats to civilization itself, and the frightening frequency with which people seem willing to justify using the ammo box to do what they couldn't do with the ballot box-- all applicable today.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Kresal

    Ever since the events of November 22, 1963 there has been much speculation regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There's been debate over whether accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was even involved, what forces may or may not have been behind the assassination and so forth. There's also been the question of what might have happened if he had survived the assassination attempt. Many have tried answering that question with movies and books, some more fantastical than others. F Ever since the events of November 22, 1963 there has been much speculation regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There's been debate over whether accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was even involved, what forces may or may not have been behind the assassination and so forth. There's also been the question of what might have happened if he had survived the assassination attempt. Many have tried answering that question with movies and books, some more fantastical than others. Few though have perhaps been as authentic in their portrayal of a post-Dallas Kennedy presidency than Surrounded By Enemies, Bryce Zabel's Sidewise In Time award winning novel. Zabel is no stranger to the JFK assassination, having been co-creator of the “brilliant but canceled” 1990s sci-fi/thriller television series Dark Skies which had the assassination at its center. Zabel also puts his knowledge and research about the period to use here as well. Surrounded By Enemies presents a compelling portrait of a 1960s where not only did a conspiracy attempt to kill the President of the United States in broad daylight but also led to the Kennedy brothers having to figure out who to trust as they struggle to deal with not only the aftermath of Dallas but the 1964 election and beyond. It's that which is what separates this novel from so many other alternate history works. Many of them, such as the film Timequest, take a “rose-tinted” look at the world post-Dallas where it seems that the forces that nearly killed JFK simply give up or are easily dealt with. Zabel's take is far more plausible. To paraphrase a line from the novel itself, it turns out that there is more than one way to assassinate a nation's leader besides killing him. Those familiar with recent American History and the scandals surrounding two of Kennedy's successors will find plausible echoes as the novel progresses and eventually ties into Kennedy's private life and its effect on his presidency. The results seem all too plausible. To tell this story, Zabel chooses not to employ the usual novel techniques. If one goes into this book expecting to be given unfettered access to the thoughts and world of Surrounded By Enemies, you might be in for a disappointment. What Zabel does instead is something that makes the events far more plausible. Via a fictional weekly news magazine called Top Story and its commemorative issue looking back on the events in Dallas, we're given a look at twenty-odd months between November 1963 and February 1966 with an epilogue. Zabel's choice gives the proceedings an air of authenticity that some works of alternate history lack and also saves both historical figures from having too many words shoved in their mouths and the reader from having to question the plausibility of those words. Yet, often like history itself, the results can also be frustrating as we're presented with a sometimes incomplete picture of events and details. Even that potential flaw though lends the work credibility as anyone familiar with the Kennedy presidency, let alone the assassination, will be aware of how lacking of a full picture history can sometimes leave us with. Overall then, it's hard not to rate Surrounded By Enemies highly. Bryce Zabel's novel, told in the style on a non-fiction work, presents perhaps the most plausible picture we've yet had of what JFK's post-1963 presidency might have been like. For those interested in Kennedy, or fans of alternate history as a genre, this book comes recommended.

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