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To a one, my students left the theater convinced that ODonnell had been a more important figure in the crisis than Attorney General Robert Kennedy or any other member of Ex Comm, the ad hoc group of current and former executivebranch officials that President Kennedy. In one entirely fictitious scene, ODonnell phones the Navy pilot who is about to fly a low-altitude surveillance mission over Cuba and tells him to lie to his superior history research paper bibliography officers if Cuban or Russian soldiers try to shoot him down.ODonnell would rather conceal evidence than allow it to be used by advocates of a military strike. In another scene, ODonnell calls Adlai Stevenson to stiffen the.N. Ambassadors spine before Stevenson presses the American case against the Soviet Union in the Security Council. Stevensons spine needed and received no such stiffening from ODonnell or anyone else on that occasion.Yet stiffening spines is one of ODonnells main functions in Thirteen Days. You come away thinking that President Kennedy could never have made his televised speech to the nation and Robert Kennedy would have flubbed his presentation of the administrations crisis-ending compromise to the Soviet ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin, if ODonnell hadnt pulled them aside for pep talks. Bizarrely, a scene that replicates the famous from-behind photograph of Kennedy leaning heavily on a table ends with ODonnell handing him a drink.

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Kennedy, a friend and classmate of ODonnells at Harvard, had first brought him into his brother Johns campaign organization when John ran for the Senate in 1952. No one has ever top essay writing companies argued that ODonnell, who served as White House appointments secretary and political adviser after Kennedy became president in 1961, played an important role in the missile crisis.To the contrary, a host of historians, political scientists, journalists, and Kennedy aides including Arthur Schlesinger., Graham Allison, Marvin Kalb, and Theodore Sorensen have said that ODonnell (as Schlesinger put it) had nothing to do with the Cuban missile crisis. May, coeditor of The Kennedy Tapes (the book on which the movie is based said in The American Prospect that the apparent rationale for making ODonnell the main character in Thirteen Days was that he could serve as aninside Everyman, evaluating the crisis almost. Ironically, the Everyman device works best when ODonnell goes outside among all the other Everyfolk, walking the streets of Washington and joining a long line of people entering a Catholic church with a handwritten signboard out front advertising Confessions 24 hrs/Pray for Peace. When the ODonnell character is inside the White House, he is at center stage, not watching from a corner.

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Despite its flaws, however, Im still glad I took my students to see. The inclination in most writing paper letter to santa college social-science courses is to show movies sparingly, if at all, and to show only classics. (Im not sure what those would be in a course on the presidency: As critic Terrence Rafferty has noted, Its difficult to name a profession that has inspired fewer great movies. Maybe urology.) But the impressions of a historical or political subject that students bring with them into a course are often derived from the popular entertainment of their day.Going as a class to see a movie that most of my students would have gone to see anyway created an opportunity to help them sort out the historical wheat from the Hollywood chaff. For that reason, I still kick myself for not having taken them to see JFK, Oliver Stones cinematically powerful but historically awful movie about the Kennedy assassination. Thirteen Days unfolds from the perspective of Kenneth ODonnell, who is played by Costner. In real life, ODonnell was a political consigliere to the Kennedy brothers.


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Home many pasts evidence www. History blackboard reference talking history syllabi students teachers puzzle about us by Michael Nelson, Political Science Professor, Rhodes College. One of the most jarring things I discovered when I taught my first undergraduate course on the American presidency in the fall of 1979 was that my students were 3 years old during the Cuban missile crisis.They didnt remember a thing about those storied 13 days in October 1962. I remembered everything, including what it was like to go to school write research paper lung cancer in the morning in fear that I would not come home that afternoon. Students today barely recall the cold war (they were around 10 when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cuban missile crisis may as well have happened in 1066.So after reading one stellar review after another in the national media, I took my current class on the presidency to see Thirteen Days, the new -million blockbuster starring Kevin Costner, on the weekend it opened. It turned out to be a disappointing movie, except for actor Bruce Greenwoods wonderfully nuanced portrayal of John. Kennedy as at least for the duration of the crisis a thoughtful, anguished, morally serious president who remained cool under pressure.

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