WHILE DISCUSSING “The Four Beliefs,” Robert Frost said about every work of art, “You say as you go more than you even hoped you were going to be able to say, and come with surprise to an end that you foreknew only with some sort of emotion. You have believed the thing into existence.” 1
Many people joined together and believed the documentary, JFK: The Last Speech into existence and now many people have come together to believe this companion book into existence. Words of recognition and gratitude are in order.
Without the film, this volume would not exist. Northern Light Productions took hold of a many-pronged story and made a film of beauty and significance – especially the amazing visionary Bestor Cram, whose voice comes through in the Afterword for this book; also Portland Helmich and Matthew Maclean, who became our sister and brother in telling our stories. The film editor Glenn Fukushima worked his magic behind the scenes as did many others of the NLP team to whom we extend thanks.
The supporters behind the film include Amherst College, under President Biddy Martin and Trustees Chair Cullen Murphy, whose belief and practical assistance made it come true. Also, key support came from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, under President Nancy Cable’s leadership, and from the dozens of members of the Amherst Class of 1964 who believed with us enough to make it happen.
The editors were joined by a loyal and hardworking core team of classmates in creating this book and participating in our weekly conference calls for the past year. They include Bob Benedetti, Ted Nelson, Stephen Smith, Richard (Rip) Sparks, and Charles (Smokey) Stover. Also lending support were Dick Joslin and Mark Sandler.
Our publisher Mascot Books is clearly a professional organization and has been a pleasure to work with from our first contact with Andy Symonds to our working relationships with Kristin Perry and Geoffrey Stone as well as the behind the scenes support staff handling layout and editing. They have patiently accommodated our every request and provided valuable guidance.
Of course, the heart and soul of this book are the remarkable stories and scholarship contributed by our authors. A special thanks belongs to them: Joseph Kennedy III, Jay Parini, Nicholas Zeppos, Robert Redford, Jon Meacham, Mickey Edwards, Steven Olikara, Fareed Zakaria; Amherst administration
and alumni – Cullen Murphy, Biddy Martin, Paul Dimond, ‘66 and Dakota Foster ’18; and our class of ’64 classmates – Farzam Arbab, Robert Benedetti, Jesse Brill, Bradford Collins, Pat DeLeon, Steve Downs, Steve Drotter, James Giles, Thomas Jacobs, Robert Knox, Don Lombardi, Doug Lowy, Mitch Meisner, Roger Mills, Ted Nelson, Gene Palumbo, David Pearle, Peter Rubinstein, Mark Sandler, Steve Smith, Rip Sparks, Paul Stern, Joseph Stiglitz, Charles Stover, David Stringer, George Wanlass, and Chatland Whitmore.
Special additional thanks among this group to Rip Sparks for creating the annotated timeline – and in the process unearthing some new discoveries, and Robert Benedetti for developing the discussion questions.
Along the way many people have provided advice and assistance. Special mention is due to Paul Dimond, above and beyond his authorship contributions, Jon Hubert, Ray Suarez and especially Judy Bicknell, who has been a full partner in this endeavor from the beginning.
In creating an anthology, making contacts with the writers is central to the task and kind assistance was provided by many including District Director Nick Clemons in Joseph Kennedy’s office, Julia Wilson in Steven Olikara’s office, Attorney Barry Tyerman and his assistant Susan Johnson on behalf of Robert Redford, Melanie Galvin in Fareed Zakaria’s office, Vice Chancellor Steve Ertel and Nikki Suzzanne Younger on behalf of Nick Zeppos, Sarah Thomas and Debarati Ghosh in Joseph Stiglitz’s office, Susan Englehardt and Molly Whalen working with Biddy Martin, Mareen Johnson in Doug Lowy’s
office and Chelsea Bassman in Rabbi Peter Rubinstein’s office.
In assembling the photo credits and permissions, special assistance was provided by Peter Gilbert on behalf of the Robert Frost Estate, Julie Grahame on behalf of the estate of Yousuf Karsh, Jesus Chavez at the Associated Press, Shane Butler at Northern Light Productions and Roger Myers, Trent Purdy
and Joseph Diaz at the University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections.
Finally an extra special thanks to our spouses – Judy, Katherine and Ted – who supported our effort and put up with our fretting, obsessions and never-ending hope for perfection.
All of these people helped us believe this volume into existence and come to an end that we “foreknew only with some sort of emotion.”
1 Robert Frost, “The Four Beliefs” in The Collected Prose of Robert Frost, edited by Mark
Richardson, 2007, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.