JFK hit and myth

Alex Massie’s dissection of the Camelot myth (Perspective, 19 November) was much needed and reminded me how very mixed was the reaction in my Californian college to the news from Dallas.

Classes continued, after which I went surfing at Malibu and I only became aware of the reaction elsewhere in the US and in Europe when my father phoned from the UK. Before 24-hour news and the internet, America was loosely connected but Californians were aware of JFK’s womanising, Marilyn Monroe and his father’s mob connections.

Our student newspaper often mocked his oratory: a bombastic inauguration speech which led to the Cuban fiascos and his assurance to Berliners that he was a doughnut.

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The fact is his presidency was stalled, especially on civil rights, and my black pals were hoping for a White House with Lyndon B Johnson or Hubert Humphrey.

But as occurred after the seedy death of Princess Diana, TV swept the nation up in a tsunami of nostalgia for a wholly illusory loss of hope and innocence.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews