Wednesday, September 12, 2007

From Love Field - Book Review

From Love Field
Our Final Hours with President John F. Kennedy
By Nellie Connally
with Mickey Herskowitz
Rugged Land 2003

Where were you on November 22, 1963?

Idanell Brill "Nellie" Connally was the First Lady of Texas from 1963 to 1969. She was in the same limousine as Jacqueline and President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas. Ten days after the assassination, Nellie wrote down some notes about the events as she remembered them. Then she stuffed the notes into a file drawer and forgot about them for 33 years.

Before she died (September 1st, 2006 - Just last year), Nellie dug out those old notes and fleshed out the story of what actually happened in Dallas on that day. She speaks about the short trip from Fort Worth to Dallas, arriving at Love Airfield and watching the secret service nervously try to get the President and Jackie into the car. Instead they chose to do a quick meet and greet amongst the crowds at the Airfield, thus delaying the caravan.

All the way into Dallas, crowds roared and cheered. On Elm Street, Nellie turned to the President and spoke the last words he probably ever heard. "Mr President, You certainly can't say that Dallas doesn't love you." The president smiled and Nellie turned back to the front.

That's when the first gunshot hit the President in the throat. Nellie is adamant that the second gunshot hit her husband (Texas Governor) John Connally. The third gunshot then hit Kennedy in the head.

Nellie writes about the interminable waiting as Parkland hospital while one team of doctors worked on the President and another team worked on the Governor. The president was pronounced dead at 1 oclock that day. Governor John Connally survived. He had suffered a collapsed lung, one broken rib, a hole in his chest and a broken wrist. (the magic bullet)

President Kennedy's funeral was held in Washington DC the following Monday. Since Nellie was keeping a hospital vigil beside her husbands bed, the Connally's eldest son John Junior (John Connally 111) aged 17 at the time, was selected to represent the family and the state of Texas.

Governor John Connally recovered and returned home to the governors mansion in Austin. He went on be governor for 6 years and after he left, he returned to Houston where he worked as a lawyer. In 1973 he was appointed as Secretary of the Treasury by President Nixon. Nellie also briefly mentions Lee Harvey Oswald, and about testifying before the Warren Commission.

At the time of her death in 2006, Nellie was the last surviving occupant of the presidential limousine that carried John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

This book is short, just 156 pages, not counting the appendices.
There are lots of black and white photos from Dallas, Fort Worth and a few Connally family pictures as well.

A most enjoyable book. And since most of the story takes place in Dallas, I am claiming this book as my absolute final book for the Armchair Travellers challenge. [And I dare anyone to deny me this right LOL]


MissDaisyAnne said...

Where was I Nov 22, 1963, my mother was pregnant with me at that time, I was born Feb 12, 1964. My aunt worked in downtown Dallas for many years, she was able to take a break with a friend and to see JFK shortly before he died.

MissDaisyAnne said...

On your shelfari list of books you are reading, I have read the book on Elizabeth Taylor, very interesting life.

Historia said...

Where was I Nov 22, 1963?

My mother was 3 months pregnant with me. LOL I was born in May 1964.

Not born in USA.