Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back Channel: The Kennedy Years by William Bertram MacFarland

Back Channel: The Kennedy Years by William Bertram MacFarland
Published By: CreateSpace
Release Date: September 8, 2011
Format: Paperback - 298 pages / Kindle - 2697 KB
ISBN: 1463556942
Genre: Memoir / US History - Nonfiction

About The Author:

William Bertram MacFarland Bertie Mac - never sought - or even imagined - a role as a Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy. Even less did he imagine continuing in the role of Special Assistant to the President in eight subsequent administrations. His degrees from Duke University were in Mathematics and Physics (Quantum Mechanics) but fate and the U.S. government extinguished any hope of a career in those fields.

Eager for adventure and travel, immediately after graduation from university he entered the intelligence arm of the government, did extensive military training, became a U.S. Army Ranger, trained in Special Operations, hand to hand combat techniques, did rigorous advanced parachute training, and went through intensive training in Russian language and culture at the language school in Monterrey, California. Subsequently assigned as a "diplomatic courier" to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, he was callously betrayed by his own government - the government of the United States of America - and turned over to the Soviet Union where he was brutally tortured in Lubyanka Prison at KGB Headquarters in Moscow. He was rescued near the point of death in a clandestine operation carried out by two high ranking Soviet Generals and was entrusted by them with information which became vital to the peaceful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis. His unique value to both sides was his profound distrust of both governments.

He slowly came to be a friend and confidant of President Kennedy in his (unsought) role as Special Assistant to the President and he tried in vain (and disgust) to resign his position when President Kennedy was assassinated but President Johnson would not accept it. The knowledge and "back channel" contacts that he had accumulated - and continued to accumulate as his career progressed - made him uniquely valuable to a long succession of U.S. Presidents. His 50 year access to the highest levels of nine Administrations and the highly classified materials that they generated make him uniquely qualified to relate these riveting and spellbinding memoirs. His reputation as being totally incorruptible is not necessarily a good thing in the halls of power and the only thing that has saved him from assassination by officials in his own government is a vast collection of documents accumulated over the entirety of his career which resides in a safe deposit box in a western European country - the key to which is held by a well known law firm in that country. Should he die under suspicious circumstances, those documents will be released to the public - at a horrific cost to hundreds of individuals and indeed, to the nation as a whole.

He describes himself as "a patriot, a soldier, a spy, and an assassin." The description does not do him full justice. He was involved in intergovernmental intrigues at the highest levels and as a superbly trained and conditioned special operative he was an amalgam of James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan. He is surely one of the American "cousins" described by John Le Carre. Bertie never sought glory or recognition for his contributions. He did what he did purely from his love of country. He is a true American hero - who will forever remain anonymous and in the shadows.

BUY THE BOOK: Back Channel: The Kennedy Years

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event.

Virtual Book Tour Event: On Friday, May 25, 2012, in association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, author William Bertram MacFarland participated in a virtual book tour event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.

Book Description:

This is the first book of a remarkable memoir of a Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy. Known familiarly as Bertie Mac, he reported directly to the President and his office was in the West Wing of the White House. Prior to achieving that position, he had been betrayed by his own government - the United States - and handed over to the Soviets. He was tortured in the Lubyanka prison in Moscow before being covertly rescued by two high ranking Soviet Generals who wanted to convey information directly to the White House to try to avert a nuclear confrontation. They believed that he would be a uniquely reliable conduit of information between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as he deeply mistrusted both governments and therefore had absolutely no motivation to "color" any information he might transmit. Bertie Mac coined the term "Back Channel" and served as a direct communication link between the White House and the Kremlin during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bertie Mac is a patriot, a soldier, a spy and an assassin. He served in all four roles during his time under President Kennedy. You will see the Soviet Union, the White House, Camelot, Vietnam and the assassination of the President in a very new light and watch history as it was being made.

Bertie Mac served under and reported to nine U.S. Presidents. This book is the first in the series. It is heavily documented with photocopies of documents which, though now declassified, originally bore the very highest of security classifications - Top Secret / Sensitive / Eyes Only. The documents are indisputably authentic and reveal the real facts that the American - and world - public never knew. Back Channel recounts the first stage of a totally fascinating journey.

My Book Review:

Back Channel: The Kennedy Years is an eye-opening memoir about the Kennedy administration from an insider's view. This fascinating book is the first in a series of nine books documenting the author's position as Special Assistant to nine U.S. Presidents (JFK to George W. Bush), and the events that went on during each of their administrations.

In this first book, Back Channel: The Kennedy Years, Mr. MacFarland documents the beginning of his career in the U.S. government when he was recruited for the CIA in his junior year at Duke University, through the assassination of JFK and the transition to the LBJ administration. Bertie Mac provides the reader with an insider's view into the workings of the highest level of the U.S. government, and backs its up with supporting documentation that is now declassified. This riveting accounting of the Camelot time period in U.S. history is jammed packed with intriguing intelligence stories and accounts like The Bay of Pigs, The Cuban Missile Crisis, Policy Disputes (Domestic and Foreign), Civil Rights legislation, friction with LBJ (as JFK's VP), Vietnam briefings, and JFK's assassination and conspiracy theories.

As a history buff and fan of everything JFK and Camelot, I absolutely loved Bertie Mac's powerful recollections of his position and friendship with JFK and the Kennedy clan. His chapters on Camelot (Chapter 3) and Hyannis Port (Chapter 6) was a fascinating but bittersweet recollection of the best and brightest time period in American history.

Back Channel: The Kennedy Years is a history lesson for the American public that they would have never received if this memoir wasn't written. It is an astonishing look into the "real" inner workings of what goes on in our government behind closed doors and out of the public's eyes. If the reader takes away anything from reading this book, it is that the information that the American public receives from our government is just an optical illusion for what they want us to believe. I look forward to reading the other eight books in this series so I can compare how each Presidential administration was run.

Back Channel: The Kennedy Years is a simply stunning book, one that is a must read for every American citizen.


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