American Experience: JFK, Part 1

American Experience: JFK, Part 1

Monday, November 11 at 9:00 p.m.

Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin’s bullet, John F. Kennedy’s presidency has often defied objective appraisal.

"American Experience: JFK,"a new, two-part documentary, provides a fresh look at an enigmatic man who remains one of the nation’s most beloved and mourned leaders. With the benefit of recently opened archives, the film recounts his struggles with life-threatening illnesses and his efforts to keep them hidden from the public. "JFK" offers new perspectives on his complicated private life, including his relationship with his wife, Jacqueline, his close connection to his younger brother, Robert, and his complex bond with his powerful father. It also reevaluates Kennedy’s strengths and weaknesses in the Oval Office as he navigated some of the most explosive events of the 20th century: the disastrous failure at the Bay of Pigs, the urgent demands of an increasingly impatient civil rights movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the escalating conflict in Southeast Asia.

Part One follows JFK’s rise to power from his birth to his election as president in 1960 — the youngest man ever to be elected to the office. With illuminating interviews from family members, including sister Jean Kennedy Smith, niece Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, historian Robert Dallek and author Robert Caro, this episode offers new insight into Kennedy’s early years, from his transformation from a sickly youth to Washington’s most eligible bachelor to the nation’s president.

Top photo: President John F. Kennedy speaks at a press conference.
At right: Caroline Kennedy and her father, President John F. Kennedy.