Over at the mother ship, we’ve collected legendary Guardian correspondent Alistair Cooke’s original dispatches from the days after President John F Kennedy was assassinated.
From the point of view of an outsider, and from his perch overlooking Central Park in New York, he chronicled Americans’ grief in the confusing time after Kennedy’s assassination. In those early days, though, he got one thing terribly, sadly wrong: assuming that Americans – unlike Europeans – would not be inclined to believe in conspiracies about the assassination:
The first palpable contrast between the American and European interest in the assassin and his motives seems to be a sharp one between a shamed nation anxious to know all the physical facts that cannot now be given to a court of law, and a suspicious continent that recalls the political content of a score of assassinations since the turn of the century.
Crudely put, the American tends to jump to the conclusion of an American housewife: “It wasn’t an international conspiracy, that fellow was just off his rocker.” The European tends to suspect, if not a conspiracy, at least an accomplice.
Advantage: no one wins here, but Cooke’s writing is sublime.