New York University’s Center for the Study of Transformative Lives will host historian Timothy Naftali, author of the forthcoming “Before the Glass Shattered: Kennedy in the White House,” for a public lecture, “Demystifying JFK,” on Tues., Oct. 6, 6-7:15 p.m. at NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, first-floor screening room (53 Washington Square South [betw. Thompson and Sullivan Sts.]).
Naftali’s JFK biography will examine his presidency in light of newly available documents, oral histories, and tapes. In his research, Naftali finds a Kennedy who is more pragmatic and political than his inner circle acknowledged and more skeptical of the Cold War and American power than revisionist critics ever realized. Naftali’s talk will explain how Kennedy, his family, and his closest literary allies helped to cultivate the mysteries that would long bedevil biographers.
Naftali, co-director of NYU’s Center for the United States and the Cold War and an associate clinical professor in NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and NYU’s Department of History, will be introduced by Philip Kunhardt, founding director of the Center for Transformative Lives.
Naftali, who gained national attention by transforming the Nixon Library into a nonpartisan research center and creating an interactive Watergate exhibit, is a pioneer in adapting new technologies to the study of the American presidency. As director of the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Project until 2006, Naftali oversaw the development, with a team of fellow historians, of the first website of annotated White House tapes. A frequent historical analyst on television, Naftali was featured most recently in CNN’s “The Seventies” miniseries and PBS’ “Dick Cavett’s Vietnam.” He is author of four books, including “One Hell of a Gamble,” a path-breaking study of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and a biography of George H. W. Bush for Arthur Schlesinger’s American Presidents series.
The event is free and open to the public. An RSVP is required at www.transformativelives.org, by emailing transformative.lives[at]nyu.edu, or by calling 212.998.4291. Subways: A, B, C, D, E, F, M (W. 4th St.).