Rockbrat Recommends: Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States

Some week backs Mr Rockbrat gave me the audio book of Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Absolutely fantastic. The premise is time travel. Its 2011, and enter the rabbit hole back to 1960 – and take the opportunity to re write history by preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy. If Kennedy lives, democracy and liberalism may flourish, Luther King may also still then live, the Vietnam War may not happen. What is the result of this action? Do changing these events alter the lines of history and time – and make events even worse?  When the main man returns to 2011 again, he discovers a lawless dystopia – the result of him preventing the JFK assassination. Kennedy got re-elected in 1964. Since LBJ’s presidency did not occur, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is never passed. George Wallace becomes president in 1968, leading to nuclear war. The historical disruption is exacerbated by an increase in earthquakes, which are expected to destroy the planet. Can he fix this mess he created ? Go check it for yourself. It is a superb piece of literature and one of King’s best he’s ever penned. 11/22/63 was published on November 8, 2011, and quickly became a number-one bestseller. It stayed on the list for an additional seventeen weeks. According to King, the idea for the novel came to him in 1971, just before the release of his first novel, however, he felt a historical novel required more research than he was willing to do at the time, and greater literary talent than he possessed. He abandoned the project, returning to the story later in life. I believe it is being made into a film.  Similarly, I recently started re watching Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States again. Absolutely fascinating. It covers the reasons behind the Cold War with the Soviet Union, U.S. President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, and changes in America’s global role since the fall of Communism. Stone is the director and narrator of all ten episodes. The series is a re-examination of some of the under-reported and darkest parts of American modern history using little known documents and newly uncovered archival material. The series looks beyond official versions of events to the deeper causes and implications and explores how events from the past still have resonant themes for the present day. Stone said: “From the outset I’ve looked at this project as a legacy to my children, and a way to understand the times I’ve lived through. I hope it can contribute to a more global insight into American history.” As I said, absolutely fascinating stuff. Forget about Natural Born Killers, Scar Face and other great Stone films that always seem to make a statement politically, socially or otherwise – this is his piece de resistance. Although, I rank his epic film on JFK from 91 as superb.  If you want a good synopsis of the series, listen to this interview with Australia’s Phillip Adams from a couple of weeks back where Stone speaks about his documentary. Stone (also the recipient of a Purple Heart medal from his time in the Vietnam War) says “America’s casual attitude to brutality started the day it used atomic bombs on Japan.” Listen here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s