Dinner in Camelot is rather like one boring movie which makes you wonder if it's going to get any better.
Those of us who were alive during the Kennedy presidential years, I think are always looking to recapture some of their magic and allure and relive the days of grace, intellect, and beauty which have been mostly absent since 1963.
Subtitled: The Night America's Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House, this book, published last spring, describes (some but not enough of) the famous dinner on April 29, 1962 for all living Nobel Prize winners in the Western Hemisphere.
Many of the phrases are repeated twice or more. Some of the guests are described in too much detail: J. Robert Oppenheimer (atomic bomb), William and Rose Styron (Kennedy friends and authors; she wrote Dinner's foreword ), the Paulings (chemist and activists whose son, Linus C. Pauling, Jr. gave Dinner the highest possible rating on Amazon).
I didn't get Dinner at the library to read about them and their research. I got it to read about them, the hosts, and more about other guests, and the actual dinner: the menu, the flowers, the table settings, the guests' arrivals and their attire, the orchestra, the music program.
What did the expanded portions about the scientists and their work have to do with the dinner? Had I wanted a book about science, I would have gone to the science section of the library.
My impression was the author, Joseph A. Esposito, was trying to pad and fill pages which number 252 but they are little pages, at best no more than 150 real pages.
Did I miss the list of all the guests with a brief description of their occupations? Or, cause for their celebrity? Surely, it is there somewhere, and I overlooked it. After all, this is about one fancy dinner party, likely the fanciest one in Washington when JFK said:
I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
Anything about the children (other than Caroline playing with the elevator)? More about the orchestra, please. Did Jacqueline Kennedy select the music?
Maybe, the next edition?