Books: Intimations of Mortality

THE MAN WHO KNEW KENNEDY by Vance Bourjaily. 312 pages. Dial. $5.95.

"For a couple of years before and after the assassination of John F. Kennedy," recalls Novelist Vance Bourjaily, "you'd find yourself talking with someone who had served with him in the war, who'd shaken his hand or been acquainted with some member of his family." A generation felt that it knew J.F.K.—or in a special sort of way understood him. "It must have been partly because of this personal feeling," says Bourjaily, "that the assassination hit us like a death in the...

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