ONCE again the crackle of gunfire. Once again the long journey home, the hushed procession, the lowered flags and harrowed faces of a nation in grief. Once again the simple question: Why?

The second Kennedy assassination—almost two months to the day after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.—immediately prompted, at home and abroad, deep doubts about the stability of America. Many saw the unleashing of a dark, latent psychosis in the national character, a stain that had its start with the first settlement of a hostile continent. For the young people, in particular, who had been persuaded by the new politics...

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