Author: David R. Stokes
Publisher: David R. Stokes
ISBN: 978-1-494964054

You know, Jack, in a few hours, both us will be regretting how we spent the night, choosing a bull-session over sleep,” Nixon tells Kennedy while taking a train in David R. Stokes novella, Capitol Limited: A Story About John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

This one hundred and forty-seven page tome centers around several hours John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon spent together while traveling from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. in 1947. As historical fiction, the conversation between the two men includes profanity so may be acceptable for mature adults. The bold and italicized quotes throughout the book with no footnote references may be distracting to some readers. 

While Kennedy and Nixon were young U.S. House of Representative freshmen, they were asked to attend a debate regarding labor unions in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. After the event, the two politicos boarded the Capitol Limited, B & O’s “Deluxe Pullman Dieseliner – Luxurious Train of Distinction” to head back home.

After a coin flip for the best berth, the men settled in, starting a conversation that would last hours into the early morning. Being from opposite ends in their political beliefs, financial status, and upbringing at opposing American coasts, they had little in common except for their Navy experience. 

As the train rumbled through each station stop, topics ranged from Churchill, Truman, Roosevelt, and Hoover to the Logan Act, Korea, Poland’s “Forest People,” and Palestine. Bantering about Kennedy’s worn, torn passport and gossiping about anyone involved in politics, they both focused on foreign affairs as they shared future goals and dreams.

With each dialogue and name dropping, the author includes a paragraph or two of background information for the reader to recall. Although there is no written material regarding what the two future presidents discussed, liberty is taken based on resources available. 

Although the book is mainly about the train trip, the beginning reflects where Nixon was when he heard of Kennedy’s death and how he responded. A postscript, author’s note, and sources complete the book.

Having written five other books, the author/ordained minister imagines what these two men from diverse experiences talked about so long ago, not knowing how their lives would turn out later. A quick read, some readers may enjoy the biographies blended within its pages. 

Thanks to the author for furnishing this book in exchange for the reader’s honest review.

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