an excerpt from the cover story of the current issue of Vanity Fair. Sam Kashner on The Death of a President | vanityfair.com "He" below refers to William Manchester, author of the 1967 book "Death of a President" on his research trip to Texas. He discovered deep political enmities that had simmered at the time of the assassination, not just against the Kennedys but among the Democrats as well. Indeed, thats what had compelled Kennedys trip to Dallas in the first place: John B. Connally, the conservative Democratic governor, was at war with the more liberal Democratic senator Ralph W. Yarborough. Even a formidable Texas politician like Vice President Johnson couldnt put out the oil fire the two men had ignited. Kennedy didnt want to lose the state in the upcoming 64 election, so hed agreed to go to Dallas in an attempt to heal the rift. Manchester also discovered that Dallas had become the Mecca for medicine-show evangelists the Minutemen, the John Birch and Patrick Henry Societies, and the headquarters of [ultra-conservative oil billionaire] H. L. Hunt and his activities. In that third year of the Kennedy presidency, Manchester wrote, a kind of fever lay over Dallas country. Mad things happened. Huge billboards screamed, Impeach Earl Warren. Jewish stores were smeared with crude swastikas. Radical Right polemics were distributed in public schools; Kennedys name was booed in classrooms; corporate junior executives were required to attend radical seminars. A retired major general ran the American flag upside down, deriding it as the Democrat flag. A wanted poster with J.F.K.s face on it was circulated, announcing this man is Wanted foramong other thingsturning the sovereignty of the US over to the Communist controlled United Nations and appointing anti-Christians aliens and known Communists to federal offices. And a full-page advertisement had appeared the day of the assassination in The Dallas Morning News accusing Kennedy of making a secret deal with the Communist Party; when it was shown to the president, he was appalled. He turned to Jacqueline, who was visibly upset, and said, Oh, you know, were heading into nut country today. Manchester discovered that in a wealthy Dallas suburb, when told that President Kennedy had been murdered in their city, the students in a fourth-grade class burst into applause. For Manchester, who revered Kennedy, such responses, encountered throughout Dallas, were deeply offensive and would influence the book he was about to write.