By Kathy Chouteau
President John F. Kennedy’s adventuresome boarding school days are the focus of Richmond resident Scott Badler’s book, JFK & the Muckers of Choate, set for release by Bancroft Press Sun., May 29—which would have been the former president’s 105th birthday.
According to the Marina Bay resident and LA native—who once lived in Kennedy’s Congressional district in the Boston area—his book is an “historical fiction about a year and a half in the life of JFK at the Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut,” during which time he led a revolt, of sorts, against the administration.
Badler said the book’s climax is Kennedy’s reaction to the headmaster of the tony school calling students lazy, ineffectual “muckers”—a response that included the young JFK founding the “Muckers Club” with friends and pulling pranks together as a “symbolic attack on the administration.” It’s told in the first person from JFK’s perspective and Badler said that, amid thousands of books written about the Kennedys, “this is the only book to explore JFK’s life through his own eyes.”
He was “just as fascinating as a teenager as he was as president,” said the author.
Badler—whose parents were Democrats—said his interest in JFK stretches back to Election Day 1960 when he was a Second grader at Stagg Street Elementary near LA and recalls “facing off against the Nixon supporters” by shouting “nix on Nixon!” Kennedy prevailed in the election, and so did the author’s interest in the charismatic leader and his family.
A few short years following his faceoff with Nixon supporters, Badler’s interest in writing took root when he started “writing little stories.” After earning a BA Degree in Radio & TV from San Francisco State and a Master’s Degree in Education from Cambridge College, he eventually worked as a journalist covering sports for the Valley News in the LA area and as a general assignment reporter for the Del Norte Triplicate in Crescent City, CA. Today, he works as a full-time author and, outside of the pandemic, pitches in as a tour guide for the San Francisco Giants.
Next up for Badler is a sequel to his soon-to-be-released book, which will cover the time period in JFK’s life following his graduation from Choate through Election Night of his first Congressional campaign. According to the author, who didn’t want to give away too much, a bit of trouble ensues for the former president in Cape Cod. The working title of his sequel is The Curious Misadventures of Young JFK.
Want to hear more from author Scott Badler about his new book? The Richmond Public Library will host the author in mid-June (date/time TBD) at Richmond’s City Council Chambers, during which there will be a conversational interview and he will take questions and sign books. Contact the library with questions.
For more info about Scott Badler, including his other books, click here.
NOTE: According to Badler, President Kennedy spoke in Richmond on Sept. 8, 1960 on an unidentified train platform while on his way to LA. Read his speech here.