I'm reading Rick Perlstein's Before The Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, slowly. I'm just past half way. The JFK assassination is about the midpoint.
What strikes me so far is the way in which Perlstein uses Goldwater as a center piece of his narrative but doesn't focus on him. The action is driven by others. Clarence Manion is the first character to be introduced. Clif White is another major player. He introduces us to William F. Buckley, Jr., Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller, the last two as 'antagonists.'
The thesis of the book is that a 'Conservative' movement grew out of various resentments toward the 'New Deal' and the 'rights of Labor' and began to coalesce around Barry Goldwater, partly for aesthetic reasons. Much as Ronald Reagan would later, Goldwater seemed to embody the thoughts and feelings of many thousands of Americans. Part of this was because many people projected their own feelings onto Goldwater, who did speak often of a new, Conservative approach to American government. (New in one sense, anyway.)
We'll see what happens next. There's talk of a run for President, in '64. ; )