Even today, a half century after his assassination, those who were alive on November 22, 1963 can still vividly remember where we were when we first heard the news that President John F. Kennedy was dead. And during the decades since, we’ve followed accounts of the Warren Commission tasked with finding out whether one assassin or more had fired the shots which disrupted the motorcade that day in Dallas, Texas.
Now, author James Swanson gives us a fascinating chronicle of what happened, taking us minute-by-minute through the tumultuous period of Kennedy’s assassination in his latest book, "End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy" (William Morrow 2013).
Extensively researched, Swanson, the author of the New York Times best seller "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer", has written a riveting account of the assassination and its aftermath. We learn about Lee Harvey Oswald's bizarre history of violence and travel to the sixth-floor Texas Book Depository and stand at the window as Swanson looks into the sight of Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle.
We also see how Jacquelyn Kennedy was determined to show the world what had been done to her husband, helping to shape the enduring legend of Camelot.
“Her pink suit, white gloves and stockings were caked with dried blood,” he writes, “the bright red, wet blood spilled two hours ago had, after exposure to oxygen, solidified and taken on a darker color. Each time someone asked her, the more adamant she became. ‘Everybody kept saying to me to put a cold towel around my head and wipe the blood off.’ No, she insisted, she would not change. ‘I want them to see what they’ve done,’ she repeated more than once.”
With vivid photographs and personal accounts as well as new facts, Swanson’s book is a page turner, like reading one of the best political thrillers only this one is sadly true.