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Gr 6 Up-Swanson's title reads like a thriller, with intense pacing and an engaging narrative. The event is not depicted as dry, textbook history, but rather as a horrifying and shocking crime. Full- and double-page photographs of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, and stills from the famous Zapruder film-which captured the assassination in real time-breathe emotion into the work. Kennedy's and Oswald's backgrounds are illuminated as the narrative descends toward their tragic connection. A well-illustrated map of Dealey Plaza detailing the President's route clarifies the position of relevant buildings and features at the time of the assassination. This book is graphic with respect to both images and verbage. Swanson provides a compelling case for Oswald as a lone gunman, arguing against the various and popular conspiracy theories. A diagram of the infamous "magic bullet" illustrates how a single bullet could cause multiple wounds for both JFK and Governor Connally. Despite the great number of books on Kennedy's assassination, this volume stands out for its gripping storytelling style and photographic documentation.-Jeffrey Meyer, Mount Pleasant Public Library, IA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Swanson brings the same immediacy and thrillerlike tension he achieved in Chasing Lincoln's Killer to this harrowing account of the Kennedy assassination (an adult version, End of Days, will be published later this year). As the subtitle suggests, Swanson concentrates on the buildup to and aftermath of the Dallas shooting on November 22, 1963. After a quick overview of Kennedy's ascent to and first years in office (including the Bay of Pigs and the Space Race), he shifts between Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald in the days before and after the assassination. Swanson doesn't avoid the horrific details of the shooting, and he's open about the failings of well-meaning officials and staffers in the wake of the shooting. There's no danger of uncovering any sympathy for Oswald, painted by Swanson as "a complaining, self-pitying, attention-seeking, temperamental, impoverished idealogue." The book's meticulous design incorporates numerous diagrams and b&w period photographs, and extensive source notes back up Swanson's work. Even the simple decision to title the book's chapters by date emphasizes how, in the span of just a few days, America changed irrevocably. Ages 12-up. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Historian Swanson, who focused on Abraham Lincoln in Chasing Lincoln's Killer (2009) and Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis (2011), introduces the man who became the youngest president in American history. The narrative text highlights John F. Kennedy's naval career, abbreviated presidential term, and his courtship and family life with Jacqueline Bouvier. Swanson balances this coverage of the former president with a profile of Lee Harvey Oswald as well as a dramatic account of Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963. Swanson makes clear that he agrees with the Warren Commission that Oswald was the lone gunman, and he spells out his disdain for conspiracy theories. Pair this title with O'Reilly's Kennedy's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America (2012), which posits that there was a mysterious figure who some thought was Oswald's CIA handler. Archival photographs, explicit diagrams of the assassination scene, source notes, and a bibliography that includes conspiracy-focused literature add further value to this strong addition to Kennedy titles.--Bush, Gail Copyright 2010 Booklist