The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo

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The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo

Category: History
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A very readable and concise look at what happened in Dallas in late November 1963, with particular relevance for UK readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Short Books
ISBN: 978-1780721859

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President John F Kennedy had been warned about going to Dallas - he himself referred to it as 'nut country' - but, conscious of the upcoming 1964 presidential elections, he needed to bring some support from the city onside and that was why he and the First Lady found themselves in the motorcade which swept into Dealey Plaza on 22 November 1963. There can be few people who are not aware of what happened next, but Jonathan Mayo has presented a chronology of events over the next four days (four days, three murders, hundreds of stories, as the cover says) demonstrating the pressure under which the officials involved were working and the dreadful impact of what happened.

For anyone who has seen the film Parkland the scenario will seem familiar. In fact, the Vincent Bugliosi book on which the film was based is listed in the bibliography. There are, though, certain points which distinguish this book. Firstly, if you want an overview of events this book is an easier and and more user-friendly read than the book of the film which comes closer to being an academic text. The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute has much less detail but does read more like a pacey thriller, distinguished only by the unfortunate fact that the good guys don't win in the end.

It's also a book to which UK readers will relate, including as it does references to DJ John Peel who, on the basis that he was a reporter from the Liverpool Echo, managed to get inside the Dallas Police Department headquarters. We hear too of the difficulties which Alistair Cooke (of Letter from America) encountered in trying to write his script whilst events were rapidly unfolding - and of the sounding of the tenor bell at Westminster Abbey every minute for an hour on the day after the assassination. This was an honour normally reserved for the death of a monarch.

If you're looking for a book to confirm or debunk the conspiracy theories which surround the assassination then this isn't the book for you: it's about what happened in the course of these four days rather than what might be behind the events. It accepts that Kennedy's death cast a rosy glow over his presidency, which might not have been there had he lived, but makes no other attempt to evaluate the presidency. This is a book with a purpose - to tell us what happened in the course of those four days - and it does that commendably and in a very readable way. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you'd like a more detailed look at what happened in late November 1963, have a look at Parkland by Vincent Bugliosi. We've also chosen our Top Ten Books on President John F Kennedy, of which this book is one.

Buy The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo at Amazon.com.


Booklists.jpg The Assassination of JFK Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo is in the Top Ten Books on President John F Kennedy.

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