November 22, 1963

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy shocked the nation and quickly led to a conspiracy industry that still thrives today. To mark the occasion I have read three disparate books over the last few months and offer quick mini-reviews of each.

Sinatra and the Jack Pack by Michael Sheridan is a breezy read of the famous friendship and clashes between Frank Sinatra and President Kennedy. It covers their youth and mutual admiration (and how each used each other) up through and past the assassination. Interesting read but very little first hand research. It felt almost like a movie fan magazine sometimes but the sources were always credited.

Case Closed is a MUST READ if you are at all interested in the assassination. Gerald Posner has created an exhaustive review of the evidence and every conspiracy theory that has surrounded it. I had a decent understanding of all the angles but was overwhelmed by Mr. Posner’s intricate retelling. I have never believed the conspiracy theories and Mr. Posner blows them out of the water, one by one and in bunches. It was a fascinating (and long and detailed) read that I highly recommend.

Stephen King’s novel is theoretically about the assassination but it is much, much more. It is an in-depth examination of love, time and longing that happens to also focus on that terrible day in Dallas. I read it just after reading Case Closed and felt strongly that Mr. King must have also read it (he does credit it in his acknowledgement). Stephen King has an incredible range and center of the book is a time travel conceit that is brilliantly played. But the heart of the book is a deep and abiding love that plays out in a surprising and satisfying arc.

The list presented here is the order in which I read them and I am happy it worked out that way. Both Case Closed and 11/22/63 are long and involved reads but well worth the effort. Happy reading!

As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes

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