As I listened to Jim Leavelle at the Dallas Park City Club yesterday, I was thinking about some of my favorite books written about the JFK assassination.
Leavelle was the Dallas policeman who escorted Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters on Sunday, November 24, 1963. Oswald was being transferred to another jail, and he was killed by Jack Ruby. He is on the left side of the photograph, wearing a hat.
Unfortunately, Leavelle has never written a book. It is my great hope that he will at least publish an “as told to” book, sharing his experiences, in the remaining years of his life.
In no particular sequence, here are my favorite books about the events surrounding November 22, 1963, in Dallas:
Five Days in November by Clint Hill (Gallery, 2013) – Hill was the secret service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy, and he jumped on the president’s limousine to shield her as she attempted to crawl out the back of the car
Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi (W.W. Norton, 2007) – despite its 1,648 pages and more than 900 additional pages of footnotes on a CD, this book by the Charles Manson prosecutor is highly readable
Rush to Judgment by Mark Lane (Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1966) – this critique of the Warren Commission Report should be entitled “rush to press,” as it contains so many inaccuracies they are laughable
Crossfire by Jim Marrs (Basic Books, 1993) – the best of the conspiracy theory books – I do not believe any of these, as I am firm in my conviction that Oswald acted alone – I saw Marrs speak in person in Fort Worth about this book
Mortal Error: The Shot that Killed JFK (Hunter’s Moon, 1992)- by Bonar Menninger – the most plausible alternative explanation outside of a conspiracy theory to account for the assassination; it was largely ignored by the media and public
Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt, 2012) – I cannot stand this guy, but this book is readable and contains material that I have never seen anyplace else, and that I doubt is even factual; as with all of his books in this series, Martin Dugard is a co-author
What about you? What are your favorites about this historical event? Click on “add a comment” below and share it with others.
I am reading Clint Hill‘s wonderful new best-seller, Five Presidents (Gallery, 2016), in which he details his seventeen years experience in the U.S. Secret Service, when he served under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.
Hill, you may recall, wrote two other best-sellers, Mrs. Kennedy and Me (Gallery, 2012), and Five Days in November (Atria, 2013). He was the agent who ran and jumped on the back of the limousine to shield Jackie, seconds after her husband, JFK, was fatally wounded in Dealey Plaza in Dallas.
Since this is Father’s Day, I wanted to share what his father, Chris, told him about how to live:
“Always be respectful of others, no matter who they are; live within your means and save for the future; strive to do the best job at whatever you do; and never, ever be late.” (p. 7).
Later, Hill tells a story about what happened when he came home eight minutes late from his father’s self-imposed curfew. It was not pleasant.
I think this is pretty good advice. How about you?