New Nonfiction: End of Days – James L. Swanson

Swanson wrote the riveting NYT bestselling Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer and uses the same minute-by-minute storytelling technique to bring to life Kennedy’s final 48 hours and the immediate aftermath of his assassination. In a publishing season chock-a-block with 50th anniversary Kennedy books, I don’t think you’ll find one with more tension and cinematic verve. Kirkus calls it “Chilling, gruesome and riveting.”

Drawing on the decades of technological advances that have deepened the knowledge of the assassination, the author presents the stunning unfolding of the event in punchy, poignant vignettes, following one character after another to the inexorable conclusion….Swanson’s tidy, concise character summaries give a terrific sense of the dramatis personae in just a few strokes: JFK, impossibly brilliant and charismatic, overcoming enormous obstacles to his rising star; stylish Jackie, emerging from mourning the death of newborn Patrick….[He] excoriates the Secret Service for many bad decisions—e.g., the immediate washing out of the limo and the rush to take JFK’s body back to Washington, D.C., before a proper criminal autopsy was performed, an oversight that would ‘come to haunt the history of John Kennedy’s assassination for the next fifty years.’”

“A master of the form, James Swanson has brought his formidable storytelling skills to bear on another tragic turning point in American history. His treatment of Dallas 1963 is grand narrative at its finest.”
— Jon Meacham

End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (9780062083487) by James L. Swanson. $29.99 hardcover. 11/12/13 one day laydown.

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