I am a self-confessed conspiracy nut, and make no apologies for it. Saying that however, I am an intelligent conspiracy nut – I like to review the evidence and make my own conclusions. Now, we’ve all seen in the last few weeks a flurry of books being hastily released in order to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. Most of these have no merit, and are purely released to garner some money and attention. This is not to say that this book released by LIFE magazine isn’t making money – you still have to pay for it – but I would rather pay for another JFK book by a respected author/collaboration such as LIFE magazine.
Before we get into the review proper, I must warn you that this is a book with media – the original, unedited Zapruder film; it is only downloadable to tablets, Fires, etc… I’m not sure how the DTB edition deals with it.
This book covers events from the emigration of the Kennedy family from Ireland, right up until the horrible day in 1963. We are treated with many previously unseen personal photos, some in colour, some black and white, with a running commentary. As it is told in chronological order, there is a sense of a real narrative here, and it actually makes the read all the more shocking. Like I said above, I am conspiracy/history buff, so I thought I had known pretty much all there was to know about JFK, but I was wrong! LIFE magazine has a reputation for preserving history through photographs and articles, and I learnt a few new interesting things last night.
Due to the linear narrative, when it comes time to watch the Zapruder film, it really does pack quite the punch. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still audibly recoiled and felt a bit sick. This was real life, with real people, and EVERYONE was affected somehow. That is proved in the chapter that collects the “where I was on that day” stories from random people from reporters, to Barbara Streissand, to Bill O’Reily. The Kennedy’s may have been economically out of touch with many Americans, but even when you have staunch republicans, and Russian leaders say that they were dismayed when died, you know that he was someone unique, and someone to look up to.