JFK Assassination Books Online

22 November 1963 : Book and E–Book

22 November 1963: A Brief Guide to the JFK Assassination

22 November 1963: A Brief Guide to the JFK Assassination has recently been published.

It is available from Amazon as a paperback and ebook from only:

How many books have been published about the JFK assassination over the last half a century? Close to one and a half thousand, according to Bowker’s Books in Print, although the precise figure is anyone’s guess. The number of ebooks is much smaller, but is increasing rapidly.

The following list of titles contains links to a selection of online booksellers, and in some cases to the locations of direct downloads. Please bear in mind that paper–based books will occasionally be out of stock, and that the cover designs and the locations linked to may change.

The list is a work in progress. Not every worthwhile book on the JFK assassination is included, and not every included title is recommended. As with any controversial subject, readers should keep an open mind and should actively look for alternative opinions.

JFK Assassination Books and Ebooks

The following titles are available online as hardback or paperback books in English, unless stated otherwise.

Scroll down or click on these links for more information:

John Armstrong: Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald

There are many far–fetched theories about the JFK assassination, but few are as implausible as the one put forward in this book. Two boys, named ‘Harvey’ and ‘Lee’, were chosen by the CIA to be part of an undercover operation, in the hope that when they grew up they would turn out to look sufficiently alike that one could be mistaken for the other, although not so alike that the dastardly plot cannot be unravelled. One boy was born in Texas, and the other in Hungary, where he learned to speak Russian. Each had a mother named Marguerite, one of whom is repeatedly described as “tall, nice–looking,” while the other was “short, dumpy, heavy–set.” In reality, Lee Harvey Oswald was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and had only one mother named Marguerite. Oswald and his mother, like everyone else, changed in appearance over the years, but each was really only one person.

Next to no solid evidence is put forward to support any of this. Subjective interpretations of photographs taken at different times are assumed to provide conclusive proof that Oswald was two different people, and that his mother was two different people. School records indicating that Oswald attended two schools at the same time would suggest to most people that the records are mistaken, but to Armstrong they provide proof that there were two Oswalds. An anonymous phone call claimed that Oswald’s father and uncle were Hungarian communists; this is enough for Armstrong to invent an identity for one of the boys as a Russian–speaking Hungarian.

The book gives the impression of being not so much written as thrown together. It is a poorly argued, disorganised mess. Notes, often of no relevance to the surrounding material, are dumped between paragraphs rather than integrated into the text. Armstrong jumps from topic to topic without warning or any obvious purpose. For example, after several pages discussing the early lives of his imaginary ‘Harvey’ and ‘Lee’, the scene suddenly switches in the middle of page 77 to a discussion of the CIA’s overthrow of foreign governments. Armstrong loses interest in the CIA’s nefarious activities by page 81, when he returns to the two boys for another 20 pages.

The book’s typography reflects the confused thinking behind the book’s central idea. Almost every page contains passages that are highlighted in italic, or in bold face, or by underlining, or a bizarre combination of all three, with no obvious reason why each style was chosen.

Find out more about John Armstrong’s ‘Harvey and Lee’ theory.

John Armstrong: Harvey and Lee

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William Blum: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

Killing Hope is an invaluable source for the political context of the JFK assassination, in particular the Kennedy administration’s treatment of Cuba, south–east Asia and South America.

Extracts from Blum’s book, including his chapter on Cuba, are available online at http://williamblum.org/books/killing-hope, which also contains links to editions of the book in several other languages.

William Blum: Killing Hope

Vincent Bugliosi: Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Including a CD, Reclaiming History is over 2,500 pages long. The central part of Bugliosi’s argument is that neutron activation analysis demonstrates:

  • that all the bullet fragments from Kennedy and the car originated from just two bullets,
  • and that those two bullets were fired from the rifle discovered on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

Hence, it is reasonable to suppose that Lee Harvey Oswald was guilty of the JFK assassination. For more about the book, including links to articles that criticise Bugliosi’s treatment of the NAA evidence, see Fiction, Propaganda and the Media.

Four Days in November, an abridged version of Reclaiming History, is available from Amazon as an ebook (Kindle format).

Vincent Bugliosi: Reclaiming History

G. Paul Chambers: Head Shot: The Science Behind the JFK Assassination

Head Shot deals well with Reclaiming History’s attempt to revive the single–bullet theory. Chambers disposes of two scientific supports for the lone–nut explanation:

  • the speculative notion that Governor Connally’s lapel flap was caused by a bullet which had already wounded President Kennedy;
  • and the so–called ‘jet effect’ explanation for the movement of Kennedy’s head in reaction to the fatal shot.

The book includes a readable overview of the acoustics evidence. Only one important aspect of the scientific evidence is not covered: the neutron activation analysis of Lee Harvey Oswald’s paraffin casts and the bullet fragments.

Commercial publishers often insist for promotional reasons that books about the JFK assassination provide a neat solution to one or other aspect of the case. Such a requirement invariably demands excessive speculation, and diminishes the quality of a book. Head Shot’s unique selling point is Chambers’ identification of the precise type of gun used to fire the fatal head shot.

For more information about the book, see Martin Hay’s detailed review at https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-reviews/chambers-g-paul-head-shot-the-science-behind-the-jfk-assassination, which points out several flaws in Chambers’ account of the medical evidence.

G. Paul Chambers: Head Shot

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Noam Chomsky: Rethinking Camelot: JFK, The Vietnam War, and US Political Culture

Chomsky argues that the Kennedy administration’s military policy toward south–east Asia was more aggressive than later official sources made it out to be. The book is essential background reading for the political context of the assassination.

Noam Chomsky’s opinion of the JFK assassination is that because it was not the result of a high–level conspiracy, it was not a significant political event.

The text of Rethinking Camelot is available online at http://zcomm.org/rethinking-camelot/

Noam Chomsky: Rethinking Camelot

George de Mohrenschildt, ed. Michael Rinella: Lee Harvey Oswald As I Knew Him

Michael Rinella, a professional editor, has taken George de Mohrenschildt’s text, I Am a Patsy!, and added an introductory essay, photographs, excerpts from de Mohrenschildt’s testimony before the Warren Commission, and more than 700 informative endnotes.

De Mohrenschildt, ed. Rinella: Lee Harvey Oswald as I Knew Him

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James DiEugenio: Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba and the Garrison Case

There can be few people more knowledgeable about the JFK assassination than James DiEugenio. The second edition of Destiny Betrayed, published in 2012, makes good use of the evidence released to the public by the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s, after the publication of the first edition of the book. It is one of the essential recent books about the assassination.

The first edition came out at the same time as Oliver Stone’s film, JFK. Like Stone, DiEugenio uses the investigation and trial of Clay Shaw as the central element of his work, and builds around it a strong narrative of the causes and consequences of the assassination.

Destiny Betrayed is particularly useful for its accounts of Lee Oswald’s activities in Louisiana in the summer of 1963, and of the remarkable amount of effort that went into derailing Jim Garrison’s investigation into the New Orleans aspects of the assassination.

James DiEugenio: Destiny Betrayed (2nd edition)

James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, ed.: The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X

A collection of articles from Probe magazine.

DiEugenio and Pease: The Assassinations

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James Douglass: JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

Douglass, a theologian, applies Thomas Merton’s concept of ‘the Unspeakable’ to the political context of the assassination. President Kennedy is depicted as a force for peace, who was eliminated by those who feared that he was likely to change US policy toward Cuba and south–east Asia. Douglass’s interpretation of Kennedy as a saintly, heroic figure is echoed on the front cover of the French edition of the book, which gives Kennedy a halo.

JFK and the Unspeakable’s coverage of the assassination itself, and of Oswald’s career, is comprehensive. It is perhaps too comprehensive; Douglass reports as fact several episodes that may well have happened but which rely on insufficiently corroborated testimony. Some witnesses of dubious credibility, such as Ed Hoffman, are treated uncritically. Nevertheless, the book is well worth reading.

For more about JFK and the Unspeakable, see e.g.:

For more about Douglass, and extracts from JFK and the Unspeakable, see http://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/Unspeakable/. A series of dramatic scripts, based on the book, are available for performance. There appear to be plans to issue the book as a graphic ebook.

Douglass: JFK and the Unspeakable

James Douglass : JFK et l’Indicible: Pourquoi Kennedy a été assassiné

Douglass, un théologien, applique le concept de « l’Indicible », inventé par Thomas Merton, au contexte politique de l’assassinat du président Kennedy. Selon Douglass, Kennedy était une force pour la paix, et on lui a tué pour cette raison. Les ennemis de Kennedy soupçonnaient qu’il avait l’intention de changer les politiques des États–Unis en ce qui concerne Cuba et l’Indochine.

Le livre contient une description pleine de l’assassinat et de la carrière de Lee Harvey Oswald. En plus des faits incontestables qui indiquent un complot, Douglass rapporte plusieurs épisodes qui manquent de la corroboration; par exemple, le compte rendu de Robert Vinson, qui à prétendu qu’il était un passager dans un avion du CIA un peu d’heures après l’assassinat. Selon Vinson, l’avion a atterri en secret à Dallas pour aider un imposteur de Lee Oswald à s’éschapper. Peut–être c’est vrai, mais il n’y a pas d’autres témoins, et Vinson attendait pendant trente ans avant de raconter son histoire. Douglass l’accepte sans poser aucune question.

On peut critiquer l’interprétation politique de Douglass et son attitude aux preuves. Néanmoins, JFK et l’Indicible vaut la peine d’être lu.

Douglass: JFK et l'Indicible

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Barry Ernest: The Girl on the Stairs: The Search for a Missing Witness to the JFK Assassination

Victoria Adams and her colleague Sandra Styles descended the wooden stairs from the fourth floor of the Texas School Book Depository very soon after the assassination. The case against Lee Harvey Oswald required that the alleged assassin was also on the stairs at this time. Adams stated to the Warren Commission that she had not seen or heard anyone else during their descent. Barry Ernest finds evidence that supports her account.

For more about The Girl on the Stairs, see the author’s blog: http://thegirlonthestairs.wordpress.com.

Ernest: The Girl on the Stairs

James Fetzer, ed.: Murder in Dealey Plaza: What We Know Now that We Didn’t Know Then about the Death of JFK

Murder in Dealey Plaza includes two interesting and informative essays on the medical evidence, alongside several less convincing articles arguing that the Zapruder film was a fake.

James Fetzer, ed: Murder in Dealey Plaza

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James Fetzer, ed.: The Great Zapruder Film Hoax: Deceit and Deception in the Death of JFK

An entire book devoted to the proposition that the Zapruder film was a fake. Contributions range from the vaguely respectable to the astonishingly amateurish. A rough paraphrase of one example: “Here is a frame from the Zapruder film, which shows spectators in the background. Here is a still photograph which also shows spectators in the background. The two images were taken from different locations in Dealey Plaza, and probably at different times. The spectators are different. Therefore the Zapruder film has been altered.”

The unintentionally amusing highlight is one contributor’s account of his visit to Dallas. Keeping to the theme that nothing is what it seems, he suggests that what appear to be rain sensors in Dealey Plaza are in fact listening devices, primed to capture the subversive mutterings of tourists on the grassy knoll. And the lamp–posts have been adjusted to mislead anyone who tries to take measurements to prove that the Zapruder film has been altered. And he is followed around Dallas by the secret police, who break into his suitcase to sabotage his shirt and his electric shaver. Or maybe that was the baggage handlers at the airport, but in any event someone is definitely out to get him.

For a sensible discussion of the topic, see Josiah Thompson, ‘Bedrock Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination,’ at www.maryferrell.org. The question of authenticity is dealt with comprehensively in David Wrone: The Zapruder Film.

James Fetzer, ed: The Great Zapruder Film Hoax

Sherry Fiester: Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination

Sherry Fiester, a retired professional crime scene investigator, applies forensic investigative techniques to aspects of JFK’s head wound, such as bevelling and blood spatter.

Sherry Fiester: Enemy of the Truth

Gaeton Fonzi: The Last Investigation

Fonzi, an investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s, cornered David Attlee Philips, of the CIA’s Mexico City station, and almost got Philips to admit having played a role in the impersonation of Oswald in Mexico City.

Gaeton Fonzi: The Last Investigation

Robert Groden: The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald

Groden’s book includes almost every extant photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Robert Groden: The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald

Robert Groden: The Killing of a President

The Killing of a President contains a large number of photographs covering every aspect of the assassination, including the impersonation of Oswald in Mexico City and Oswald’s murder by Jack Ruby. Groden also provides an illustrated, though very speculative, account of which shots came from which location.

Robert Groden: The Killing of a President

Warren Hinckle and William Turner: The Fish is Red: The Story of the Secret War Against Castro

An account of the covert attacks on Cuba under Kennedy.

Hinckle and Turner: The Fish is Red

John Hughes–Wilson: JFK, An American Coup d’Etat: The Truth Behind the Kennedy Assassination

Colonel John Hughes–Wilson is a military historian who writes for several of the main British newspapers and appears on the BBC. Perhaps surprisingly, given these establishment credentials, he recognises that the Warren Commission was merely a public relations exercise and that Oswald had been framed in advance and probably played no active role in the assassination.

The book is an entertaining read, and provides a comprehensive account of a conspiracy that originated within the US establishment. The charge sheet includes all the usual suspects, and more: Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, big business, the mafia and anti–Castro Cubans, as well as the state of Israel.

Hughes–Wilson’s over–inclusive approach extends to the evidence he cites, not all of which is credible. Controversial figures such as Beverly Oliver, Gordon Arnold, James Files and even Norman Similas are taken at their word; the alteration of the Zapruder film is asserted without argument; the three tramps are claimed to be conspirators; and so on. The book concludes with a detailed and highly speculative description, complete with flow–chart, of who did what.

Nevertheless, it is good that someone in Col. Hughes–Wilson’s position is unafraid to point out the obvious facts that contradict the official verdict. Whether he would be permitted to do so on the present–day BBC is another matter.

JFK, An American Coup d’Etat does not contain footnotes or endnotes, although a selection of sources can be found online at www.jfkcoupdetat.wordpress.com.

John Hughes-Wilson: JFK, An American Coup d'Etat

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Henry Hurt: Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Reasonable Doubt is one of the better general introductions to the subject. Hurt deals with all the main questions in a balanced and rational way.

Balanced and rational books about the JFK assassination, however, rarely attract substantial publicity budgets. Presumably for promotional reasons, Hurt’s book contains a supposed confession by one Robert Easterling, whose role was apparently that of Oswald’s getaway driver. Needless to say, anyone who claims to have been involved in the assassination conspiracy can automatically be removed from suspicion. Hurt seems to try to minimise the damage to his book’s credibility by describing Easterling as “a multiple felon, an ex–convict, a raging alcoholic, a diagnosed psychotic and schizophrenic”. Apart from this one absurd chapter, the book is well worth reading.

Hurt: Reasonable Doubt

Michael Kurtz: Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination from a Historian’s Perspective

Michael Kurtz, a professional historian who taught a course on the JFK assassination at Southeastern Louisiana University, has produced a very readable account of the central issues in the JFK assassination. He doubts the official, lone–nut explanation, but seems to favour an idiosyncratic and implausible conspiracy theory in which the assassination was instigated by Fidel Castro and was implemented with the assistance of Santo Trafficante and Carlos Marcello, the mob bosses of Florida and Louisiana respectively.

In his introduction to the second edition of Crime of the Century, Kurtz mentions that when he was a student in New Orleans in 1963, he himself encountered the supposedly left–wing Lee Harvey Oswald in the company of the undoubtedly right–wing Guy Banister on two occasions, one of which involved Banister speaking at length to a group of students: “Bannister [sic; one of several names spelled incorrectly in the book] took what can only be called an extremist right–wing position, vehemently advocating a return to racial segregation, criticizing the students for attending an integrated university, and insisting that the United States launch a full–scale military invasion of Cuba” (p.xxxix). Crime of the Century contains a concise and informative account of Oswald’s political associations in New Orleans in the few months before the assassination. Kurtz concludes that “Oswald’s public image as a pro–Castro Marxist was a façade masking the anti–Castro and anti–Communist agitator beneath” (p.204).

Kurtz: Crime of the Century

David Lifton: Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

David Lifton attempted to resolve some of the problems with the medical evidence by claiming that President Kennedy’s body was surgically altered before the autopsy. Lifton interviewed many of the people involved in JFK’s autopsy, and uncovered some useful information. His conclusion, however, was far–fetched, and was criticised by, among others, Roger Feinman.

It is rare for any of the sober and reasonable critical books on the JFK assassination to get any positive coverage in the media. Best Evidence, in contrast, was awarded a publicity budget of a size normally allocated only to books that promote the Oswald–did–it myth. Perhaps this was because Best Evidence does little to challenge that myth.

The average non–specialist might look at the media’s decision to promote Best Evidence, and assume that Lifton’s bizarre body–alteration notions are a necessary part of the argument against the lone–nut theory: “So they stole Kennedy’s body from Air Force One and no–one noticed? And they got some surgeons to alter his wounds and the pathologists didn’t notice? And who are ‘they’, anyway? Hmm. Maybe Oswald did it after all.”

David Lifton: Best Evidence

Gerald McKnight: Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why

Breach of Trust is a comprehensive and scholarly account of the formation of the Warren Commission and the manner in which it fulfilled its pre–determined conclusions. McKnight provides an excellent critique of the single–bullet theory and the role of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI in the cover–up.

Breach of Trust is perhaps the best book written on the JFK assassination since the work of the earliest critics in the 1960s, and is an essential item for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.

Gerald McKnight: Breach of Trust

Sylvia Meagher: Accessories After the Fact: The Warren Commission, the Authorities, and the Report

Meagher took the trouble to do what the Warren Report’s reviewers in the media failed to do: she questioned the case against Lee Harvey Oswald by checking the report’s conclusions against the evidence on which they were supposedly based. Senator Richard Schweiker wrote a preface to the reissue of Accessories After the Fact, in which he called the book “by far the most meticulous and compelling indictment of the Warren Commission Report.”

Although a good deal of evidence has come to light since Accessories After the Fact was written, the book remains one of the best general accounts of the subject. It has recently been reissued by the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

Sylvia Meagher: Accessories After the Fact

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Bonar Menninger: Mortal Error: The Shot that Killed JFK

Menninger, a journalist, reports the claims of a ballistics expert that President Kennedy was killed accidentally by a Secret Service agent in the car behind him. The thesis is plainly wrong, for reasons given in Fiction, Propaganda and the Media, but the book contains useful information on the ballistics evidence.

Bonar Menninger: Mortal Error

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Jefferson Morley: Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA

Winston Scott was the chief of the CIA’s station in Mexico City during Lee Harvey Oswald’s apparent visit about seven weeks before the JFK assassination.

Morley: Our Man in Mexico

Jefferson Morley: Nuestro Hombre en México: Winston Scott y la historia oculta de la CIA

Winston Scott estaba el jefe de la oficina del CIA en Ciudad de México durante la visita de Lee Harvey Oswald unas siete semanas antes del asesinato del presidente Kennedy.

Morley: Nuestro Hombre en Mexico

John Newman: JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue and the Struggle for Power

Newman argues that President Kennedy had planned to withdraw US troops from Vietnam.

John Newman: JFK and Vietnam

John Newman: Oswald and the CIA

In one of the essential books on the JFK assassination, Newman describes the CIA’s long–standing interest in Lee Harvey Oswald, and documents the pivotal event that provoked the cover–up: the impersonation of Oswald in Mexico City in late September and early October 1963.

John Newman: Oswald and the CIA

Gerald Posner: Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

Case Closed, like the Warren Report, is essentially a hatchet job on the character of Lee Harvey Oswald. Like the Report, the book was praised by reviewers in the media, few of whom bothered to check Posner’s claims.

See Fiction, Propaganda and the Media for the reactions of informed critics, who pointed out serious problems with large parts of Case Closed, and for accusations of plagiarism against Posner. For a stunning example of Posner’s misrepresentation of the evidence, see Did Oswald Carry a Bag of Curtain Rods to Work?

Sadly, Case Closed is not the worst book ever published on the JFK assassination.

Gerald Posner: Case Closed

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Stephen Rabe: The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America

During the Kennedy presidency, elite interests considered Latin America more important than south–east Asia. Rabe analyses policy using conventional assumptions.

Stephen Rabe: The Most Dangerous Area

Howard Roffman: Presumed Guilty: How and Why the Warren Commission Framed Lee Harvey Oswald

Roffman made use of the first batch of declassified documents. Presumed Guilty is not well known, despite being one of the most powerful critiques of the Warren Commission’s case against Lee Harvey Oswald

The book is only available second–hand, when it can be found at all. The text is available online at http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/PG/.

Howard Roffman: Presumed Guilty

Peter Dale Scott: Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

Scott was the first writer to explain in detail the importance of Lee Harvey Oswald’s impersonation in Mexico City in late September and early October 1963: how it prompted what Scott calls the ‘phase one’ myth, that Oswald was a communist sympathiser, a false story that was later replaced for practical, political reasons by the ‘phase two’ myth, that Oswald was a lone assassin.

Deep Politics and the Death of JFK argues that Kennedy intended to withdraw US troops from Vietnam, and that this was part of the reason for his assassination. The book also includes a good deal of information contradicting the Warren Commission’s claim that Jack Ruby had no significant connections to the world of organised crime.

Peter Dale Scott: Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

Peter Dale Scott: Oswald, Mexico, and Deep Politics: Revelations from CIA Records on the Assassination of JFK

In this collection of essays, which has also been published as Deep Politics II: Essays on Oswald, Mexico and Cuba, Scott concentrates on Oswald’s apparent journey to Mexico City, and demonstrates that the episode was an integral part of the assassination.

Peter Dale Scott: Oswald, Mexico and Deep Politics

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Bill Simpich: State Secret: Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald

Bill Simpich’s State Secret: Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald provides a great deal of useful background to the impersonation of Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City, the event which made the lone–nut hypothesis the only politically acceptable solution to the assassination.

Simpich describes how the CIA’s response to the assassination was constrained by Oswald’s association with two of the Agency’s secret activities:

  • the mole–hunting activities of James Angleton’s Special Investigations Group, which used Oswald as bait in an attempt to identify Soviet or Cuban infiltration of the CIA;
  • and the telephone tapping operation against the Soviet and Cuban diplomatic buildings in Mexico City, which revealed Oswald’s impersonation.

State Secret was published in HTML format in late 2013, and is available free of charge at the www.maryferrell.org website.

The book is essential reading for anyone interested in the institutional response to the assassination, not least because it contains copious links to primary documents hosted on the Mary Ferrell website. One minor criticism might be that the links to uninformative URLs like http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?absPageId=14131 would benefit from the use of the title element. To see the difference, hover over this link: http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?absPageId=14131.

Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar: JFK: The Book of the Film

As well as the annotated screenplay of Oliver Stone’s movie, JFK, the book includes a large number of newspaper and magazine articles about the film. Many of the articles are critical of Stone and his work, and illustrate the unusual amount of hostility directed at JFK. For more about the media campaign against the film, see Fiction, Propaganda and the Media.

Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar: JFK the Book of the Film

Anthony Summers: Not in Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK

This book by the investigative reporter, Anthony Summers, was first published in 1980 under the title Conspiracy, and later as The Kennedy Conspiracy. It was revised in 1998 under its current title, and has been rewritten to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination.

Each edition of the book has been worth reading. Summers is a fluent writer, and gives a fair account of all the important issues to do with the assassination.

Like many books on this subject that are aimed at a mass market, Not in Your Lifetime proposes a candidate for the role of assassin. Earlier editions described a journalist’s attempt to show that a Corsican gangster, Lucien Sarti, was one of the gunmen. The 2013 edition discards Sarti and instead mentions a second–hand account that names a Cuban killer, Herminio Díaz García.

Anthony Summers: Not in Your Lifetime

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Josiah Thompson: Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro–Study of the Kennedy Assassination

One of the most influential of the early critiques of the Warren Report. Like several of its contemporaries, Six Seconds in Dallas is now a collector’s item. Second–hand copies tend to be expensive.

Josiah Thompson: Six Seconds in Dallas

Richard Trask: Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the Assassination of President Kennedy

Pictures of the Pain contains a large number of images from professional and amateur photographers in Dealey Plaza. Trask’s book provides a good deal of informative context for the photographs, often as a result of personal interviews with the photographers. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the photographic record of the assassination.

The book does not promote a particular interpretation of the assassination. Although Trask has an opinion on the question of Lee Oswald’s guilt or innocence, he does not force his opinion onto his readers. Unlike many authors on both sides of the conspiracy versus lone nut issue, Richard Trask has the honesty to present evidence that contradicts his personal opinion.

Pictures of the Pain, despite being self–published, is produced to a higher standard than many professionally published books.

Richard Trask: Pictures of the Pain

Richard Walton: Cold War and Counter–Revolution: The Foreign Policy of John F. Kennedy

Walton argues that Kennedy’s foreign policy followed the standard pattern, and that JFK was not likely to have withdrawn troops unilaterally from Vietnam.

Richard Walton: Cold War and Counter-Revolution

Harold Weisberg: Case Open: The Omissions, Distortions and Falsifications of Case Closed

Weisberg’s critique of Posner’s Case Closed. Weisberg, like almost all well–informed critics, found numerous faults with Posner’s book.

Harold Weisberg: Case Open

Harold Weisberg: Never Again

Weisberg’s is still one of the best accounts of the problems with the medical evidence.

Harold Weisberg: Never Again

David Wrone: The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK’s Assassination

Wrone has written the definitive account of the Zapruder film: its history, its muddled ownership, and its evidentiary role in refuting the case against Oswald as a lone assassin. Wrone also provides a sturdy rebuttal of the theory that the Zapruder film has been altered, as suggested by e.g. James Fetzer, ed.: The Great Zapruder Film Hoax.

Some of Wrone’s detailed claims about the assassination are less sturdy. He proposes that JFK’s throat and back wounds may have been caused by a shot from the front that passed through his body, and he suggests that James Altgens’s famous photograph shows Lee Oswald on the steps of the TSBD during the shooting.

David Wrone: The Zapruder Film; Reframing JFK's Assassination

Barbie Zelizer: Covering the Body: The Kennedy Assassination, the Media, and the Shaping of Collective Memory

An interesting account of how insititutional constraints influenced the media’s coverage of the assassination and the aftermath.

Barbie Zelizer: Covering the Body

By the Same Author

22 November 1963: A Brief Guide to the JFK Assassination

Whether you are an expert or a beginner, you will find your questions answered in the essential JFK assassination book!

22 November 1963: A Brief Guide to the JFK Assassination is available from Amazon as a paperback and an ebook. To find out more about the book, visit the book’s page on your local Amazon website:

JFK Books

Originally, this list contained only books referred to in the main part of this website. Others have since been added. A handful of these books deal with the media coverage or the political context of the assassination, and do not have anything substantial to say about the assassination itself.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation website contains extracts from several of the books listed on this page.

Several out–of–print JFK assassination books are available as PDF downloads from http://www.pdfrestore.tk/. A donation via PayPal is appreciated in return.


Links have been given to a number of online bookshops. At the time of writing, all the links work, but of course there is no guarantee that they will continue to work.

Links are generally given to websites accessible to UK–based customers. In the case of Amazon and its associated companies, a .uk domain will usually resolve to the appropriate version for the visitor’s location.


Not all booksellers and publishers serve every region. The Hive Network, for example, only sells within the European Union.

The Last Hurrah

The most comprehensive selection of books related to JFK’s assassination and presidency is probably that of The Last Hurrah Bookshop, which has only an intermittent web presence. Its contact details are:

  • 937 Memorial Avenue
    PA 17701–4754
  • Phone: 570–321–1150


Some readers may want to bear in mind that not all online bookshops are independent of the main companies. Abe Books, Alibris, and The Book Depository, for example, are all owned by Amazon.

Ebook Formats

Ebooks come in a variety of formats. Not all ebooks can be read by every type of ebook device or software, and not all ebook devices or software can read every type of ebook.

The main offender at the time of writing is the Amazon Kindle, a device which has been deliberately crippled and is able to read only Amazon’s proprietary ebook formats. Fortunately, it is possible to mend the Kindle and enable it to read the open EPUB format like almost every other ebook reader.

The existence of proprietary formats also means that ebooks created in any of the four Amazon Kindle formats cannot easily be read by other types of software. Of course, there are ways around these restrictions for those who want to find them.

At the time of writing, Barnes and Noble’s website does not mention the format in which its ebooks are published, nor which formats are compatible with its Nook ebook reader. Other sources suggest that it uses EPUB, albeit with Digital Restrictions Management, which ensures that ebooks sold by Barnes and Noble can only be read on a Barnes and Noble device.

Apprentice Alf’s blog provides a guide to ebook formats and DRM.

Ebooks and Ebook Readers

Several programs allow ebooks in the EPUB format to be read on desktop and laptop computers. All of the following ebook reader software is free of charge:

  • EPUB Reader, an extension for the Firefox web browser.
  • Calibre works on all operating systems, and includes the ability to organise a library of ebooks and to convert documents between several formats.
  • Adobe Digital Editions, available for Windows and Macintosh only, contains a comprehensive range of features, and works with programs such as JAWS, for those with impaired vision. There are, however, two problems with Adobe Digital Editions: the program requires registration, and hence the loss of anonymity; and installing the program requires the use of Adobe’s Flash software, which is insecure.
  • FBReader works on almost every desktop, laptop and mobile operating system.

You should be aware that because the ebook specifications are still at an early stage of development and implementation, not every layout feature is rendered correctly by every ebook reader.

More information about ebooks and e–readers:

22 November 1963 : The Essential JFK Assassination Book

22 November 1963: A Brief Guide to the JFK Assassination

Experts and beginners alike will benefit from the essential book on the JFK assassination:

  • a readable and critical account of the central questions;
  • detailed analysis of important topics;
  • fully referenced: over 400 footnotes;
  • available as a paperback and ebook.

Find Out About

  • Lee Harvey Oswald — lone assassin, conspirator or patsy?
  • Oswald’s longstanding links to US intelligence agencies;
  • Oswald’s visit to Mexico City a few weeks before the assassination — the crucial event which caused the Warren Commission to be set up;
  • the official investigations — and why their answers are not widely believed;
  • the medical evidence — the reason why the case remains controversial;
  • the political context of the JFK assassination;
  • and the pros and cons of the main theories associated with the event.

Praise for 22 November 1963

“A must read for any serious JFK researcher … well written, comprehensive and concise.”
Bob, NJ on Amazon.com

“The single best book on the assassination … by far the clearest and most concise examination of the topic … If you were to read only one book on the assassination, this would have to be the one.”
T. Pool on Amazon.com

“Excellent. Factual, precise and clearly written. A really great introduction to the complexities of this case.”
Francis on Amazon.co.uk

More Information

To find out more, visit the book’s page on your local Amazon website:


These are the publisher’s prices for the ebook (e) and paperback (pb):

Ebook: EPUB Format

Suitable for virtually all non–Kindle ebook–reading devices and software.

Payment (to Lab 99 / Boxgrove Publishing) is handled securely by PayPal:

Free Sample Download

Sample chapters are available for download free of charge (PDF, 270 KB).

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22 November 1963

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