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Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassinationby Philip Shenon
Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking, explosive account of the Kennedy assassination that will rewrite the history of the 20th century's most controversial murder investigation
The questions have haunted our nation for half a century: Was the President killed by a single gunman? Was Lee Harvey Oswald part of a conspiracy? Did the Warren Commission discover the whole truth of what happened on November 22, 1963?
Philip Shenon, a veteran investigative journalist who spent most of his career at The New York Times, finally provides many of the answers. Though A Cruel and Shocking Act began as Shenon's attempt to write the first insider's history of the Warren Commission, it quickly became something much larger and more important when he discovered startling information that was withheld from the Warren Commission by the CIA, FBI and others in power in Washington. Shenon shows how the commission's ten-month investigation was doomed to fail because the man leading it - Chief Justice Earl Warren - was more committed to protecting the Kennedy family than getting to the full truth about what happened on that tragic day. A taut, page-turning narrative, Shenon's book features some of the most compelling figures of the twentieth century—Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, Chief Justice Warren, CIA spymasters Allen Dulles and Richard Helms, as well as the CIA's treacherous “molehunter,” James Jesus Angleton.
Based on hundreds of interviews and unprecedented access to the surviving commission staffers and many other key players, Philip Shenon's authoritative, scrupulously researched book will forever change the way we think about the Kennedy assassination and about the deeply flawed investigation that followed.
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2013
"This sober and powerful book, in spite of its headline-grabbing subtitle, is more a secret history of the Warren Commission than a secret history of the J.F.K. assassination itself. As in his The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, Shenon, a former New York Times reporter, affords the reader access to the behind-the-scenes deliberations and dynamics that shaped a historic inquiry into a national trauma. Positive word about Shenon's first book prompted a prominent lawyer — who had been a young investigator on the Warren Commission — to ask Shenon to tell the story of the commission's staff, 'the then young lawyers who did the actual detective work in 1964.' The result is likely to frustrate both those who are adamant that a conspiracy was behind the killing, and those convinced that the Warren Commission got everything right. Shenon successfully portrays the unethical approach of the most prominent early conspiracy theorist, Mark Lane, and rigorously avoids speculating beyond what the evidence demonstrates. But the combination of destroyed records, unpursued investigative leads, and lies by senior government officials — 'most especially at the CIA' — will leave most reasonable readers unsettled as to whether the truth has yet been discovered. Maps and photos. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Groundbreaking new history of the Kennedy assassination
Investigative reporter and bestselling author Phil Shenon writes the ultimate inside account of what has become the most controversial murder investigation of the 20th century, the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Based on groundbreaking research, deep reporting, and unprecedented access, the book is character driven, dialogue rich, with facts and incidents that will stun and surprise.
About the Author
Philip Shenon, the bestselling author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, was a reporter for The New York Times for more than twenty years. As a Washington correspondent for The Times, he covered the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the State Department. He lives and writes in Washington, DC.
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