Sunday, November 24, 2013

Five essential JFK assassination books

At The Daily Beast, Allen Barra shared his list of the only five books written about JFK’s death that count. One entry on the list:
by Don DeLillo

In an author’s note at the end of Libra, Don DeLillo writes that he has made “No attempt to furnish factual answers to any questions raised by the assassination.” In other words, this is a novel and does not purport to solve any of the myriad mysteries surrounding the killing of JFK. But as a novel, Libra can go places where fact cannot go.

Published close to the 25th anniversary of the assassination, DeLillo, starting from the know facts available from the Warren Commission’s report, court records and newspaper and magazine investigations, creates interior voices for the principal characters. He arrives at an explanation for the killing of the President far different from the official one presented by the Warren Commission, but one which ultimately depend on conspiracy.

Anne Tyler, reviewing Libra for the New York Times, wrote, “Lee Harvey Oswald has always seemed both much-too-familiar (his rabbity, weak-jawed face staring out of the grimmer sections of every city in America) and endlessly mysterious. To Mr. DeLillo’s credit, that ambiguity is kept alive in Libra. It may even be heightened, because the portrait is so intimate—Oswald washing dishes, Oswald playing with his baby, Oswald cuffing his wife—and he still manages from time to time to surprise us. Oswald is a loser, a loner, pathetic and self-aggrandizing, one of those people who seize crazily upon the significance of every insignificant coincidence…”

Libra, then, is a painstakingly in-depth portrait of a shallow man who changed the world and the chaos that followed in his wake.
Read about the other books on the list.

Libra is one of Joseph Finder's five best books on political conspiracy.

Also see: Three essential books on the Kennedy assassination.

--Marshal Zeringue