Title: Famous Assassinations
Author: Sarah Herman
Page Count: N/A
Publishing Date/Publisher: Nov. 9th, 2018
Review: There have been a great number of assassinations in human history, and Sarah Herman describes a good deal of them. She separated them by time period and job type (royalty, president, dictator, etc.), taking us from the Roman Empire to Bin Laden.
Each main assassination is broken down into victim, assassination, assassin, and aftermath (or some amalgamation of the sort), making it a relatively quick read, as well as being very organised.
Herman writes very academically, while still being easily read by the public, which is a rare skill. I highly recommend this to anyone at all curious about the history of assassinations.
Title: End of Days, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Author: James Swanson
Page Count: 398
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2013, William Morrow
Format: Printed, paperback
Review: ‘Does this guy only write about assassinations?’ my coworker asked when I told him about James L. Swanson’s books. And yes, yes he does. And he does it well. End of Days is a compelling read and had me on the edge of my seat despite knowing what happened. I grew up hearing about JFK’s assassination from my parents and later in documentaries but this is the first book I sought out to explain it. That’s probably because I loved Swanson’s book on Lincoln’s assassination (review for Manhunt), so I already knew his writing style and the level of research he puts into his work (which is a lot, by the way).
Much like his book on Lincoln, he wrote this full of historical facts but made it so it read like a novel. You don’t find yourself inundated with a bunch of dates and names; instead, he integrates it all into the narrative so smoothly.
I highly recommend this book, and one of the biggest pluses for me is that it doesn’t go into any of the conspiracy theories. He mentions some of them at the end, but only to acknowledge that they exist. I thought that was a good call on his part.
Title: The Assassination of Robert. F. Kennedy
Author: Tim Tate and Brad Johnson
Page Count: 352
Publishing Date/Publisher: June 2018, Thistle Publishing
Review: This was a very fascinating read. Tim Tate and Brad Johnson clearly put so much time and research into it and while it sometimes gets a little bogged down with the details, it is always clear that they are so passionate about this topic. Their explanation of the events that took place on the night of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy is very plausible- I would say I completely believe it, but I want to read more about it before being absolutely sure. I try not to form my opinions on just one book/article and their arguments are clearly formed and back by facts and data, it’s just that in this day and age we need to be careful of what we believe straight off the bat. I will definitely read more about this in the future.
The one main downside to the book is that it really leads the reader into what they want them to think, rather than letting the facts fend for themselves. This was clear from the onset, with the blurb on the cover stating what they believed and planned on showing, so it wasn’t a big betrayal or anything like that, it just would have been nice to arrive at the end conclusion by myself instead of having my hand held.
Title: Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer
Author: James L. Swanson
Page Count: 442
Publishing Date/Publisher: January 2007, Piatkus Books
Review: This book was thoroughly researched and extraordinarily put together. Swanson was able to detail the assassination of Abraham Lincoln to the minute, putting the reader in the heart of the terror. Even though I knew what happened, and that Lincoln obviously died, my heart still pounded in my chest reading the lead up to that pivotal moment in American history.
Before I read this book, I thought I knew a good amount about the assassination. As soon as I started reading I knew I was wrong. I had a bit of knowledge about the other attempts during that night after watching a short documentary on it, but the level of detail, as mentioned before, was so astounding that I realized how much I didn’t know. Thankfully, Swanson filled in the gaps and now when I talk about it with friends (grad students have weird conversations, just… accept this), I get oddly passionate about it. Which is sad, but I’m with like-minded people who don’t judge me (too much).
Bottom line: it’s an easy read, one that flows like a novel, makes the facts easy to digest, and captures the reader from the first page. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.