A New Book on JFK Is Coming on the 50th Anniversary of His Assassination

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Phillip Shenon, a former New York Times reporter and author of The Commission, an acclaimed and critical look at the 9/11 Commission Report, has promised us a new book that claims that "powerful" people had influenced the Warren Commission's investigation and final conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing John F. Kennedy. The details of who exactly these "powerful" people are and what their full involvement in tampering with the Warren Commission is remains scant, but Shenon's credentials are a good reason to be excited about his book, which is coming from Little, Brown on October 22.

At The New York Times Shenon covered topics like the FBI, domestic terrorism, and the goings-on at the Justice Department. Most notably, he wrote The Commission in 2008, a scathing look into the 9/11 Commission Report. If that book can give us any clues into his JFK dissection, it's that it won't be a blaring conspiracy theory, but rather a more clinical and subtle dissection of the Warren Commission. At the very least, it's a good bet it's going to be a more sober book than conservative TV figure Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Kennedy."

The Bookseller, borrowing from Little, Brown's description of the book, provides the following details:

Drawn from years of research and interviews with "primary and insider sources", the book looks at the work of the Warren Commission, which sought to determine whether killer Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and is said to answer "many of the questions that have haunted a nation for 50 years, in spite of the powerful individuals who did their utmost to prevent the discovery of what really happened.

Books about JFK are about as popular as those about Lincoln. The question is whether they say anything new. The last relevant entry into JFK lit was by Mimi Alford, a White House intern who slept with JFK. That book, published last year, was called Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath.

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Reviewing several books about JFK and his wife Jackie in The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan wrote last year:

John Kennedy was the kind of guy who could get his PT boat rammed in half by a Japanese destroyer, losing two of his men, and end up not with a court-martial but with a medal. He was a winner, and we like winners. He’ll get out of every scrape history can serve up. All the aging hookers and cast-aside girlfriends with book contracts better take notice: We don’t care about you. JFK is more important to us than you can ever be, so you might as well keep quiet. The cause endures, sweetheart. The hope still lives. And the dream will never die. 

Shenon's book will be published shortly before the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.