Start reading A Cruel and Shocking Act on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration
Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination [Kindle Edition]

Philip Shenon
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $22.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $12.01 (55%)
Sold by: Macmillan
This price was set by the publisher

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $12.99 when you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Hardcover $21.99  
Paperback $16.74  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $29.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged $31.99  
Madam Ambassador by Eleni Kounalakis
Madam Ambassador by Eleni Kounalakis
A cross between a foreign policy memoir and an inspiring personal family story, Madam Ambassador draws back the curtain on what it is like to represent the U.S. government abroad as well as how American embassies around the world function. Learn more | See similar books

Book Description

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

Editorial Reviews


With meticulous rigour and the sure-handed storytelling of a gifted thriller writer ... Shenon's careful delineation of the limits of the facts is more necessary than ever Metro A masterful piece of modern history Independent Compelling Sunday Times

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.

Robert Petkoff has won multiple AudioFile Earphones awards for his acclaimed narrations. He was named Best Voice of Fiction & Classics for his reading of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale. His other narration credits include Oath of Office by Michael Palmer, Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman, and books by David Foster Wallace.

Product Details

  • File Size: 9702 KB
  • Print Length: 641 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408705338
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (October 29, 2013)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DVE484G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,583 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
155 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cruel And Shocking Act by Philip Shenon October 29, 2013
I received an advance copy of this book about a week ago, and due to work constraints was unable to start on it until two days ago. I just finished this book this morning, literally having trouble setting it aside, and in my estimation, it will likely be one of the few significant contributions to the assassination literature published this year.

It should be stated that this is NOT a book promoting any alternative theory, or seeking a dialogue regarding the plausibility of the theories in existence, or even a book written by someone who places much faith in such claims-the book instead is an examination of the Warren Commission and how those proceedings helped to guarantee the flourishing conspiracy culture.

Shenon's judgment is that the Warren Commission was flawed from the start, but not because the commissioners or the staff themselves were part of a conspiracy to bury the truth. Rather, Shenon makes a case for information being buried out of selfish consideration by the top echelons of the FBI and CIA, men like J. Edgar Hoover and James Jesus Angleton, who put pride and reputation of themselves, their colleagues, and the then undiminished reputations of their agencies above full disclosure. And none of the information buried was indicative of the FBI or CIA being any part of the assassination, but rather their knowledge of Oswald beforehand and their dereliction in ensuring the information was properly disseminated to other agencies (i.e. the infamous destruction of a note, delivered to the Dallas FBI by Oswald in November 1963, or information the CIA held in its possession re: Oswald rubbing shoulders in Mexico City with Cuban embassy personnel or Cuban intelligence are notable examples of information suppressed by these agencies when confronted by the Commission).
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
By jwt0001
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In some ways Shenon's book builds on some of the previous studies that critiqued the Warren Commission investigation. While Shenon definitely supports their final conclusions, he clearly shows that the commission was hampered in many ways. Starting with Earl Warren's decision not to let any commission lawyer view the autopsy photos and x-rays to the lack of work from many of the commissioners as well as lawyers hired to perform the work, Shenon shows some of the reasons why the Warren Report became so subject to disbelief.
Unfortunately, Shenon's clear agreement with the lack of conspiracy will hurt his credibility with the conspiracy theorists, who believe that anyone who doesn't believe in a conspiracy is an accomplice to the coverup. I have reviewed a number of the books published as we approach the 50th anniversary of the assassination and Shenon's is the only one who has presented any new information. While I'm sure that some of the stories have appeared in other sources, he did a great job of bringing together the details. Please read it with an open mind!
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better. December 9, 2013
Deceptively subtitled. Should be subtitled - The Secret History of the Warren Commission Investigation. Also, I have a few issues with errors in the book. I caught significant ones (Author stated the backyard photos were taken in New Orleans when they were taken in Dallas. Author stated the rifle was found inches from the snipers perch when it was found at the opposite end of the building near the stairs.). Makes me question what else might be misstated or wrong. Over all a good overview of the operation of the Warren Commission.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
I read the Dutch version because it was the first I could put my hand on. The subtitle was translated into "the final history" (de definitieve geschiedenis) and then in very small print "of the investigation". This translation is more accurate than the original subtitle: the secret history of the "Kennedy Assassination". But on the other hand, the main title in Dutch was "Anatomy of an assault" (Anatomie van een aanslag) which is even more misleasing than the original "A cruel and shocking act". Focus of the book is indeed not -repeat NOT- on the assassination but on the Warren Commission. This is an interesting subject, and the author interviewed the last surviving actors in this drama. Bravo. But most of it is already said and written, by Epstein (Inquest), McKnight (Breach of trust), Walt Brown (Warren Ommission), and many others. When it comes to the facts of the assassination Shenon sounds very bugliosic. A self-satisfied explanation for all the mistakes and mysteries, and great silence about important inconvenient facts. The narrative follows what the protagonists, e.g. junior counsel Arlen Specter, did and knew at that time, early 1964. This makes it easy for the author to avoid problematic matters. I give some examples. Belin ran down the stairs, and concluded it was possible to reach the second floor in time to meet Baker. At that moment Belin was not aware of the supplementary problem with Vicki Adams and Sandra Styles. So Shenon does not have to talk about it. Marina is heard by the Commission and quoted ".." in the book. But then Shenon takes over the narrative and declares what Oswald alledgedly did (e.g. take the gun out of Mrs. Paine's garage). Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed. Reinforces my belief that we did not ...
Very detailed. Reinforces my belief that we did not get ALL the truth.
Published 4 days ago by Peter G. Nylander
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much has remained secret over the years
Not much as remained secret. Good inside detail but lacks punch. The high drama opening doesn't carry the story which ends with a thud. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars great buy
Worth the money-and as described.
Published 12 days ago by Ronnie L. Bunch
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 17 days ago by Jose D. Rivas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great. Read
Very good telling of the story of the Warren Commission I still believe Oswald acted alone, but less sure others were not involved!!.
Published 17 days ago by Bob Jakeway
5.0 out of 5 stars So enjoy reading any book that has insight 2 one of ...
So enjoy reading any book that has insight 2 one of the Most important events in the 60's!!! My Teenage years!
Published 29 days ago by Yvonne Bacon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Keeper!
Unwinds like superb novel and grabs you attention like no other recent JFK assassination book. The insight on the Warren Commission is particularly intriguing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Donald Fulsom
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Lots of details carefully arranged for clear presentation
Excellent. Lots of details carefully arranged for clear presentation. Best I have read on the subject in years!
Published 1 month ago by Tommie F. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, The Truth For A Change!!!
Ever since the tragedy of JFK's assassination, I was suspecting involvement on the part of Cuba..Shenon, confirmed my suspicions with his factual account that proves the Warren... Read more
Published 1 month ago by John C. Strassner
5.0 out of 5 stars the book was in good
very interesting. well written. the book was in good shape
Published 1 month ago by michelle heimgartner
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category