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The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Hardcover – September 24, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545490073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545490078
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up–Swanson's title reads like a thriller, with intense pacing and an engaging narrative. The event is not depicted as dry, textbook history, but rather as a horrifying and shocking crime. Full- and double-page photographs of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, and stills from the famous Zapruder film–which captured the assassination in real time–breathe emotion into the work. Kennedy's and Oswald's backgrounds are illuminated as the narrative descends toward their tragic connection. A well-illustrated map of Dealey Plaza detailing the President's route clarifies the position of relevant buildings and features at the time of the assassination. This book is graphic with respect to both images and verbage. Swanson provides a compelling case for Oswald as a lone gunman, arguing against the various and popular conspiracy theories. A diagram of the infamous “magic bullet” illustrates how a single bullet could cause multiple wounds for both JFK and Governor Connally. Despite the great number of books on Kennedy's assassination, this volume stands out for its gripping storytelling style and photographic documentation.–Jeffrey Meyer, Mount Pleasant Public Library, IAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Historian Swanson, who focused on Abraham Lincoln in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer (2009) and Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis (2011), introduces the man who became the youngest president in American history. The narrative text highlights John F. Kennedy’s naval career, abbreviated presidential term, and his courtship and family life with Jacqueline Bouvier. Swanson balances this coverage of the former president with a profile of Lee Harvey Oswald as well as a dramatic account of Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. Swanson makes clear that he agrees with the Warren Commission that Oswald was the lone gunman, and he spells out his disdain for conspiracy theories. Pair this title with O’Reilly’s Kennedy’s Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America (2012), which posits that there was a “mysterious figure who some thought was Oswald’s CIA handler.” Archival photographs, explicit diagrams of the assassination scene, source notes, and a bibliography that includes conspiracy-focused literature add further value to this strong addition to Kennedy titles. Grades 6-10. --Gail Bush

Customer Reviews

In fact, I like it better than the adult books I have read on the subject.
Penny Thoughtful
One thing I can tell you is; I wish I had this book at my side while I was reading the other books.
Suzanne Lay
The book contains numerous photos so a reader isn't intimidated by page after page of only words.
Bill Emblom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heidi G on March 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Appropriate for grades 7-12, this wonderful book has lots of appeal for teen readers--short chapters, plenty of photographs, and easy-to-read maps that help tell the fascinating story. The majority of the book relates details of those four days in November 1963 when panic and uncertainty were the norms for many Americans. The placement of black-and-white photos, from the well-known shots of John, Jr. saluting his father's casket and of the fatal shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald to a series of photographs taken quickly in succession after JFK was shot, go a long way in giving readers an understanding of the events of the day. Noteworthy is the "Diagrams, Photos, and Illustrations" section at the end of the book; so too are the source notes for each section. Simply superb!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stuart D. Walker on May 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written. Swiftly written. Has great pictures. Essentially a book written as a reporter would write history. Puts it all together. Probably not a book for conspiracy theorists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ligia Glass on May 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book very much. It did not surprise me because I like Mr. Swanson's writings. I love American history and his writings on Lincoln and now Kennedy are very easy to read, very interesting, and keeps you wanting "more". I could not put this book down. I read some facts that I did not know about the assassination of President Kennedy. I highly recommend this book and this author. He has passion for what he writes making the reader feel that passion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Twain on January 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"The President Has Been Shot!" is an exciting "you are there" narrative based on meticulous research that transports young readers back in time to one of the most terrible days in American history. It is absorbing, heartbreaking, and thrilling. it is as good or even better than Swanson's classic "Chasing Lincoln's Killer."

John F. Kennedy is a stranger to most of the Y/A audience, and Swanson does an excellent job introducing JFK and Jackie to younger generations. The focus of the book is, of course, the assassination, and it offers an account of November 22, 1963 written with a wonderful, minute-by-minute, ticking clock pace. But Swanson also covers much more than the death of the president, placing it in context by bringing to life a lost world and optimism of 1960s America, the Cold War, JFKs "New Frontier," the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, civil rights, the space race, JFK's Berlin speech, the creation of the legend of Camelot and more. The result allows readers to come to know and care about the Kennedys before accompanying the First Family on that fatal trip to Texas in the fall of 1963.

The combination of vivid prose plus unforgettable photos, amazing diagrams (the three-dimensional illustrations of the Texas School Book Depository and Dealey Plaza are incredible and very helpful), easy to understand maps, plus impressive source notes and a bibliographic essay make "The President Has Been Shot!" not only one of the best written but also best looking books of YA nonfiction I've ever seen, on par with Sheinken's "The Bomb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Veritas on December 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
With a masterful narrative, James Swanson, once again has triumphed - this time introducing the young adult reader to the Kennedy Presidency and his assassination. He provides a wonderful introduction to the life and Administration on JFK – about half the book – and a compelling account of the events surrounding his assassination.

It is a difficult task to capture this subject matter in a few hundred pages. But Swanson has succeeded. Rather than dive into the murky waters of the numerous unsubstantiated and contradictory conspiracy theories, he has provided a factual account of the events surrounding the death of a President. But he also provides the young adult reader numerous source notes and a bibliography to explore the assassination further, and encourages his audience to investigate the myriad of conspiracy books that Swanson acknowledges, but dismisses.

Of the more than 30 children and young adult books on the JFK assassination, this is by far the best account. The choice of the many illustrations, drawings, and photographs provides the reader with additional valuable information, and are clearly inspired by a talented writer of non-fiction historical texts. The fact this book has been chosen as one of the five finalists for 2014 award in non-fiction by the Young Adult Library Services Association (a division of the American Library Association) says it all! This should be on the recommended reading list for any young adult who would like to learn about JFK’s life and death.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on November 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As author James Swanson did with his book entitled Manhunt on the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln he has now written an account on the assassination of President John Kennedy for young readers entitled "The President Has Been Shot." This book is suitable for middle school and high school students and even good readers on an elementary level. The book contains numerous photos so a reader isn't intimidated by page after page of only words. Author Swanson doesn't believe in the numerous conspiracy theories out there but focuses on three bullets fired by Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman. President Kennedy's itinerary from the time he entered Texas along with the movements of Lee Oswald are followed until they come together when the assassination takes place are aptly covered. The chase for the murderer, the President's funeral, the murder of Oswald by Jack Ruby and the aftermath are all well covered. These would make good gifts for a young person on your list.
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More About the Author

James L. Swanson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. He is an attorney who has written about history, the Constitution, popular culture, and other subjects for a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, American Heritage, Smithsonian, and the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Swanson serves on the advisory council of the Ford's Theatre Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign and is a member of the advisory committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

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