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End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 12, 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The author of the acclaimed Manhunt (2006), about the pursuit of the killer of Abraham Lincoln, here tackles the JFK assassination. Forget conspiracy theories about whodunit. Swanson’s focus is on the events themselves, the killing and the hunt for the gunman. Think of this as a true-crime book, not another of the millions (well, it seems like that sometimes) of books about who really shot Kennedy. Swanson takes an hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute approach, tracking killer and victim in the lead-up to the fatal shot and then tracking the killer and his pursuers in the days after the assassination, culminating with the killer’s own murder. It’s a highly detailed, highly compelling story, and it would be just as compelling if the victim didn’t happen to be JFK. Swanson is an excellent writer, and the book, which draws on many dozens of previously published works (his bibliography separates fiction and conspiracy literature from the rest of the pack), is a valuable addition to the JFK collection and to the true-crime genre as a whole. --David Pitt

Review

“A master of the form, James Swanson has brought his formidable storytelling skills to bear on another tragic turning point in American history. His treatment of Dallas 1963 is grand narrative at its finest.” (JON MEACHAM - Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House and Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power)

HISTORY AS TRUE-CRIME STORY. As he did in his bestselling Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, Swanson combines stellar research with a brisk, transporting narrative.” (Washingtonian Magazine)

End of Days is a fresh, modern contribution to the literature about one of the most heartbreaking crimes in history.” (Washington Post)

End of Days reads like a thriller while providing meticulous detail--the true-crime counterpart to Don DeLillo’s masterful, speculative novelization, Libra.” (Omnivoracious)

“Absorbing and fast-paced.” (Associated Press)

“Skillful... Authoritative... Swanson’s narrative gifts inject fresh suspense into the story of JFK’s slaying.” (National Review)

“With a gift for storytelling, an ability to juxtapose events in the lives of killer and victim and an eye for the revelatory detail, Swanson offers a gripping account... the energy and devotion he brings to this endeavor rekindles the emotions of a half-century ago...” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“A crisp, readable recital of the events surrounding the run-up to Nov. 22 and the aftermath.” (Dallas Morning News)

“Swanson makes history read like a crime thriller, vividly re-creating the details surrounding the shooting through the perspectives of the killer, the victim, and those closest to them.” (Parade Magazine)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062083481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062083487
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On this 50th anniversary of the assassination of John Kennedy, it's a shame to read such a surprisingly sloppy book as this one. The author is deservedly known for some rather good books about Abraham Lincoln, but this one seems like it didn't go through the normal editing and fact-checking process. Passages are repeated, the chronology jumps all over and does not flow in anything approaching a linear manner, and some very basic facts (such as who painted the Sistine Chapel) are incorrect. I can't tell whether the author rushed to get this to print in time for the 50th anniversary, or if he is just being sloppy. At a few points an over-use of pronouns makes it difficult to even track who Swanson is writing about. I'm really surprised by the quality of this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I loved Manhunt, but this book was disappointing. The writing felt very disjointed and Swanson kept repeating himself about points already covered in previous pages. Very amateurish. He put Oswald in the book depoistory and then a few pages later setup Oswald going to the book depository. There wasn't enough said about JFK's life prior to Dallas. Didn't expect a full biography, but too much was glossed over. Didn't give Kennedy any life at all. The best part of the book was the breakdown of the assassination. But the part that was spent the most time on, may in fact be a work of fiction based on evidence. I guess I expected more from the guy who did such an amazing job on manhunt. There are tons of better books out there on the Kennedy Assassination.
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Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, this was a hurried attempt by author and publisher to cash in on the 50th anniversary of the murder of a President. This book is of a much lower caliber than Manhunt. I agree with others that the author repeats himself, makes factual errors, crosses the line into fiction in some places, employs a jumbled chronology, and as another reviewer put it "has written at a middle school level." Considering the writing available on this subject, this book should be avoided, not worth the time or money.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although I don't support the premise that Oswald acted alone (if indeed he acted at all), Swanson is a gifted writer with a descriptive, if not illuminating way with words, very similar to the vastly superior William Manchester, who wrote the definitive account of the assassination The Death of the President, published in 1967. This recent best-seller was made more enjoyable with the wonderful narration by the vastly underrated, legendary television actor Richard Thomas.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was one of the best reads concerning the assassination of President Kennedy. There was information that I had never heard before. I have been reading boooks about that terrible day in Dallas for years. This is one of the best. Well written andI would suggest it to any out there who still remember and want to know what really transpired that terrible day.
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Format: Paperback
This was am emotional history of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and as such, did a good job. There are so many previous volumes about the assassination and the fins days of the Kennedys that this was actually a refreshing perspective provided by Swanson. If you are looking for a quick review concentrated on the emotional state of those involved, particularly Jackie, then the is the volume for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Swanson is a fine author who has written several fine historical works. This short book about JFK's final days adds a great deal to popular understanding of the events in Dallas that so changed the world.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed End of Days and I learned so many details about the JFK assassination. While I was not alive at the time, Swanson really brought the past to life and I found myself turning the pages and feeling like I was there.
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