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Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the Assassination of President Kennedy Hardcover – March 10, 1994

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Never before the Richard Trask volume Pictures of the Pain has any book provided such an exhaustive, even-handed survey of documentary evidence in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Dispassionate in its assessment of the facts, rigorously free from speculation or bias, Pictures of the Pain is especially valuable in helping us to understand clearly what is known, what is not known, and what can never be known.

Most writers on this subject succumb to the temptation to skew or manipulate the evidence: Richard Trask never does. Mr. Trask does not always flatter my own reporting on the assassination but he is scrupulously, unfailingly fair to me and to everyone else. He has written the definitive book on the subject. Dan Rather, Journalist

His chapter on the Zapruder film is brilliant and riveting. Review from Choice magazine

The magnificent book, Pictures of the Pain by Richard Trask, which I have quoted often in [my] book, was the result of ten years of meticulous research on the photographic history of the assassination. Presented in a coolly objective way, the 638 pages are chock-full of much information and detail Trask unearthed that had never been previously published. The book is an absolutely invaluable reference that has been widely relied upon by the assassination research community.[His book] only has one objective THE TRUTH. Vincent Bugliosi, author of Reclaiming History

[The Trask book is] the finest work in the photographic evidence that has been or will be produced. Harrison E. Livingstone, author of Killing Kennedy and several other books on the subject

A magisterial book. Scrupulously researched, well written, and admirably designed and printed. Anthony Frewin, The Lobster, England

Since 1963, book after book has been churned out on the Kennedy assassination. With few exceptions, these have been works of advocacy. Long after they have been forgotten, the Richard Trask works of true historical scholarship will be remembered. His Pictures of the Pain set a standard for objective scholarship which has made it a leading reference work. Josiah Thompson, pioneering assassination researcher and author of Six Seconds in Dallas

Whether one views the death of JFK as an act of one lone man or the act of a deadly conspiracy, the book holds up admirably either way. Vince Palamara, researcher and author

At the risk of triteness, I would venture to say that Trask puts us there at Elm and Houston ... in an age where sensational journalism, sloppy methodology and outright fakery seem often to replace incisive assassination research, this book is a tough act to follow. Jan R. Stevens, The Fourth Decade

The book will become recognized as one of the seminal reference works on its subject. Brian Woolley, Senior Reporter, The Dallas Morning News and author of November 22

An essential basic book for every researcher on the case ... a masterful job. Martin Shackelford, noted assassination researcher

Some of his observations are very perceptive, others even eloquent. The book is a blessed relief from assassination literature loaded with assumptions stated as fact, polemical diatribes, etc.! Jim Folliard, noted researcher ---- Letters to the Author

[Your book is] the finest work in the photographic evidence that has been or will be produced. Harrison E. Livingstone, author of Killing Kennedy and several other books on the subject
A magisterial book. Scrupulously researched, well written, and admirably designed and printed. Anthony Frewin, The Lobster, England
Since 1963, book after book has been churned out on the Kennedy assassination. With few exceptions, these have been works of advocacy. Long after they have been forgotten, the Richard Trask works of true historical scholarship will be remembered. His Pictures of the Pain set a standard for objective scholarship which has made it a leading reference work. Josiah Thompson, pioneering assassination researcher and author of Six Seconds in Dallas
Whether one views the death of JFK as an act of one lone man or the act of a deadly conspiracy, the book holds up admirably either way. Vince Palamara, researcher and author
At the risk of triteness, I would venture to say that Trask puts us there at Elm and Houston ... in an age where sensational journalism, sloppy methodology and outright fakery seem often to replace incisive assassination research, this book is a tough act to follow. Jan R. Stevens, The Fourth Decade
The book will become recognized as one of the seminal reference works on its subject. Brian Woolley, Senior Reporter, The Dallas Morning News and author of November 22
An essential basic book for every researcher on the case ... a masterful job. -Martin Shackelford, noted assassination researcher
Some of his observations are very perceptive, others even eloquent. The book is a blessed relief from assassination literature loaded with assumptions stated as fact, polemical diatribes, etc.! Jim Folliard, noted researcher --Letters to the author

About the Author

Richard B. Trask is an archivist who lives with his wife Ethel in a 1681 house in Danvers, Massachusetts, which they have restored. An authority on the Salem Village witchcraft delusion of 1692, Trask served as historical consultant to an American Playhouse docu-drama on the subject, directed the archaeological excavation of the home where the witchcraft events began, saved several 17th century houses from destruction, and served for several decades as curator to the 1678 Rebecca Nurse Homestead. He is author of numerous books and articles, has lectured extensively, taught courses on American history and architecture, and appeared on numerous television programs and documentaries.

Trask's research into the Kennedy assassination began at age 16, and since the first publication of this book, he has published three others on the subject of the President Kennedy assassination and has served as a consultant to CBS News, the Assassination Records Review Board, and the National Archives.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 638 pages
  • Publisher: Yeoman Press; First Edition edition (March 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963859501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963859501
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 7.8 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I first stumbled across this book on a trip to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, and I'm sure glad I did. On a topic where so much of what is published is written to support one agenda or another, Trask's book is scrupulously (and refreshing) free from any sort of bias or slant. This exhaustive work indexes the majority of known photographs and films that were taken before, during, and after Kennedy's assassination. But moreover, Trask takes us further, giving us background on who these photographers were, what they saw, and how it affected them, be they the official White House photographer or a high schooler wielding Dad's Instamatic. It's all done in a style that's both informative and eminently readable, as well!
As a professional photographer and a history buff, this is the one book in my small JFK library that I find myself coming back to again and again. Trask has also produced a catalogue for the camera exhibit at the Sixth Floor Museum that makes an excellent companion volume to Pictures of the Pain..regrettably, it doesn't seem to be available on Amazon.com. ....
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Format: Hardcover
A large, fascinating volume devoted to all those photographers who were snapping away on November 22, 1963. There are several pictures presented here that I'd never seen published anywhere else, particularly some shots taken in Fort Worth of the impromptu gathering outside JFK's hotel on the drizzly Friday morning of November 22nd, and a shot or two snapped from the doorway of Air Force One just upon Mr. Kennedy's arrival at Love Field in Dallas.
The background stories on the photogs are interesting, as are the individual stories of how each of these cameramen came to be involved in the events of November 1963.
My only complaint would be that many of the pictures presented in the book are much too small in size, in my opinion. I would have preferred seeing these photos on a much larger, grander scale. However, there are several pictures that are larger, size-wise, as well. But having a magnifying glass handy as you turn these intriguing pages wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
My (new) copy of "Pictures Of The Pain" arrived nicely wrapped in plastic, much like a sealed shrinkwrapped VHS video or DVD, which was a nice surprise. This method of packaging, unusual in my experience with regards to bound printed matter, ensures (for the most part) a dust-free, pristine copy of the product. Very nice.
If you *think* you've seen all there was to see regarding the many pictures taken on that terrible day in 1963, you might just be surprised to find a few pics that have eluded your eye in this fine volume by Richard B. Trask.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The three stars are entirely for this book's value as a resource in researching the assassination of JFK. It is extensively referenced by all JFK assassination researchers regardless of position.

If it not for it's resource value, I'd knock it down to one star for the poor quality of the images and for not including in the description the fact that every image is black and white. Most images are too small and of unacceptably low resolution. A picture book this is not.

If you want to see some good assassination images get another source such as one of Robert Groden's books or the little known gem By Stewart Galanor Cover-Up (1st First Edition) [Hardcover] by Stewart Galanor. It is disappointing that a book called "Pictures of..." is actually not a book of pictures. Rather, this is a book ABOUT pictures. Regarding the "about" part:

Trask includes the disclaimer that he is conspiracy-agnostic. Unfortunately for Trask, it is not possible for anyone to present any visual evidence pertinent to the assassination of JFK and remain neutral about whether it supports or refutes any particular conclusion.

It is like a book of images of Auschwitz claiming to be genocide-agnostic. It simply not believable that anyone could -- or would -- take such a position.The subject matter of the visual evidence of the JFK assassination does not allow anyone to be neutral no matter how determined.

And indeed, Trask reveals a strong bias against conclusions that are critical of the official "lone-nut" position.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Incredible collection of virtually all the photos taken that weekend. The story of each of the photographers (and Trasks' detailed interviews with a lot of them) make this a volume to refer to for years to come.

Ty Newcomb
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Format: Hardcover
Just as Warren Commission supporters will admit to owning copies of Robert Groden's photo collections 'The Killing of a President' and 'The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald', Warren Commission critics like myself are proud to have Richard Trask's 'Pictures of the Pain' in our collections. He keeps the focus on telling the stories of the photographers, both amateur and professional, who documented the events in Dallas that terrible weekend, featuring many interviews and never-before-seen photographs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All I'll say here is echoing what other commenters have said, and I'll note that the pictures in many cases should have been printed larger. But this is a must for any scholar, professional or amateur, of what happened that day in Dallas.
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