Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson

A tragedy that stunned the nation. A terrible crime. The kind of event that when people are asked where they were or what they were doing when they found out, they remember for a lifetime. A president gunned down in the middle of the street.

Swanson introduces us to the Kennedy's and includes a number of details about what it was like to grow up as a Kennedy - their lifestyle, their dedication to the service of this country and  their efforts to be major players in U.S. politics. The author describes the political climate in which Kennedy was elected first as a member of the House of Representatives, then a Senator and ultimately, by the narrowest of margins, the of President of the United States.

Swanson also introduces us to the man that would kill Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald. We are given a glimpse of what Oswald's life was like as the author details his failed military career, his failed move to the Soviet Union and his failed marriage to his Soviet bride. As a result, we are shown the state of his mental well being in the years and days leading up to the assassination. His desire to be more than who he was. To be famous - or more maybe more appropriately infamous.

The book includes several pictures from the time including Kennedy family pictures, political and press photos and stills taken from a video shot during the assassination. The President Has Been Shot! is a really great nonfiction book, for late elementary school (and later) students, detailing a very difficult time in our nation's history.

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