I picked up this book because I enjoyed an earlier title from these two authors called Killing Lincoln. I was underwhelmed at this release. The story on Lincoln’s death was much more compelling, and the characters were developed to a greater degree. Killing Kennedy seemed to be a rip-off of the earlier concept these authors employed with great success, the dramatization of a major historical event. It was just far less engaging.
There were certainly points, particularly as the day of November 22, 1963 unfolded, that were compelling; yet most of the book was a random smattering of Kennedy’s lifestyle and early presidency. It wasn’t thorough enough to serve as a good biographical sketch, and it wasn’t clear what they were trying to do with Kennedy’s character. As you read the first three-quarters of the book, Kennedy is portrayed as a distracted pop-culture icon of a President, who is way out of his depth in the Oval Office. But as his life comes to an end and his legacy is described (briefly), the tune of the authors change, and at the close of the book there is a feel that Kennedy was developing into a mythic and misunderstood figure of great genius who was snuffed out before reaching full-flower.
I don’t know. Having read an in-depth biography on JFK a few years back, my previous study on him has led me to view him with much more consistency than this book affords. He obviously developed while in office, but I don’t see the extremes that emerge in Killing Kennedy as total historical reality. I think what the man was at the beginning of his Presidency, he was toward the end, albeit with more experience under his belt.
In all, it’s wasn’t a horrible read. I probably wouldn’t recommend it, as I think there are a number of better options out there on Kennedy if you’re inclined to tackle something on the subject.