The best books about who killed JFK

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in the fourth grade when JFK was assassinated. I grew up in the late 1960s as conspiracy theories about ‘who killed Kennedy’ flourished. Jack Ruby’s murder of Oswald made me suspect the mafia played a role. After Oliver Stone’s controversial 1991 JFK film, I convinced a publisher to allow me to reexamine the assassination. I did not expect to solve the case. Halfway through my research, however, I realized there was an answer to ‘who killed Kennedy.’ It was not what I had expected. I discovered that the story of how a 24-year-old sociopath armed with a $12 rifle managed to kill the president was a far more fascinating one than I could have ever envisioned.


I wrote...

Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

By Gerald Posner,

Book cover of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

What is my book about?

Case Closed is the definitive reexamination of the JFK assassination. Published in 1993, on the 30th anniversary of America’s most infamous political murder, it was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer in History. I testified before Congress about the findings of my book: that Lee Harvey Oswald had, indeed, acted alone in killing JFK. 

Historian Stephen Ambrose said about Case Closed: “Posner has done a great service, in the process proving that a single researcher, working alone, is always preferable to a committee. This is a model of historical research. It should be required reading for anyone reviewing any book on the Kennedy assassination. Beyond the outstanding job of research, Posner is a dramatic storyteller. The recreation of Oswald's, and Jack Ruby's, personalities are wonderfully well done. This case has been closed by Mr. Posner's work.”

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald's Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Gerald Posner Why did I love this book?

Author Priscilla McMillan was at the crossroads of history. She worked as a junior aide for Senator John Kennedy before she went to Moscow as a reporter during the height of the Cold War. There, in 1959, she interviewed an American marine who had recently defected to the Soviet Union. He was Lee Harvey Oswald. After JFK was killed in 1963, McMillan befriended Oswald’s widow, Marina, and spent hundreds of hours interviewing her. The result of McMillan’s unprecedented direct access to the Oswalds is an unmatched personal study of a troubled young man who turned into one of history’s most notorious assassins. 

By Priscilla Johnson McMillan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marina and Lee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The single best book ever written on the Kennedy assassination” -- Thomas Mallon, author of Mrs. Paine's Garage: And the Murder of John F. Kennedy
 
“It is not at all easy to describe the power of Marina and Lee . . . It is far better than any other book about Kennedy . . . Other books about the Kennedy assassination are all smoke and no fire. Marina and Lee burns.” —New York Times Book Review

Marina and Lee is an indispensable account of one of America’s most traumatic events and a classic work of narrative history. In her meticulous—at…


Book cover of Mrs. Paine's Garage: And the Murder of John F. Kennedy

Gerald Posner Why did I love this book?

Award-winning novelist Thomas Mallon explores the serendipitous world of Ruth Paine, the Quaker who befriended Lee and Marina Oswald in the fateful months leading up to the assassination. In this fast-paced nonfition read, Mallon takes the reader through the tumultuous nine months before the assassination and then along for the often-bizarre years following in which Paine’s largesse is interpreted and twisted by conspiracy theorists to somehow accuse her of being in the middle of a giant plot against Kennedy. 

By Thomas Mallon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mrs. Paine's Garage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nearly forty years have passed since Ruth Hyde Paine, a Quaker housewife in suburban Dallas, offered shelter and assistance to a young man named Lee Harvey Oswald and his Russian wife, Marina. For nine months in 1963, Mrs. Paine was so deeply involved in the Oswalds’ lives that she eventually became one of the Warren Commission’s most important witnesses.

Mrs. Paine’s Garage is the tragic story of a well-intentioned woman who found Oswald the job that put him six floors above Dealey Plaza—into which, on November 22, he fired a rifle he’d kept hidden inside Mrs. Paine’s house. But this…


Book cover of False Witness: The Real Story of Jim Garrison's Investigation and Oliver Stone's Film JFK

Gerald Posner Why did I love this book?

Director Oliver Stone based his 1991 movie JFK on the failed late 1960s JFK assassination probe of New Orleans district attorney, Jim Garrison. In this investigative book, Lambert methodically deconstructs Garrison’s investigation and exposes it as a total fraud. Her prodigious original research both archives and interviews is woven into a faced-paced book that is utterly convincing.

By Patricia Lambert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked False Witness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is, for the first time in its entirety, the story of the arrest and trial of Clay Shaw, charged with conspiracy in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.


Book cover of On The Trail of Delusion: Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser

Gerald Posner Why did I love this book?

In a similar vein to False Witness, Litwin not only exposes the shortcomings of the Garrison investigation into the JFK murder but in the process uncovers the fraud and false information that are cited to support some of the currently popular conspiracy theories about the assassination. It is filled with new information from Litwin’s own extensive research.

By Fred Litwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On The Trail of Delusion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fred Litwin exposes the truth about Jim Garrison, the New Orleans District Attorney, who ‘solved’ the JFK assassination in 1967.

On the Trail of Delusion shows how Garrison persecuted an innocent gay man in order to spout his crazy conspiracy theories. There is also a touch of bribery and intimidation, the story of his attempt to charge a dead man with being a grassy knoll assassin, the former Marine he believed was a ‘second Oswald,’ several con men who turned the tables and fooled Garrison, the use of truth serum and hypnosis to recover memories, the ugly story of Oliver…


Book cover of Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Gerald Posner Why did I love this book?

Bugliosi, the famed former Los Angeles prosecutor of Charles Manson, directs his attention to dismissing the conspiracy theories in the JFK murder in his massive (1648 page) tome. Bugliosi writes with the caustic tone of a prosecutor and covers just about every issue in some detail. It is a great reference book and concludes that Oswald alone killed Kennedy. Published 14 years after Case Closed, I often refer to it as Case Still Closed.

By Vincent Bugliosi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reclaiming History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At 1:00 p.m. on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead, the victim of a sniper attack during his motorcade through Dallas. That may be the only fact generally agreed upon in the vast literature spawned by the assassination. National polls reveal that an overwhelming majority of Americans (75%) believe that there was a high-level conspiracy behind Lee Harvey Oswald. Many even believe that Oswald was entirely innocent. In this continuously absorbing, powerful, ground-breaking book, Vincent Bugliosi shows how we have come to believe such lies about an event that changed the course of history.

The brilliant…


You might also like...

American Flygirl

By Susan Tate Ankeny,

Book cover of American Flygirl

Susan Tate Ankeny Author Of The Girl and the Bombardier: A True Story of Resistance and Rescue in Nazi-Occupied France

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Susan Tate Ankeny left a career in teaching to write the story of her father’s escape from Nazi-occupied France. In 2011, after being led on his path through France by the same Resistance fighters who guided him in 1944, she felt inspired to tell the story of these brave French patriots, especially the 17-year-old- girl who risked her own life to save her father’s. Susan is a member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, the Air Force Escape and Evasion Society, and the Association des Sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Alliés. 

Susan's book list on women during WW2

What is my book about?

The first and only full-length biography of Hazel Ying Lee, an unrecognized pioneer and unsung World War II hero who fought for a country that actively discriminated against her gender, race, and ambition.

This unique hidden figure defied countless stereotypes to become the first Asian American woman in United States history to earn a pilot's license, and the first female Asian American pilot to fly for the military.

Her achievements, passionate drive, and resistance in the face of oppression as a daughter of Chinese immigrants and a female aviator changed the course of history. Now the remarkable story of a fearless underdog finally surfaces to inspire anyone to reach toward the sky.

American Flygirl

By Susan Tate Ankeny,

What is this book about?

One of WWII’s most uniquely hidden figures, Hazel Ying Lee was the first Asian American woman to earn a pilot’s license, join the WASPs, and fly for the United States military amid widespread anti-Asian sentiment and policies.

Her singular story of patriotism, barrier breaking, and fearless sacrifice is told for the first time in full for readers of The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck, A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell, The Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia, Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown and all Asian American, women’s and WWII history books.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, and assassins?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, and assassins.

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