The most recommended books about JFK (John F. Kennedy)

Who picked these books? Meet our 77 experts.

77 authors created a book list connected to JFK, and here are their favorite JFK books.
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What type of JFK book?


Book cover of John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics

Roger E. Backhouse Author Of Founder of Modern Economics: Paul A. Samuelson: Volume 1: Becoming Samuelson, 1915-1948

From my list on 20th century economists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Roger E. Backhouse has been a Professor of Economics and the University of Birmingham (in the UK) for many years, specializing in the history of economic ideas, and has written several books on contemporary economics and where the ideas came from. Knowing that many people lose interest when economics gets technical, he has picked biographies of modern economists who have led interesting lives as well as contributing to the development of their discipline, defining “modern” economists as ones who were active during his own lifetime, a criterion that excludes John Maynard Keynes, on whom several outstanding biographies have been written.

Roger's book list on 20th century economists

Roger E. Backhouse Why did Roger love this book?

In the 1950s and 1960s, J. K. Galbraith was probably America’s most famous economist. A Canadian, whose career began as an agricultural economist, Galbraith achieved notoriety in the United States as Director of the wartime Office of Price Administration, until he was forced to resign. He was one of the economists responsible for spreading Keynesian ideas in America, and became active in the Democratic Party, and a close friend and adviser to President John F. Kennedy. He was the author of a string of best-sellers: American Capitalism, The Great Crash:1929, The Affluent Society, and The New Industrial State, as well as a talented essayist and speech-writer, coining phrases that have become well known, including “the conventional wisdom” and “private wealth and public squalor.” Holding radical political views, he became an outsider to an economics profession that increasingly turned away from his non-technical literary style. Parker has…

By Richard Parker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked John Kenneth Galbraith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Higher education is a strange beast. Teaching is a critical skill for scientists in academia, yet one that is barely touched upon in their professional training-despite being a substantial part of their career. This book is a practical guide for anyone teaching STEM-related academic disciplines at the college level, from graduate students teaching lab sections and newly appointed faculty to well-seasoned professors in want of fresh ideas. Terry McGlynn's straightforward, no-nonsense approach avoids off-putting pedagogical jargon and enables instructors to become true ambassadors for science.

For years, McGlynn has been addressing the need for practical and accessible advice for college…

Book cover of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

Tony Flood Author Of My Life with The Stars: Sizzling secrets spilled!

From my list on the secrets of showbiz and sports stars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love comedy, showbusiness, mystery and fantasy stories, and sport—and these varied interests have resulted in me writing in various genres as both a journalist and author. My books have all been thoroughly researched and that has helped my crime thrillers receive glowing endorsements from best-selling writer Peter James in the case of Triple Tease and national newspaper journalist Stuart Pink in the case of Stitch Up! - Killer or Victim? My other books have also received excellent endorsements and reviews—fantasy adventure Secret Potion and Laughs and Tears Galore Short Stories and Poems With Twists, written jointly with my wife Heather Flood, best known for her children's books.

Tony's book list on the secrets of showbiz and sports stars

Tony Flood Why did Tony love this book?

There have been many books written about Marilyn Monroe, and I have paid tribute to her in my own celebrity book but I feel that The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe best explains the complex life of the ultimate sex symbol. Author J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography reveals that Marilyn, whose grandmother and mother were both committed to mental asylums, lived with the fear of possible impending madness.

I was also interested in details of Marilyn's relationship with the Kennedys—Bobby, Jack, and Pat Lawford Kennedy. These could have played a big part in her death.

By J. Randy Taraborrelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author J. Randy Taraborrelli comes the definitive biography of the most enduring icon in popular American culture.

When Marilyn Monroe became famous in the 1950s, the world was told that her mother was either dead or simply not a part of her life. However, that was not true. In fact, her mentally ill mother was very much present in Marilyn's world and the complex family dynamic that unfolded behind the scenes is a story that has never before been told...until now. In this groundbreaking book, Taraborrelli draws complex and sympathetic portraits of the women so…

Book cover of As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Words of Her Family and Friends

William Kuhn Author Of Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books

From my list on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many of my books have been on the British monarchy. Jackie was the only figure who came close to being an American queen. Her clothes drew me to her at first. Later, her decision to have an editorial career after her children were grown gave me the idea for a new biographical approach to her. I still admire Jackie for that, as well as for her low-key regality, about which she had a sense of humor.

William's book list on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

William Kuhn Why did William love this book?

This volume collects the memories of people who were close to Jackie. Carl Anthony met Jackie, and better, he was in touch with Jackie’s friend Nancy Tuckerman, who helped him with addresses and telephone numbers. These are people who were willing to speak about Jackie following her premature death at the age of 65. Anthony is also an expert on presidential wives and families.

By Carl Sferrazza Anthony,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As We Remember Her as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

irst Lady Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, childhood friends and dozens of others share their fond recollections of Jackie in As We Remember Her. This is the first time many of these people have ever spoken publicly about her, and the portrait that emerges is quite revealing. Behind the image of one of the 20th-century's most recognizable icons was a surprisingly substantive person -- a woman whose intelligence and political savvy were as remarkable as her famous charm and beauty. Jackie plunged fresh out of college into the world of journalism with her own girl-on-the-street column for the Washington Times. As…

Book cover of 11/22/63

Dana Perry Author Of The Nowhere Girls

From my list on books that are ripped from the headlines by a headline writing journalist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I know a lot about “ripped from the headlines” news stories because I’ve been around a lot of news stories and headlines most of my life. I’m a longtime New York City journalist who has worked as a top editor at both the NY Post and the NY Daily News. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of wild headlines in these places (e.g., Headless Body in Topless Bar!). So you can understand why I now like ripping from news headlines for fiction books as an author. 

Dana's book list on books that are ripped from the headlines by a headline writing journalist

Dana Perry Why did Dana love this book?

Okay, this might seem like a bit of a strange choice to be included in a list of best “ripped from the headlines” crime novels, but it really isn’t. I mean, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, is probably the most famous big news headline of our times. 

I was totally blown away by King’s brilliant concept of using that legendary date in history to write this fascinating thriller about what “might have been” if someone could somehow go back in time and stop it from ever happening.

Like the other four books on my list, King takes a major real-life news story and uses it to create a fascinating work of fiction. I just love books like this!  

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked 11/22/63 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major TV series from JJ Abrams and Stephen King, starring James Franco (Hulu US, Fox UK and Europe, Stan Australia, SKY New Zealand).

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless . . .

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of…

Book cover of U and I: A True Story

Katharine Smyth Author Of All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf

From my list on about books (and the authors who write them).

Why am I passionate about this?

In the wake of her father’s death, Katharine Smyth turned to her favorite novel, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, as a way of wrestling with his memory and understanding her own grief. Her book about the experience, All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf, was published by Crown in 2019 and named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Smyth’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Elle, The New York Times, Literary Hub, Poets & Writers, and The Point.

Katharine's book list on about books (and the authors who write them)

Katharine Smyth Why did Katharine love this book?

In U and I: A True Story, the death of Donald Barthelme inspires Nicholson Baker to write a book about his obsession with John Updike while his muse is still alive. Coining the term “memory criticism,” which he defines as “a form of commentary that relies entirely on what has survived in a reader’s mind from a particular writer over at least ten years of spotty perusal,” Baker embarks upon a wildly entertaining meditation that reveals as much about the writing process as it does about Updike (and Baker) himself.

By Nicholson Baker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Baker muses on the creative process via his obsession with John Updike.

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

Gerald Posner Author Of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

From my list on 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.

Gerald's book list on who killed JFK

Gerald Posner Why did Gerald 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 We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland

Sydney Calkin Author Of Abortion Pills Go Global: Reproductive Freedom across Borders

From Sydney's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Academic Abortion rights activist Feminist Mother

Sydney's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Sydney Calkin Why did Sydney love this book?

I loved this fast-paced, witty, moving account of Ireland’s recent history.

O’Toole is the kind of narrator you want to spend more time with. I admired the style of this fascinating memoir: O’Toole tracks the history of Ireland over the course of his lifetime, weaving together the personal with the political, economic, and cultural.

I’ve conducted research in Ireland since 2016. It’s a remarkable place, changing rapidly, full of contradictions and grappling with the darkness of its recent past. I loved O’Toole’s book because he made sense of these contradictions in lively and nuanced ways.

This book is the best of memoir, blending together a person’s experiences with their wider context to provide a rich narrative of a life.

By Fintan O'Toole,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked We Don't Know Ourselves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fintan O'Toole was born in the year the revolution began. It was 1958, and the Irish government-in despair, because all the young people were leaving-opened the country to foreign investment and popular culture. So began a decades-long, ongoing experiment with Irish national identity. In We Don't Know Ourselves, O'Toole, one of the Anglophone world's most consummate stylists, weaves his own experiences into Irish social, cultural, and economic change, showing how Ireland, in just one lifetime, has gone from a reactionary "backwater" to an almost totally open society-perhaps the most astonishing national transformation in modern history.

Born to a working-class family…

Book cover of Christine Falls

Natalie Conyer Author Of Present Tense: A Schalk Lourens Mystery

From my list on crime featuring flawed detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always read and loved crime fiction – so much so I did a doctorate in it. I believe good crime fiction has the capacity to explore particular societies, places, and times in interesting and enjoyable ways. I also like crime fiction’s focus on character, and particularly in crime series which show a character evolving over time. That’s why I chose the theme of ‘flawed detective’ and that’s what I’m trying to do in my Schalk Lourens series, of which Present Tense is the first. I hope you enjoy it, and also the other books I’ve recommended here.

Natalie's book list on crime featuring flawed detectives

Natalie Conyer Why did Natalie love this book?

Christine Falls is the first in a series of crime novels by Booker-winning author John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black. The novels are set in Ireland in the 1950s and they feature Quirke, a misanthropic, hard-drinking, depressive pathologist. All the novels in the series are master classes in how to manage setting, character, and language. All of them are great reads. I’ve chosen Christine Falls because it’s the first in the series. It starts with a presumed suicide and widens to feature corruption and betrayal by family, church, and state.

By Benjamin Black,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the debut crime novel from the Booker-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of
a conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society

It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his…

Book cover of The 9th Man

J.M. Adams Author Of Second Term

From J.M.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Explorer Traveler Tennis player Reporter Tenacious

J.M.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

J.M. Adams Why did J.M. love this book?

Steve Berry's book couldn’t have been timed any better as 2023 was the 60th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. 

The pages flew by and kept me up late into the night. I have a history addiction, dating back to my early childhood, and the assassination of JFK has troubled and baffled me as far back as I can remember. The misinformation campaign set forth by the American government has never sat well with anyone who’s done the research, and this book presents the reader with a fresh scenario of what really happened back in November 1963 and the extent of the American coverup. 

I’m always delighted to consume an entire library’s worth of new facts and information every time I open a Steve Berry novel.

By Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 9th Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author of the Cotton Malone series comes a thrilling, action-packed historical adventure that sends Luke Daniels on an international manhunt for the truth about the assassination of President John Kennedy.

Luke Daniels is in London, between assignments with the Magellan Billet, when he receives a frantic call from an old friend.  Jillian Stein is in trouble.  She made a mistake and now her life may be in danger. She needs Luke’s help. Immediately. Racing to Belgium Luke quickly finds that she was right. A shadow team of highly-trained operatives are there on the hunt. Intervening,…

Book cover of On the Trail of the Assassins: My Investigation and Prosecution of the Murder of President Kennedy

Kevin James Shay Author Of Death of the Rising Sun: A Search for Truth in the JFK Assassination

From my list on the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1978, I happened to be the only person present in the cramped office of my college newspaper in Texas, when Kennedy assassination eyewitness Bill Newman entered. It was during the midst of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations’ investigation into the matter. Newman was standing no more than 15 feet from Kennedy when he was shot. His account intrigued me, sending me on a search that has yet to end. I witnessed Kennedy’s funeral in Washington, D.C., as a boy, grew up in Dallas, and even shared the same birthday with him. Several articles I wrote on the assassination and ensuing research have won awards, including a Best in Show Feature Writing Award from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. I have written books on other topics, but this is the one that most consumed me.

Kevin's book list on the John F. Kennedy assassination

Kevin James Shay Why did Kevin love this book?

The late New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison pursued the only criminal case in this controversy that has tried someone for conspiracy to murder Kennedy in court. He faced death threats, prosecution, infiltration, dirty tricks, and more in the late 1960s. He details what he went through and why he mostly blamed U.S. intelligence officials and agents for what he called a “coup d’etat.” His book was a major basis for director Oliver Stone’s 1991 film, JFK, in which Garrison played a minor role as Justice Earl Warren.

By Jim Garrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The book that inspired the movie JFK recounts Jim Garrison's attempt to solve the Kennedy assassination, and describes how Garrison was harrassed because of his allegations of government involvement in Kennedy's death.