30 books directly related to JFK 📚

All 30 JFK books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

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

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

By Priscilla Johnson McMillan,

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books about who killed JFK

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

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

By Patricia Lambert,

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books about who killed JFK

Book cover of The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

By Robert A. Caro,

Why this book?

Imagine you’re Vice President Lyndon Johnson on Nov. 22, 1963. The Secret Service just hustled you into a secure room at the Dallas hospital where doctors are desperately trying to keep President John F. Kennedy alive after an assassination attempt. What’s going through your mind? If Kennedy dies, what are your next steps? Robert Caro found out. Pulitzer-winner Caro is the greatest historian of our lifetime—and a brilliant, accessible writer who makes it impossible to put down a 700-page nonfiction book. The Passage of Power is the fourth of a planned five-volume biography of Johnson, the man who helped turn…

From the list:

The most well written political biographies

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

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

By Jim Garrison,

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books on the John F. Kennedy assassination

Book cover of Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy

Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy

By Jim Marrs,

Why this book?

A veteran Texas journalist who started teaching a course on the assassination at UT-Arlington in 1976, Marrs saw his comprehensive work published a year after Garrison’s book. Stone also used Marrs’ book as a prime source for his movie. Unlike Garrison, Marrs steered clear of pinning the assassination on mostly one group, covering the alleged roles of organized crime, anti-Castro Cubans, the military-industrial complex, oilmen, bankers, political opponents, and more. Some 25 major publishers turn down Marrs’ manuscript, which became a best-seller, before Carroll & Graf accepted it. The work was one of the first to tie together the various…
From the list:

The best books on the John F. Kennedy assassination

Book cover of Last Second in Dallas

Last Second in Dallas

By Josiah Thompson,

Why this book?

In some ways, the current epidemic of crackpot “deep state” conspiracy theories can be traced to the miasma surrounding one of the greatest unsolved murders of our time, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Thompson’s new book is an antidote: a rigorous, transparent and compelling investigation of acoustic, photographic, and medical evidence. The philosophy professor turned San Francisco private eye interweaves his own fascinating personal journey with the story of how he came to find, examine, and re-examine forensic evidence that, he concludes, proves Kennedy was killed not by a…

From the list:

The best books on spies and radicals

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

John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics

By Richard Parker,

Why 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…

From the list:

The best biographies of late 20th century economists

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

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

By Carl Sferrazza Anthony,

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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

Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

By Vincent Bugliosi,

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books about who killed JFK

Book cover of Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, The CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, The CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

By Brian Latell,

Why this book?

Intelligence expert, professor, and former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, Dr. Brian Latell, offers insight into Cuban Intelligence and their—largely—successful infiltration of the US security apparatus. Based on interviews with high-level defectors, the book delves into Castro’s mindset with assassination plots and uncover operations emanating from both sides of the Florida Straits as well as a behind-the-scenes look at some key events of the Cold War.

It’s very interesting to learn more about Castro’s mindset beyond the news headlines and how he managed to maintain power after the revolution. However, the real bombshell is an anecdote given by a…

From the list:

The best spy books set in Latin America

Book cover of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

By James W. Douglass,

Why this book?

Written in a deeply personal, even spiritual manner that incorporates a vast amount of research, this book moved Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to visit the assassination site in Dallas for the first time more than four decades after the tragedy. Douglass particularly investigates Lee Harvey Oswald’s involvement with American intelligence agencies and writes in a highly readable style that appeals to both average readers and researchers. He provides perspective on not just how Kennedy was killed, but why, as well as why the assassination is important to continue to research to this day.

From the list:

The best books on the John F. Kennedy assassination

Book cover of Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery

Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery

By Norman Mailer,

Why this book?

There are numerous books that seek to prove Oswald was the lone assassin, and Mailer’s is probably the most open-minded and convincing one. Rather than descend into name-calling against authors of more conspiratorial works, Mailer sticks to the topic of Oswald’s mysterious time in Russia. Based on interviews with former acquaintances and research gathered from Russia, the book uncovers fresh details about Oswald’s time there. While Mailer theorized that Oswald executed Kennedy to shake up the world and cement his place in history, he leaves the door open, if just ever so slighty, to other potential gunmen in Dallas.

From the list:

The best books on the John F. Kennedy assassination

Book cover of America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

By Sarah Bradford,

Why this book?

Sarah Bradford also wrote one of the best biographies of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Jackie biography is authoritative. It covers everything from her parents' troubled marriage to Jackie’s own disappointing liaisons with powerful men. The life she built in New York after the death of Onassis is proof of what an extraordinary woman she was, perhaps the most important of America’s former first ladies. She was in a league with Eleanor Roosevelt and Abigail Adams. She had an intelligence and discernment equal to theirs but with style all her own.

From the list:

The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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

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

By Thomas Mallon,

Why 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. 

From the list:

The best books about who killed JFK

Book cover of 11/22/63

11/22/63

By Stephen King,

Why this book?

King’s work has had a tremendous impact on me—showing me how to be fearless as a writer. 11/22/63 is my favorite of his books and a masterpiece of speculative fiction. Take the premise: stopping JFK’s assassination. Talk about a hook! It doesn’t stop there. He whips you hither and yon as you journey through the past, reliving the America of a bygone era, as you race to the date. A time portal, a love story, Lee Harvey Oswald, and a cast of unforgettable characters collide in this mind-bender.

From the list:

The best mind-bending dystopian science fiction

Book cover of Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford

Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford

By Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin Hill,

Why this book?

Clint Hill’s legacy is his courageous action in the presidential motorcade during the JFK assassination. His career and mine overlapped. We address events occurring during the same era but from different perspectives. His as a Secret Service Agent on protective details and mine as an FBI Agent investigating criminal cases and personally assisting J. Edgar Hoover who worked under eight presidents and sixteen attorneys general. Hill had to be politically correct under all circumstances while I could get away with a blurred PC often to solve a criminal case. At times, our observance of historic events varied—but again we viewed…

From the list:

The best books on 20th century American history, scandal, corruption, the rise & fall of the FBI, and true crime

Book cover of Pablo Picasso: His Life and Times

Pablo Picasso: His Life and Times

By Pierre Cabanne,

Why this book?

The world of Picasso's biography is a deeply contentious and well ploughed field. I should know as I worked for 5 years on the yet-to-be-published Volume 4 of John Richardson’s epic sex fest.  Hiding in the glare of the Picasso craze is Pierre Cabanne’s revelatory masterpiece. Cabanne knew him, knew his circle, and was not frightened to enter Picasso’s Spanish world in exile. This is the first step to a genuine understanding of Picasso’s genius.

From the list:

The best books on essential Spain

Book cover of Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

By Hamish Bowles, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Rachael Lambert Mellon

Why this book?

This is an exhibition catalogue that began with a show at the Kennedy Library: the clothes Jackie wore in the White House. It has a smart introduction by Hamish Bowles, an editor at Vogue. He shows how her clothing choices were not just about looking pretty. They were about her historical vision for the role of the president’s wife, her sense of the women who had come before her, and of the American craftsmen at work in the fashion industry. The pictures are ravishing. 

From the list:

The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Book cover of Washington

Washington

By Meg Greenfield,

Why this book?

The book Washington chronicles the significant career of Meg Greenfield, an editorial page editor of The Washington Post. Greenfield, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, wrote the book during the last two years of her life. Greenfield’s boss and close friend Katharine Graham contributed the foreword which provides context. Greenfield came to Washington in 1961 and was hired by the Post a few years later. Her editorials at the Post and her columns in Newsweek were witty and smart. Her stories provide a political picture of Washington, D.C. at the end of the American century. She was…

From the list:

The best books about women, politics and journalism in the post-World War II years

Book cover of Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction

Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction

By Jack Hart,

Why this book?

When I set out to write what I hoped would be a meaningful nonfiction book after publishing several novels, I needed a refresher on narrative nonfiction. This book provides just that – in a nuts-and-bolts way. The author spent years coaching journalists on how to tell readable, timely stories, and he uses his expertise in a helpful way. You’ll almost feel like you’re sitting in a newsroom office being coached. He covers what you need to know to write in this genre, from understanding story theory and structure to point of view and scene, action, and character. As I’ve learned…

From the list:

The best books to help you write a terrific true story

Book cover of Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

By Caroline Kennedy, Michael Beschloss,

Why this book?

In the year after JFK died, Jackie sat down with the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., to record her recollections of life with her husband. They came soon after the events they recall. She trusted Schlesinger, who was a special assistant in the White House to her husband. The recordings give a special sense of who she was because you can hear her voice. They are also time capsules of another era when smoking and drinking were more common. You can hear ice cubes in glasses and cigarettes being lighted.

From the list:

The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Book cover of A Sudden Light

A Sudden Light

By Garth Stein,

Why this book?

I can never get enough ghost and haunted house stories that have social commentary themes. This is one of the books that helped inspire my own book. Trevor Riddell’s parents are separated, and Trevor and his father move to his lumber-robber-baron grandfather’s mansion in the woods of the northwest, where Trevor’s father and aunt hope to talk their ailing father into a big-money real estate deal involving the house and land.

This book has everything I love: ghosts, intrigue, mystery, history, emotionally-complex antagonists, and epistolary story-telling through letters and journals. Woven into all that, Stein manages to insert a moral…

From the list:

The best horror books about bad moving decisions

Book cover of Arisen, Book One: Fortress Britain

Arisen, Book One: Fortress Britain

By Glynn James, Michael Stephen Fuchs,

Why this book?

I’m referring to his Arisen series here. There hasn’t been a zombie epic of this calibre ever. It’s a fast-paced, high-octane kinetic blast through the apocalypse, told from (mainly) the point of view of tier-one operators. The way the characters evolve alongside the virus is so engaging that if anyone asked me to give them a run-down of the series I’d prepare a PowerPoint presentation and organise catering. This series does not quit, and the individuality of the characters will make you cry, laugh, and definitely spit your coffee out.

From the list:

The best (current) post-apocalyptic book series you need to know about

Book cover of The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November

The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November

By Sergo Mikoyan, Svetlana Savranskaya (editor),

Why this book?

The books discussed above concentrate on the missile crisis in the US, but there was also a crisis in Moscow and Havana. Americans called this event “the Cuban missile crisis,” the Soviets called it “the Caribbean Crisis,” and the Cubans “the October crisis”—because conflict with the US had become a recurring fact of life in Cuba. The Kennedy administration had also been sponsoring sabotage and political assassination in Cuba kept secret from the American people but well known to the Russians and the Cubans. The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis opens a window into Castro’s fury at not being informed or…

From the list:

The best books on the Cuban Missile Crisis since the opening of JFK's White House tape recordings

Book cover of The Grifters

The Grifters

By Jim Thompson,

Why this book?

Another Jim Thompson classic, The Grifters is about a trio of con artists trying to move up from being small-time crooks. They add love and a mother/son relationship into the mix which only makes things worse. The film directed by Stephen Frears is a master-class in acting from Anjelica Huston, Annette Bening, and John Cusak. The scene at the end couldn’t be more shocking as a way to wrap up a noir film. Money is paramount in the world of the grifters, everything else secondary. What could be more noir than that?
From the list:

The best noir books that are great films

Book cover of The Hunters of Kentucky

The Hunters of Kentucky

By Ted Franklin Belue,

Why this book?

In this study Belue creates a sense of the world of Kentucky before settlement, as Long Hunters began to explore the Bluegrass and send reports back east of the streams and savannas, the game, and beauty of the land. While writing Boone, I found this volume especially useful for visualizing the places where Boone hunted in his first and second forays into Kanta-kee.

From the list:

The best books on the world of Daniel Boone

Book cover of The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers

The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers

By John Seymour,

Why this book?

This is the classic book on self-sufficiency that started my interest when I first read it decades ago. John Seymour was the master and teacher and the book is crammed with practical methods with many useful illustrations. Many people I know who are fascinated with the idea of self-sufficiency, and successful practitioners, were initially inspired by this book.

From the list:

The best books on self-sufficiency

Book cover of Personal History

Personal History

By Katharine Graham,

Why this book?

Personal History is Katharine Graham’s memoir. She became the first female Fortune 500 CEO when she took over at The Washington Post. From having Warren Buffet as a mentor to presiding over The Washington Post during Watergate, her life was absolutely fascinating. There is so much to learn about leading, women’s empowerment, and how we show up at work through Graham’s journey. What makes this book unique, though, is that in addition to being a classic in the women’s leadership genre, it’s as juicy and riveting as your best suspense novel.

From the list:

The best books to help women find more fulfillment in their work and career

Book cover of A Beginner's Guide to Day Trading Online

A Beginner's Guide to Day Trading Online

By Toni Turner,

Why this book?

I have to start with this book, as reading Toni's work has influenced me and my approach to trading from the early days. She has a wonderful friendly style that leads you on and makes it hard to put the book down. While I appreciate all her work, this particular book takes you through so many practical examples, it's impossible not to be enthralled by the possibilities of trading in the stock market.

From the list:

The best books for cracking the trading code

Book cover of The Obituary Writer

The Obituary Writer

By Ann Hood,

Why this book?

I love how, as with my novel, the writer weaves together the stories of two women who lived in entirely different eras. I also appreciate how she brought real-world people and events, like JFK and the 1906 earthquake, into her fictional world. But what I found most evocative about The Obituary Writer were the author’s portrayal of the institution of marriage and how her “older” protagonist—the one dating further back in history—dedicated her life to helping others deal with grief and loss. This altruistic passion was similar to one that my historical protagonist discovered on her journey of personal growth.

From the list:

The best books with bad ass women in historical fiction