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A Cruel and Shocking Act

The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination

Author: Philip Shenon

A Cruel and Shocking Act

A Cruel and Shocking Act

About This Book


In a taut, page-turning narrative, veteran investigative reporter Philip...

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In a taut, page-turning narrative, veteran investigative reporter Philip Shenon rewrites the history of the Kennedy assassination and speaks to the questions that have haunted our nation for half a century: Was the President killed by a single gunman? Was Lee Harvey Oswald part of a conspiracy? Did the Warren Commission discover the whole truth of what happened on November 22, 1963? Shenon, a bestselling author who spent most of his career at The New York Times, finally provides many of the answers. In writing A Cruel and Shocking Act, Shenon discovered startling information that was withheld from the Warren Commission by the CIA, FBI, and others in power in Washington. Shenon's book features some of the most compelling figures of the twentieth century—Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, Chief Justice Warren, CIA spymasters Allen Dulles and Richard Helms, as well as the CIA's treacherous "mole hunter," James Jesus Angleton.
Based on hundreds of interviews and unprecedented access to the surviving commission staffers and many key players, Philip Shenon's authoritative, scrupulously researched book will forever change the way we think about the Kennedy assassination and about the deeply flawed investigation that followed.

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In The News

“Jaw-dropping scenes involving the destruction and manipulation of evidence . . . A persuasive, deeply researched account . . . A compelling read.” —The Washington Post

A Cruel and Shocking Act has authority, is tantalizingly readable and is convincing in its claim that the Warren Commission was unable or unwilling to uncover the total truth. [Shenon's] work . . . is the one to read.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Engrossing reporting . . . [A Cruel and Shocking Act] raises significant questions.” —The New York Times

“[A] masterful piece of modern history . . . A work fit to rank alongside the previous masterpiece of the murder, William Manchester's Death of A President.” —The Independent (UK)

“Remarkable…I've become convinced that, 50 years after the act, a real reporter--not some chat-room know-it-all--has through actual, on the ground, person-to-person investigation, through nonstop digging, tugging at the tangled heart of the mystery, brought us to the brink of answer. An achievement that, I believe, merits the Pulitzer Prize and the thanks of a grateful nation.” —

“[A Cruel and Shocking Act] contains a number of startling facts… [and] juicy and informative details that shed new light on the JFK investigation…. The book reveals how the investigation was immediately taken over by the very government agencies -- the CIA, FBI and Secret Service -- that had the most to hide when it came to the assassination…. A remarkable story.” —David Talbot,

“A judicious account of the Warren Commission, as recalled by the lawyers who did its legwork. A.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Magnificent... An incredible book.” —Bob Schieffer, CBS News

“I love this book. It is a terrific read.” —Lou Dobbs, Lou Dobbs Tonight

“Impressive… [Shenon] documents the extent to which agencies and actors in those days withheld and even destroyed information that should have gone to the Warren Commission.” —Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

A Cruel and Shocking Act may be the best of the big-anniversary crop of books about the assassination – a tour de force of good reporting and excellent storytelling about an event that continues to defy clean and final resolution, 50 years later.” —The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

“Valuable, smartly written.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A thorough, fascinating and highly readable record of the details of the murder of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.... One of the more impressive offerings in the 50th-year anniversary of that watershed event.” —

“Convincing… the evidence [Shenon] assembles is frightening.” —The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, OH)

A Cruel and Shocking Act offers ... fascinating detail.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Sober and powerful…Shenon, a former New York Times reporter, affords the reader access to the behind-the-scenes deliberations and dynamics that shaped a historic inquiry into a national trauma.” —Publishers Weekly

“Startling… Shenon has helped us get further than we've been before.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Creators

A Cruel and Shocking Act

A Cruel and Shocking Act