Countdown to Dallas: The Incredible Coincidences, Routines, and Blind "Luck" that Brought John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald Together on November 22, 1963 (Hardcover)
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John F. Kennedy’s fascination with death—particularly his own—and Lee Harvey Oswald’s love of violence and desire for fame made November 22, 1963 practically inevitable.
With new details from the very latest documents declassified by the CIA and FBI!
The so-called “crime of the century”—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—was almost preordained to happen. Like all presidents from decades before him, JFK played it loose with security—open cars, Secret Service agents at a distance, and a desire to be seen. Yet conspiracy buffs are certain the security setup on November 22, 1963 was unusual and suspicious. It wasn’t.
And what of Lee Harvey Oswald, the drifter, the vicious wife-beating, fame-seeking narcissist? Everything in his background—dating back to his violent, disturbing grade school years, including his stated desire to murder President Dwight Eisenhower—defines the real Lee Oswald. The Oswald that conspiracists rarely talk about—the Oswald who was perched in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository as JFK drove by—was headed for this moment of infamy years before he pulled the trigger.
In Countdown to Dallas, author Paul Brandus tracks the backgrounds of both Kennedy and Oswald, the very different era in which they lived, and the incredible string of circumstances that brought them together for a few fateful moments in Dallas. He reveals:
- There was indeed a second person on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository in the minutes prior to the assassination—but it’s not what you think.
- How Oswald REALLY got his job at the Depository.
- The OTHER president that Oswald previously discussed wanting to kill.
- What Oswald’s favorite TV show and favorite opera reveal about his personality and his willingness to use violence.
- The sinking of the Titanic—and how we process it more than a century later—is an example of how we continue to process information about the Kennedy assassination.
About the Author
A historian and keynote speaker—including at seven presidential libraries—Paul Brandus is a columnist for USA Today and Dow Jones/MarketWatch, and one of the most followed journalists in the White House press corps, with more than 375,000 Twitter followers (@WestWingReport). He is the author of books on the White House and presidency, U.S. military, and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. His podcast, Jackie, has won numerous awards. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family.
“Paul Brandus has produced a gem of a book, a completely up-to-date look at what led up to President Kennedy’s assassination, a comprehensive tick-tock of Lee Oswald’s dismal life, clarifying timelines of the events that awful day in November 1963, and a careful examination of the conspiracy theories and suspects that have been proposed in the six decades since. Brandus has also incorporated the findings from secret documents released in recent years, so if you think you already know all of the story, think again—and read this well-written, fascinating volume.”
— Dr. Larry J. Sabato, Author, The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy; Director, Center for Politics, University of Virginia
“Paul Brandus is a unique storyteller who seeks the truth. In fact, he is driven to illuminate the truth and protect it from being easily dismissed. His ability to detail dramatic, stunning, and emotional stories makes Paul a one-of-a-kind author. His skills are unleashed in a profound way in his new book, Countdown to Dallas.”
— Michael C. DeAloia, Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Podcasts
“Drawing on recently declassified documents, Brandus characterizes Lee Harvey Oswald as a violent, politically extreme, and mentally disturbed man… Brandus relies heavily on FBI surveillance reports and other postassassination investigations to piece together the year leading up to the murder, showing how financial difficulties, turbulence in the marriage, and mental instability pushed Oswald over the edge… He builds a well-supported and well-reasoned case that Oswald acted alone.”
— Publishers Weekly
“You may feel as if you’ve read everything there is to read about this subject, but Brandus takes readers on a different path, showing how the lives of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald ran parallel to one another in many ways. Brandus shows how Oswald leaned toward violence his entire life and was, in fact, on a collision-course with history—although not initially with Kennedy, in an interesting twist of fact-finding. Readers will be astounded at the wealth of new information included in this book and they’ll be left wondering if, at any point, Oswald's horrible act of assassination could have somehow been stopped. This is the perfect choice for historians, speculative nonfiction readers, and for anyone who still holds a great deal of fascination for what is arguably one of the most world-changing events of the twentieth century.”
— Terri Schlichenmeyer, Price County Review