A well-researched, if extremely lengthy, book that provides a solid analysis of the Kennedy assassination evidence and...

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The Assassination of JFK

PERSPECTIVES HALF A CENTURY LATER

A researcher examines competing theories regarding the John F. Kennedy assassination and concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

In this debut history book, Wagner takes a retrospective look at the Kennedy assassination, the multiple and conflicting investigations of the death, and the perennially popular conspiracy theories that have grown out of it. The author has conducted thorough research and draws on a wide swath of the unending supply of volumes on the subject, and his book is meticulously footnoted and endnoted, with substantial excerpts of the Warren Report and other primary sources included throughout the text. The work explores key elements of the assassination itself, the subsequent autopsies, and the different conclusions reached by the Warren Commission and by the House Select Committee on Assassinations a decade later. Familiar elements of the story, from the grassy knoll to the pristine bullet to the Texas Book Depository, all play their roles in Wagner’s account. The author also explores assertions about Oswald’s past: “Oswald was no stranger to careful assassination planning…it was learned that earlier in 1963, Oswald had attempted to kill Major General Edwin Walker. General Walker had been active in right-wing causes before and after his resignation from the US Army in 1961.” While the focus on minutiae can occasionally be overwhelming, with time measured not in minutes or seconds but in frames of the Zapruder film, Wagner provides enough information to justify his arguments in favor of a single-shooter theory that does not rely on one bullet striking both Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally, the version of events accepted by the Warren Report. The author does not attempt to read the minds of the participants at a half-century’s remove but offers a measured appraisal of motivating factors, including the appointment of former CIA Director Allen Dulles to the Warren Commission (“Sure, the ‘retired’ Dulles may have had some time on his hands, but putting him on the inside may have been less risky than having him on the outside as a presidential commission did its work”). In clear and persuasive prose, Wagner presents a levelheaded analysis of some of the most scrutinized evidence of the 20th century, acknowledging the valid concerns raised by critics of the official reports while refraining from excessively incredulous conspiracy theories and interpretations.

A well-researched, if extremely lengthy, book that provides a solid analysis of the Kennedy assassination evidence and reports.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 490

Publisher: Dog Ear

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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