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The Day Kennedy Was Shot Paperback – 6 Dec 1993


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  • Paperback: 714 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins,Australia (6 Dec. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000637901X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006379010
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 14 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,232,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.2 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alex Diaz-Granados on 19 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Over the past 40 years, no event in American history has been so scrutinized or conjectured about than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Millions of words have been written about that tragic day in Dallas: Some point the finger of blame solely at Lee Harvey Oswald, while others weave a confusing web of conspiracy theories that accuse the Mafia, French criminals, Fidel Castro, anti-Castro Cuban exiles and/or militarists in the government who wanted to expand America's role in Vietnam.
One of the best books on the Kennedy assassination is the late Jim Bishop's gripping The Day Kennedy Was Shot, a detailed hour-by-hour account of the events of November 22, 1963, starting with the President's 7:00 AM wake-up at Fort Worth's Hotel Texas and ends 20 hours later in Washington, DC. Bishop follows all the major players -- JFK, Jackie, Lyndon B. Johnson, Oswald, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby -- and eyewitnesses -- Helen Ganss, an elderly Ft. Worth widow who had been allowed to stay at the Hotel Texas even when the other guests were moved out by the Secret Service; Linnie Mae Randall, an Irving, Texas housewife who, while washing the dishes in her kitchen, she "saw Lee Harvey Oswald, bare head down, coming up Fifth Street with a long package in his hand. He held the fat part under his arm; the tapered end was pointing at the sidewalk. The rain didn't seem to bother him. He walked steadily, up Fifth, across the corner lot, toward Mrs. Randall's garage. She kept watching him, a dark, pretty woman with shoulder-length black hair. By rote, she set the dishes upright in the drain."
John F. Kennedy had less than six hours left to live, of course, but while turning the pages of Bishop's 1968 book one feels the tension building up with each seemingly mundane detail (such as Mrs.
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Format: Paperback
Jim Bishop's 1968 chronicle of the JFK assassination was largely written to 'counter' some of the perceived 'biases' that were included in William Manchester's 'Death Of A President'.

The Manchester v Bishop contest was predicated on how the former had portrayed LBJ and his actions in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. The rivalry between the two authors and their books actually made for a great story in itself - see 'The Manchester Affair' by John Corry.

Still, that aside, how does Bishop's work match up to Manchester's?

In this reviewer's opinion it doesn't fare very well. It contains far too many irritating factual errors to be regarded as 'authoritative'. In themselves these errors aren't huge but the cumulative effect is.

Written in the 'ticking-clock' style that Bugliosi so skilfully employed in his superb 'Reclaiming History', Bishop attempts to chronicle the first twenty-four hours of that fateful weekend.

His treatment of the Tippit and Oswald killings is pretty scant and superficial.

Some of the narrative is quite good - but by 1968, Bishop had had plenty of time to assemble his story from a vast array of already published sources. Actually, that's what makes the aforementioned 'errors' especially irritating - they need not have been made at all given the availability of reliable material.

In short, this isn't the best 'assassination book' ever written. For scope and detail, 'Death Of A President' and 'Reclaiming History' are unbeatable.

Barry
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Format: Hardcover
I have read this book and have been amazed by the inaccuracies and downright untruths contained therein. Of course the fact that Johnson sought Bishop out and commissioned him to write this snow job of a "book" speaks volumes of what you can or cannot expect from Bishop's "account" of what happened on 22nd November 1963. According to Bishop Oswald did it.
Oswald shot JFK and Tippit. Bishop paints LBJ as the faithful servant of his 'chieftain' JFK. Bishop obviously did not consult with Bobby Kennedy on this point. Bobby could have told Bishop that Johnson hated his brother the President with a vengeance! LBJ was fond of making fun of JFK with his Texan buddies. For some reason LBJ made great fun of JFK's ankles and would hold up his 'index and thumb' joined in a derisory circle. Bobby heard of these stories and is quoted as saying: " I knew LBJ hated the President but I never knew he hated him that much! " Gore Vidal, the American writer, has told the story related to him by his close friend relation Jackie Kennedy. Jackie told Vidal that when she went into Trauma Room 1 unexpectedly she found Johnson standing over JFK's dead body chuckling. There is one omission from the book which astounds me: Roger Craig - deputy sheriff in the Dallas PD does not warrant a mention - not even in the index! I wonder why? Perhaps because Roger was one of - if not the only Dallas policeman who attempted to find out what exactly had happened on 22nd November 1963. Johnson actually sought Bishop out and asked him to write this book.

Bishop has written the Warren Commission version of what happened in narrative form.

Not a good book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 31 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A gripping account of that fateful day in Dallas..... 19 Nov. 2003
By Alex Diaz-Granados - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Over the past 40 years, no event in American history has been so scrutinized or conjectured about than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Millions of words have been written about that tragic day in Dallas: Some point the finger of blame solely at Lee Harvey Oswald, while others weave a confusing web of conspiracy theories that accuse the Mafia, French criminals, Fidel Castro, anti-Castro Cuban exiles and/or militarists in the government who wanted to expand America's role in Vietnam.
One of the best books on the Kennedy assassination is the late Jim Bishop's gripping The Day Kennedy Was Shot, a detailed hour-by-hour account of the events of November 22, 1963, starting with the President's 7:00 AM wake-up at Fort Worth's Hotel Texas and ends 20 hours later in Washington, DC. Bishop follows all the major players -- JFK, Jackie, Lyndon B. Johnson, Oswald, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby -- and eyewitnesses -- Helen Ganss, an elderly Ft. Worth widow who had been allowed to stay at the Hotel Texas even when the other guests were moved out by the Secret Service; Linnie Mae Randall, an Irving, Texas housewife who, while washing the dishes in her kitchen, she "saw Lee Harvey Oswald, bare head down, coming up Fifth Street with a long package in his hand. He held the fat part under his arm; the tapered end was pointing at the sidewalk. The rain didn't seem to bother him. He walked steadily, up Fifth, across the corner lot, toward Mrs. Randall's garage. She kept watching him, a dark, pretty woman with shoulder-length black hair. By rote, she set the dishes upright in the drain."
John F. Kennedy had less than six hours left to live, of course, but while turning the pages of Bishop's 1968 book one feels the tension building up with each seemingly mundane detail (such as Mrs. Randall's dishes). The reader knows that once the President's party leaves the Hotel Texas for Carswell Air Force Base to board Air Force One for that short hop to Love Field, his fate is sealed.
Bishop, working from various sources despite Mrs. Kennedy's attempts to block publication of his book, describes every minute detail of those tragic 20 hours -- from the rainy weather over Texas to the bloodstained pink dress that Jackie Kennedy wore throughout that horrible day -- in crisp and clear prose.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Compelling Details 14 April 2000
By Steven Gregg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a compelling book for assassination buffs such as myself, full of rich detail. I have lived in Fort Worth and Dallas, where Kennedy spent his last day, and the torrent of detail that spills out of this narrative animates the sites which I have visited so many times. There is this terrible mounting suspense as the main characters chitchat because you know what is going to happen. When Jack turns to Jackie and tells her to take her sunglasses off as they cross Turtle Creek in Dallas, a spot I've driven across many times, you fairly want to jump up and shout, "SCREW THE GLASSES! STOP THE CAR AND GET OUT! THERE'S A MAN WITH A RIFLE AROUND THE CORNER WHO IS GOING TO KILL YOU!" But they keep on going and there is no stopping them from driving on or you from reading through to the bitter end.
What separates Bishop's account of the day from Manchester's account of the day is the Kennedy family's support of Manchester and their lack of support of Bishop. Consequently, Bishop is more apt to relate events that would be buffed out of any account edited by the Kennedys. You get much more of a raw look at the events. For example, Kennedy viciously chews out an Air Force general because the weather forecast was wrong, leading Jackie to dress too warmly in her pink wool outfit. The Kennedys would have edited out this petty bullying.
Bishop also has a good feel for Oswald's mother, Marquerite, and Jack Ruby, both of whom were flaky to the point of insanity. Bishop could have delved a little deeper into Marquerite, a thoroughly annoying character. Once you understand Marquerite, you see where the madness began with Lee Harvey. Bishop also gives good insight into Jack Ruby, a major flake, by simply following him around as he weasels his way into the local action at fires, radio stations, and police stations with packages of sandwiches.
My only criticism is that Bishop did not pay as careful attention to getting the details correct as I would have liked. For example, he calls a KC-135 aircraft that flew a fragment of Kennedy's skull from Fort Worth to DC a "K-135." He says that the gun that Jack Ruby used to shoot Oswald was chrome plated. I've seen it on display in Dallas. It has a dull black finish like most handguns.
However, even with those types of errors, this is the second best book on JFK's assassination, right behind Gerald Posner's account. I could not put it down. It pulled me along until I finished and then I wished it had gone on further.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
"I Was There"--But Jim Bishop Took Me Back 28 Feb. 2000
By "frankkr" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jim Bishop is an outstanding writer and his format using hours of the day (i.e., 7:00 am, 8:00 am, etc.) took you to where everyone was at that time--Lee, JFK, the FBI Agent responsibile for Oswald, Jackie, the football, Ruby, etc,. His research was in-depth and made you never question its validity. I lived in Dallas when this event took place, but was too young to know what was happening. Jim Bishop took back to Dallas on that day and gave me more than I ever expected to receive from the book. This book will make you feel like a history buff. His excellent writing ability led me to purchase another of his books--"The Day Lincoln was Shot"--This one is "Ditto".
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
An Hour-By-Hour Account Of November 22, 1963 1 Mar. 2005
By David Von Pein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"THE DAY KENNEDY WAS SHOT" was written by Jim Bishop and provides some fascinating insights into the last day of President John F. Kennedy's life.

My copy of Mr. Bishop's ultra-detailed book is a 1983 hardcover edition, 713 pages in length. The book is divided into four major sections, chronicling the events of November 22, 1963, in practically minute-by-minute fashion (beginning at 7:00 AM CST). The four sections are labelled: "The Morning Hours", "The Afternoon Hours", "The Evening Hours", and "The Midnight Hours".

Many bits and pieces of little-known trivia concerning JFK's last day can be accessed through this compelling volume. Such as: Mr. Kennedy's last breakfast consisted of the following fare .... Two eggs (boiled for precisely five minutes), toast (with marmalade on the side), orange juice, and a large pot of coffee.

Throughout the book, Mr. Bishop supports the Single-Bullet Theory (SBT) and advocates the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin on November 22nd, which is a point-of-view that I agree with wholeheartedly. There are, however, a few portions of the book that I disagree with and fail to understand (especially from a "Lone Assassin" standpoint). Such as:

I find Mr. Bishop's account of the first (missed) rifle shot somewhat curious, given what we can see JFK doing after this shot via the Zapruder Film. Bishop has the first shot missing the car's occupants, striking the concrete of Elm Street to the right rear of the Presidential limousine; this bullet causes "dust" and "concrete chips" to fly up off the street (noticed by at least one witness in Dealey Plaza -- Mrs. Donald S. Baker). Bishop's book claims (on Page 172) that Mrs. Baker "saw the spray and pulled back". Mrs. Baker's Warren Commission testimony does confirm this.

However, this first missed shot, according to Bishop's book, is also what causes President Kennedy to stop waving as the President (supposedly) actually FEELS (per Bishop's text) the effects of this missed shot, being peppered (similar to bystander James Tague on this very SAME shot) in the face with debris. This "peppering" in the face causes JFK to raise his arms up to his face in an automatic protective motion.

Mr. Bishop does not "line up", or correspond, his version of events with the Zapruder film frames (which is unfortunate here), so we can only guess as to exactly WHEN on the Z-Film this first (missed) shot occurs via Bishop's narrative.

But this version by Mr. Bishop (although very close to what I believe occurred) is probably incorrect in a few respects. One of which is the fact that (on the Z-Film) we can easily see that the President continues to wave after such a "Jim Bishop first shot which peppered JFK in the face" had to have occurred.

JFK is still waving and smiling to the crowd on his right as late as Z188 (or so), which is just two seconds away from what is the "SBT Frame" (Z224) -- obviously not enough time for Oswald to shoot twice with his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.

Then there's Mr. Bishop's more detailed account on Page 173 of what happened --- "The President of the United States, feeling the tiny grains hit his face, began to lift both hands upward in fright. He, perhaps better than anyone in the Plaza, understood the import: he had felt the sandy grains on his skin and he had heard the sound he feared."

If JFK had FELT "concrete spray" on his face well BEFORE Z188 (which he would have HAD to in an "Oswald is the Lone Assassin" scenario), I have a problem with seeing him still smiling and still waving as late as the Z180s.

It's quite difficult to reconcile this account of the first shot in another way too. That being -- how could a missed shot that chipped concrete in the street to the REAR of the President's car send shards/fragments of concrete up and into a location to where JFK's face would be hit by them? Seems to me, in this scenario, Mr. Kennedy would have been struck on the back of his head/body, and not his "face". (Of course, in reality, the "JFK felt the concrete" account is all pure conjecture and just a wild guess on Mr. Bishop's part; and to add in these obviously-speculative remarks in his book -- when such a thing cannot possibly be proven, even remotely so -- is a bit too MUCH speculation regarding the matter, IMHO.)

And: I also have a problem with Mr. Bishop's first-shot account (overall), in that he has this SAME shot that peppered the President in the face also rocketing across the Plaza and nicking James Tague as well. (In ADDITION, this same missile MUST have also done the damage to the street curb that we've seen in photos, which shows a "fresh" bullet mark on the curb by Tague.)

Could this SAME bullet have struck the street (to the RIGHT REAR of the limo, per Bishop's account), and still have ricocheted in the correct direction to strike Tague and leave the obvious "bullet" mark on the curb?

For such a well-researched and highly-detailed account of events, I find a few errors very odd and it's a bit hard to believe they sneaked through into the final finished edition of the book. .....

Such as: Misspelling (badly) Charles Brehm's name. Bishop has him represented as "Charles Brend" in his only reference to Brehm in the volume. And he also has another mistake re. Brehm -- claiming that Brehm was "holding his five-year-old boy up to see the President" as the motorcade passed Brehm's position. This, of course, is wrong as well. Brehm was clapping the whole time, and was not "holding up" his son at all. Bishop also says Brehm was "on the sidewalk", which is also incorrect. There was no sidewalk where Brehm was standing; only grass. Small trivial errors, but noticeable nonetheless.

And then there's also a minor error in the book pertaining to when Nellie Connally made her "You can't say Dallas doesn't love you" statement to President Kennedy just before the shooting. The book claims that this statement was made AFTER the Elm St. turn -- which is inaccurate. Nellie said this just after the Main-to-Houston Street turn (with photos even showing JFK leaning in towards Mrs. Connally on Houston St. to accept her words more clearly).

"The Day Kennedy Was Shot" is riveting reading, however. I enjoyed it greatly, except for a few minor mistakes. While reading Mr. Bishop's text, you get the feeling of going back in time, back to *before* that awful noon in Dealey Plaza, when the President was gunned down in the middle of the street. If only the reader of this book could somehow freeze the clock at 12:29 PM on November 22nd, and keep the horrible event of one minute later from occurring. But, sadly, the simple act of closing this book when you get to Page 177 (the head shot that killed the President) won't stop the assassination from taking place. Too bad such "magical" powers don't exist.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Trip Down Memory 26 July 2003
By C. Ellen Connally - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Since Nov. 1963 thousands of books have been written about the events of the 22nd. Forty years later it's interesting to look back.
In preparation for a trip to Dallas, I read THE DAY KENNEDY WAS SHOT. As the owner of many, many books on JFK and the assassination and a real Kennedy buff, I had a lot to chose from. In fact, I had started Manchester's NOVEMBER 1963.
If you want a real feel for the time period and the chaos of that terrible day in Dallas, I would recommend Bishop. For those of us who loved John Kennedy, it's refreshing to read about JFK with out the comments about his womanizing. You see him as a loving family man with a totally devoted staff. In some respects I probably learned more details that I wanted to know. If you want to read about the autopsy and the embalming and all the minor details of the day, this should be your pick. YOu find that lots of people are shown to clay feet, especially Jackie.
Even if you are a conspiracy buff, it's interesting to see the roots of some of the theories that emerged over the next 40 years. For instance, I found the comments about the relationship between Jackie and Bobbie interesting because some years ago someone alleged that they had an affair after JFK's death.
The descriptions of the blacks in the tale are interesting. Comments are made like "a Negro man..." But this was 1963. I did however think that Bishop glorified JFK's civil rights record.
If you want to feel "The Way We Were" in 1963 and the real personal tradegy of the day read this book. JFK lost his life, but a nation lost its innocence. His staff and cabinet lost a friend and cause. It's excellent background for anyone interested in JFK and his tragic death.
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