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November 22, 1963: The Kennedy Assassination

Updated on August 8, 2016
Stephen King's 11.22. 63. The Kennedy assassination.
Stephen King's 11.22. 63. The Kennedy assassination. | Source

The most momentous event of the twentieth century - given the superb Stephen King treatment

The author writes that he initially had the idea for this book back in the nineteen seventies. This was because, as he explains, the events were too recent in everyone's minds. Understandably.

The vital question

What would you do? If it was within your power to turn the clock back and prevent the assassination, would you? If it were possible, and history could be changed, should we? Would you go back in time?

Time travel? Aw, come on....

There are few, if any, authors who could write believably and realistically about such a nebulous and, let's face it, sci-fi subject. Only, I think, Stephen King could achieve this. And he does it with style.

A perspective on history

One of the aspects of this book I found particularly interesting is that it shows history in a way most of us never knew. For example, Jake (the schoolteacher main character) spends several years in the past. He is only able to go back to 1958 so the book weaves its way and takes us through those years until 1963.

King describes the despair of the American population during the Cuban missile crisis. To Jake, and to me and many of us, that is just a blip in history - something we learned about at school. But many Americans truly thought that this was literally the end of the world. Indeed, Jake's girlfriend (yes, there is love interest) takes an almost lethal combination of sleeping pills and booze because she too is convinced that the world was about to end.

A difficult subject

Even today there is so much controversy about what really happened in Dallas on that November day in 1963. And as Jake finds in the book, the past resists change. History is portrayed almost as an entity which malevolently tries to stay the same. Every step of the way, Jake is hindered.

And he has his own agenda too. He is a schoolteacher, not a killer. Before he will act against Lee Harvey Oswald he has to be sure that he was acting alone. Immaculate research ensured that I learned a great deal from this book.

Humor too

Despite the subject this is an enjoyable book to read - fun even. It's not all doom and gloom. Part of the fun is the way that Jake has to stay in character as his alter-ego, George Amberson. Imagine it. And yet his girlfriend Sadie is baffled by the way he calls a supermarket employee 'dude' and then there's the time he's happily singing as they are driving home - singing Honky Tonk Women, a song that wouldn't be released until 1969...


I have written about this book at more length here.

My well-read copy

See the images below. This will give you some idea of how many times I've read this book - it literally fell apart.

This book has every ingredient that a bestseller - which it is - requires. You'll love the characters, the story moves along at a great pace and the historical facts are incredibly well-researched.

Although this is a novel, you'll come away knowing a great deal more about the Kennedy assassination and about life in the nineteen fifties and early sixties.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Listen to the author talk about this book

Do you remember?

They say that everyone who was alive on that day remembers where they were when they heard the news. Do you? Let me know in the comments below.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson


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    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ibidii - good timing. It's the fifty first anniversary in a few days.

    • profile image

      Ibidii 3 years ago

      Great review Jackie. I thought I had heard of this from my kids. I will put it in my reading queue. I just wrote a Hub on 11.22.63 today.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      Great review! Put 11/22/63 on my reading list. Big fan of King. This event occurred 3 days after my 13th birthday.

    • profile image

      jponiato 4 years ago

      I too remember the assassination. I've also always been a fan of King's work, so I'm definitely going to check this one out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 4 years ago

      Congratulations to you, I too remember the assassination...I had never heard of this book but you've got my ear now.

    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Congratulations. I remember the day of the assassination. One of many historical moments in our country.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Congratulations on your big win today! Well deserved!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      Well done on the LoTD. This sounds very,very interesting. I remember this period of history all to well.

    • lgOlson profile image

      L. Olson 4 years ago from Northern Arizona

      I love Kings work, but never knew about this one...I will have to read it. Thanks for the review and congrats on your LOTD! Btw, I was in grade school during the Cuban Missile crisis, and the fear of nuclear bombs was real. We had to drill every day (as if getting under our desk would help) and I had nightmares for years and years afterwards.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Washington State

      Congrats on LOTD. Great review. Read your other page about the book. Intriguing, I want to read it now. A life changing part of history for sure.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Some events just stick to your mind and others don't. I know where I was and what I was doing when Kennedy got killed, but I don't remember anything where I was when Martin Luther King got killed. Funny thing our mind is. Congrats on the LOTD

    • sherwing profile image

      Sherwin Griffith 4 years ago from Bridgeport Connecticut United States

      Congrats. Seems like a very good book.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Congratulations on receiving the LOTD.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Excellent review. Although I'm not a Stephen King fan, you've definitely piqued my interest in this book. Perfect lens, perfect subject on this day of remembrance. Congratulations on a richly-deserved LOTD!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Living in Calif at that time and just married 6 days when I was awakened by a phone call of the devastated me, I couldn't go to work because I cried so much.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      Interesting book, I really like stories about time travel & this one about a real event is extra intriguing. I remember the day President Kennedy was shot; I was a pre-schooler living on the farm with my grandparents. We watched little TV and got the news when my uncle came home that afternoon from school. Then the TV was turned on immediately and I still remember television pictures from that day.

    • MrAusAdventure profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I absolutely loved reading this book when I read it earlier this year. It was one of those great books that make you think about the storylines and what is going to happen next when you are at work or driving your car and makes you want to get back to it to find out more. Stephen King is an amazing author, only he could twist a real life event on it's ear like he did in this story. Congrats on LOTD! :-)

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      A timely review of this interesting book. I've never forgotten where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news that the President had been shot.

    • Mommie-Moola profile image

      Mommie-Moola 4 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD

    • profile image

      mikedrake89 4 years ago

      Thought I'd check this out as its LOTD and I really enjoyed your take on the book. Very informative and you probe some good points. I'd let him die was my opinion....Back to the Future drummed 'dont change history' into me im afraid...

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      You got the LOTD on the anniversary, well done. I was still in school at the time this happened (11 years old) and I think the whole story never did come out. I was convinced at the time that he was shot from in front as well as from behind. I actually saw the video before anyone got to edit it. It was really strange how all the witnesses around the "Grassy Knoll" all died mysteriously before an investigation was ever launched, and odd how Oswald and his assassin Jack Ruby were both killed before they could speak.Would I change history? (Probably not only God should do that, if he/she exists!). This is and will probably always be one of the World's unsolved mysteries Oswald's army records show he was unlikely to hit the president at the range he would have had to, so why are we not still looking for the other shooter(s)? We are to believe he was shot from behind so why did his brains fly out backwards onto the cars trunk? The entry hole is small and the exit large (ask anyone who has been shot in action). This has never been adequately explained. I can still see the images from my youth when it happened as if it was yesterday. The skull flew backward, so he was definitely shot from in front! If a schoolboy saw that why did the experts all try to say he was shot only from behind?I was listening to the radio today and they had the FBI man on who was first on the scene and he described it exactly as I remembered it. Jackie clambered out of the car onto the trunk to try to collect the pieces and he gently pushed her back and covered the President with his jacket as he knew it was a fatal shot. Even he claimed there were only 3 shots and all came from behind. He said he only heard the first due to the noise of the motorcycles and people trying to cover the President and get help. I still do not believe the truth has come out yet. All I know was the President was hit 3 times, and the Governor once the forensic evidence wen it came out would have us believe one bullet passed through Kennedy hit something and passed through him again as well as hitting the Governor. Most arms experts dispute that probability. It is more likely that there were at least 5 shots. Oswald of course fired only 3, hence the conspiracy theories that abounded and still have not been laid to rest.If I could go back I would and video tape the action on the Grassy knoll, and the 6th floor where Oswald was supposed to have shot from. I would also interview all of those witnesses that have passed before they spoke. Then I would write the truth so that justice could be served for poor JFK and Jackie.What a well timed LOTD. I just wish we knew the truth!

    • Molly Stevens profile image

      Molly Stevens 4 years ago

      I read this book when it first came out and thought it was fascinating! Great lens!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Congrats on a very deserved LOTD!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Congrats on Lens of the day! Anxious to read the book.

    • profile image

      cafedangvamua 4 years ago

      I like it. thanks.

    • kangela1 profile image

      kangela1 4 years ago

      I read this when it first came out. Another page turner that I could not put down from King. I watched the video and I must say he did an excellent job portraying time travel. The best part was how he depicted what could happen if , somehow, we were able to change certain events and the not necessarily positive effect. Another great Stephen King story! Thanks for the lens!!!!!

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Forgot to mention, I just finished watching old movie about JFK. Thirteen days.Off to bed. Its past midnight over here.Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • jefreywarner08 profile image

      jefreywarner08 4 years ago

      bought..!!!! order in transit !!!!Thanks for sharing otherwise I would have missed this wonderful book.!!!!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD.

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Just to let you know, I came down from Twitter.These short style formats ?Thanks for info and Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image

      tonyleather 4 years ago

      I was only 13 at the time, but I remember this as if it were only yesterday, and the horror I felt at the taking of this amazing man's life.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens, I watched the Kennedy assassination last night as well.

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 4 years ago

      Can't believe I missed this book! Thanks for sharing!

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      Sounds like a very interesting book and also a bit like (but almost the opposite to) the Dead Zone, which I believe was also by the same author. - I never read the book, but watched the Christopher Walken movie when I was a teenager, a real classic. The question "what would you do if you had the chance to change history?" is a fascinating one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I read your review in the "standard" format, too. Yep, I'm buying.Again, thanks for sharing ...

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      Every word of your review is convincing me to get this one Jackie. Thanks for putting your heart and soul into these reviews.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @bobnolley lm: Thank you - I will!

    • bobnolley lm profile image

      bobnolley lm 4 years ago

      This is a great lens...I hope there is a LOTD in your future! Bee on the lookout for my SK lens around the corner.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @JoanieMRuppel54: You'll love it. It's a brilliant work of fiction but the facts are there too. Just perfect.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      I'm putting this on my list! Thanks for a great review.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @BLouw: I truly think you'll love the book. You know how they say 'I couldn't put it down'? Well, that was me :)

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      You've whetted my appetite for this one - time travel, Stephen King and a good assassination who-done-it. Kennedy is in the news just now so topical and timeless.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DANCING COWGIRL: I'm sure you'll enjoy it. You can see from the photographs how many times I've read it. In fact, I think I should do so again in view of the anniversary.

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 4 years ago from Texas

      This sounds like something I would like to read. I have read so much on the assassination.