1 Introduction

On Friday, 22 November 1963 President John E Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Accompanied by his wife Jacqueline Kennedy, he was in Texas on a two-day tour that was designed to heal a rift in the Democratic party in the region, and as an early part of his campaign for re-election in 1964. Having made a grand arrival by presidential jet at Dallas Love Field airport from their previous stop in Forth Worth (even though it was only thirty miles by car), Kennedy and his wife were greeted by a surprisingly enthusiastic crowd on the sunny November day with bright blue skies (see fig. 1.1). Mrs Kennedy had kept out of the public limelight for several months since the death of her newborn baby in August 1963, and so was delighted to find that the Texas public greeted her warmly. The motorcade route was scheduled to pass through downtown on its way to the Dallas Trade Mart, where Kennedy was to deliver a speech at lunchtime. Despite fears that Dallas would give the liberal president a hostile welcome (only a month before, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson had been jostled and spat on by a Dallas crowd), the motorcade was cheered by a large crowd as it proceeded through downtown Dallas. Just as the president's open-top limousine – also carrying Jackie beside JFK, with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie Connally in the jump seats, and two secret service agents in the driving seats – was entering Dealey Plaza at the edge of the downtown district before the freeway to the Trade Mart began, several shots rang out at 12.30 p.m. (Central Standard Time). Kennedy was hit in the back and throat, Connally was wounded in the chest, wrist and thigh, and then, as the limousine slowed down with no one quite seeming to realise what was happening, a final shot exploded Kennedy's head. Jackie Kennedy began to crawl over the rear of the car, supposedly trying to rescue fragments of her husband's skull, but Secret Service Agent Clint Hill who had been in the follow-up vehicle leapt up onto the presidential limousine and pushed the First Lady back into the seat as the car picked up

-1-

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The Kennedy Assassination
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • Series Editors' Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: Journalism 9
  • 3: History 23
  • 4: The Official Version 42
  • 5: The Unofficial Version 75
  • 6: Literature 105
  • 7: Visual Culture and Film 133
  • Conclusion 162
  • Further Reading 165
  • Bibliography 167
  • Index 175
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