The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

by James L. Swanson

Scholastic Press
October 2013

Ages 12 – 18 . Grades 7 – 12

Library of Congress: 2012041167

Lexile measure: 1080L


Guided Reading: Z+



In his new young-adult book on the Kennedy assassination, James Swanson will transport readers back to one of the most shocking, sad, and terrifying events in American history. As he did in his bestselling Scholastic YA book, CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER, Swanson deploys his signature "you are there" style -- a riveting, ticking-clock pace, with an unprecedented eye for dramatic details and impeccable historical accuracy -- to tell the story of the JFK assassination as it has never been told before.

The book is illustrated with archival photos, diagrams, source notes, bibliography, places to visit, and index.
James L. Swanson

James L. Swanson is the award-winning author of the bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. His other books include Chasing Lincoln's Killer, an adaptation of Manhunt for young adults, and his follow-up, "The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy", which was a finalist for the YALSA-ALA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award. He has held a number of government and think-tank posts in Washington, D.C.



    An ALA Best Books for Young Adults

    BOOKLIST Notable Children's Book

    Recommended as one of the top children's books about Lincoln by AMERICAN HISTORY MAGAZINE.

    * "The YA version of Swanson's bestselling MANHUNT this account of Lincoln's assassination and the twelve-day search for his killer reads like a historical thriller. . . . Abundant period photographs and documents enhance the book's immediacy."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

    * "Divided into fourteen chapters and an epilogue, the sentences are shorter and chapters are condensed from the original but the rich details and suspense are ever present, . . . It is a tale of intrigue and an engrossing mystery. With the approaching bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this is a most welcome addition to all libraries."--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

  • YALSA-ALA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award Finalist

    "Swanson brings the same immediacy and thrillerlike tension he achieved in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer to this harrowing account of the Kennedy assassination (an adult version, End of Days, will be published later this year). As the subtitle suggests, Swanson concentrates on the buildup to and aftermath of the Dallas shooting on November 22, 1963. After a quick overview of Kennedy’s ascent to and first years in office (including the Bay of Pigs and the Space Race), he shifts between Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald in the days before and after the assassination. Swanson doesn’t avoid the horrific details of the shooting, and he’s open about the failings of well-meaning officials and staffers in the wake of the shooting. There’s no danger of uncovering any sympathy for Oswald, painted by Swanson as “a complaining, self-pitying, attention-seeking, temperamental, impoverished idealogue.” The book’s meticulous design incorporates numerous diagrams and b&w period photographs, and extensive source notes back up Swanson’s work. Even the simple decision to title the book’s chapters by date emphasizes how, in the span of just a few days, America changed irrevocably." - Publishers Weekly starred review


--- - ! '"The president was running late. The handshaking at Love Field, plus the two stops for the clever children and the admiring nuns, had put him at least five or ten minutes behind schedule. Oswald waited by the window. Whenever his eyes searched Houston Street for the first signs of the motorcade, he was careful to not hold the rifle high in his hands. Someone on the ground might see him and warn the authorities.

Finally, the police motorcycles, their red lights flashing, and trailed by the lead car carrying the Dallas chief of police, reached the corner of Main and Houston and then turned right onto Houston. The Texas School Book Depository stood one block ahead. Oswald saw the motorcycles first. Then he saw the police chief''s white car. Then he spotted what he had been waiting for--the big, gleaming, midnight-blue limousine carrying the president of the United States. And from the moment Oswald saw that car turn onto Houston Street, he knew with 100 percent certainty that one of its six occupants had to be John F. Kennedy. If Oswald fixed his gaze on the car, he must have noticed in the distance what appeared to be an unusually bright pinpoint of color toward the rear of the vehicle. It was Jacqueline Kennedy, her pink suit and pill box hat glowing like a signal beacon. And right next to her sat the president."'