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The Assassination of JFK

Published: 11/13/2013
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The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Photo by Art Rickerby/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

On Nov. 22, 1963, our world changed. A nation filled with optimism for a decade filled with progress and equality was abruptly plunged into despair when our president, the young and charismatic John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. The tone of the times darkened, and we were left with a permanent stain on our history.

Of all the tumultuous events to shape the history of the United States, perhaps JFK's assassination is the least understood. In most other cases – the wars we've engaged in, the major deaths, the financial struggles – we know the root causes. There are no secrets, no black holes at the center of the story. But when it comes to the death of John F. Kennedy, we don't know the whole truth. Theories abound, but we can't say with certainty which to rely on. This has the dual effect of both frustrating us and keeping us endlessly fascinated with the subject.

Fifty years later, conspiracy theorists still search for the missing thread that will connect the tragic day's events and give us a definitive answer.  Movies and TV shows and books explore the former president's life and death, looking for clues or offering their own theories as the previously unknown truth. Amateur historians debate endlessly online, filling every corner of the Web with sites and pages and threads devoted to JFK.

Maybe someday we will learn the whole truth of what happened on Nov. 22, 1963. For now, we offer a selection of readings about the fateful day that changed the future.

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