President John F. Kennedy with daughter Caroline in the early 1960s (Getty Images / Photosearch)
The day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated – Nov. 22, 1963 – is a day we all know about in great detail … yet nobody really knows the full story. Theories abound, from the reasonable to the bizarre, as generations have tried to figure out who killed JFK and how they did it. Just as tantalizing is speculation about how different our world might be had Kennedy lived.
Stephen King succumbs to this temptation in his new novel, 11/22/63. A combination of time-traveling science fiction and painstakingly-researched historical novel, 11/22/63 gives its hero a chance to travel back to 1958, living in the past with the knowledge of the present. As King sets the stage for JFK's life to be saved, the reader waits and wonders what changes the act of heroism will effect on today's world.
It's a pleasant dream to imagine a world in which John F. Kennedy got to live as full a life as his brother Edward. Would the Vietnam War have escalated as it did? How might the Civil Rights Movement have played out? Who would be president today?
Stephen King has his own set of hypothetical answers … but we won't reveal them here. You'll have to read the book for yourself if you want to go beyond your own imaginings. According to general consensus of reviewers (see the reviews in The New York Times, The Telegraph and USA Today), it's worth the read.