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Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald's Assassination of John F. Kennedy

1977 nonfiction book by Priscilla Johnson McMillan; reissued in 2013

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Intimate and exhaustive.......challenges my notion as to what actually went down on that fateful Nov

  • Dec 18, 2013
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I was always on board with those who were firmly convinced that there had to have been a conspiracy in the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I had read a good many books about the subject over the decades and my assumptions about what really took place that day were never really challenged....until now. Originally released in 1977, Priscilla Johnson McMIllan's "Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald's Assassination of John F. Kennedy" has been reissued in 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the dastardly deed. After reading McMillan's exhaustive account of the topsy-turvy relationship between Marina and Lee I now have reason to believe that Oswald may indeed have acted alone. The preponderance of the evidence presented in this volume would certainly tend to lead you to that conclusion.

Most folks are probably not aware of it, but Priscilla Johnson McMillan has the distinction of being the only person on earth who knew both John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald. McMillan served on the staff of then Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy after graduation from college and actually interviewed Oswald in Moscow as a young reporter in 1959. As such, she was uniquely positioned to write this book. The author spent considerable time with Marina in 1964 and actually lived with her for several weeks while garnering Marina's most intimate and painful recollections. There is a ton of material in "Marina and Lee" that I have simply not seen anywhere else. Imagine being the widow of the assassin of an American president. Marina had to ask herself over and over again if there was anything that she could have done to prevent this tragedy. For example, Marina was aware that her husband had taken a shot at General Edwin A. Walker just a few months earlier. Marina reveals her innermost thoughts in this book while recalling the rocky relationship she had with her husband. Lee Harvey Oswald was a complicated fellow with no friends to speak of and his wife will tell you he was never very easy to get along with. Oswald's was a life characterized by rejection. He would reject his mother, the Marine Corps, the United States, the Soviet Union and for all practical purposes his wife Marina. He was a self-proclaimed Marxist who despised capitalism. In the book you will discover the people who could possibly have been an influence on him and the unlikely confluence of events that may have prompted Lee to act on November 22, 1963. Yet there was a tender side to this man. He loved his daughter. According to McMillan "Junie was the joy of Lee's life, his tie to reality, the one person, Marina thinks, with whom he came down from the clouds and behaved like a human being." Interesting stuff.

I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the length of this book....I rarely read books that are nearly 600 pages long. But I must tell you I could not put "Marina and Lee" down. Patricia Johnson McMillan managed to hold my interest from cover to cover. I found her portrait of this most unlikely couple to be extremely informative and endlessly interesting. "Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald's Assassination of John F. Kennedy" would be a great choice for assassination enthusiasts, history buffs and general readers alike. This is a meticulously documented and extremely well written book. There is a lot of food for thought here. Very highly recommended!

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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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