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Publisher's Summary

In perhaps his most important literary feat, Norman Mailer fashions an unprecedented portrait of one of the great villains - and enigmas - in United States history. Here is Lee Harvey Oswald - his family background, troubled marriage, controversial journey to Russia, and return to an "America [waiting] for him like an angry relative whose eyes glare in the heat." Based on KGB and FBI transcripts, government reports, letters and diaries, and Mailer's own international research, this is an epic account of a man whose cunning, duplicity, and self-invention were both at home in and at odds with the country he forever altered.

©1995 Norman Mailer. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, Inc, all rights reserved.

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding

Norman Mailer does a fantastic job of relating the facts and theories of the Kennedy tragedy. He weaves enthralling story of the personalities in Oswalds life. I learned many new details and got a better insight into what I already knew, about Oswald and his family. Although long I never found the book tedious. Wonderful narration.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Mailer’s Ticket to Heaven

The most interesting book I’ve encountered in over 60 years of reading. A work of enduring genius.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping. Meticulous. Never drags.

A review requires at least 15 words. I believe my heading cuts to the heart of the matter, thank you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Do Not Stop Here

What made the experience of listening to Oswald's Tale the most enjoyable?

Christopher Lane's performance, which is superb.

Would you recommend Oswald's Tale to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes — it provides some valuable perspective on Lee Harvey Oswald, the person.

Which character – as performed by Christopher Lane – was your favorite?

N/A

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

At times, yes.

Any additional comments?

I have studied the JFK assassination for over a decade and have read dozens of books over that time. Mailer's Oswald's Tale has helped to augment my research, as the book provides a valuable perspective on Lee Harvey Oswald's life and character. It succeeds as a well-researched, if incomplete, biography of an individual who remains largely unknown save for his association with the event that made him infamous.

Mailer's portrait of Oswald reveals a self-important misfit who, after repeated failures to enact his will upon society and even his family, was presented with a chance at infamy — the murder of a president — and took it. It's a believable premise. The problem, though, is that Mailer equates Oswald's disillusionment to a smoking gun, but he offers very little substantive evidence that Oswald did in fact kill the president, and that he did so alone.

Granted, much more evidence has been uncovered and disseminated since the book was published in 1995 — thanks in large part to the JFK Assassination Records Review Board which came after, but Oswald's Tale ignores most of the ballistic evidence and all of the forensic evidence that was known at the time. Instead, Mailer focuses solely on the question of whether Oswald had the capacity for the act. As if that is sufficient for conviction.

Mailer seems satisfied to make a conclusion from a character study based largely on conjecture. Reader's of Oswald's Tale would be wise to understand the evidence before making a similar leap.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • 04-23-17

The best account I have ever read

Having always been fascinated by the Kennedys, the dreadful JFK assassination has always puzzled me. I have lost count of the amount of books/articles I have read on the subject. This is, however, by far the best account. The meticulous research is incredible. The minutiae of Oswald's life is, I feel, vitally important. The cardboard characters presented by the mainstream media seem to "come alive" in the narrative. It is truly a tragic tale on so many levels. I recommend to any fellow student of the subject. I confidently predict you will not find better - if you do please let me know.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful