Book Review: The Day Kennedy Was Shot by Jim Bishop

“There are—according to my count—16,500,000 words of research material on John F. Kennedy and the amount is growing. The tan smiling figure of the President began to take on the aura of a mysterious martyr.”

Jim Bishop, The Day Kennedy Was Shot

Title: The Day Kennedy Was Shot
Author: Jim Bishop
Genres: Non-fiction, History, Politics, True Crime
Pages: 739 (Kindle)
Published: 1968

My Rating: ★★
Read: 9/21/2023 – 10/9/2023


I’ve read a number of books discussing the assassination of John F. Kennedy over the years and this book has been mentioned in a number of them. I was eager to begin given the date of publication. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize it was going to be a long 700+ pages. 

The Day Kennedy Was Shot is one of (if not the first) books to discuss the assassination at length. It looks much different than modern books on the topic though it follows the familiar step-by-step timelines. 

From page one I struggled with the writing style. The author spent too much time on frivolous details and people in the background making the entire book feel embellished and fictional. Stripped down, this could have easily been 300-400 pages and still be a full book. The facts get lost. There were a few things I retained but my brain felt like mush by the end. With the amount of conspiracy theories surrounding this moment in history, the fictionalized feel doesn’t do it any favors. 

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • Some lesser-known/discussed facts were mentioned, such as JFK’s ambiguous first marriage.

What I didn’t like:

  • The writing style. I read too much like fiction and focused on minute details that were completely unrelated to anything and perpetuated the feeling that it was a novel rather than a work of nonfiction.
  • Though told chronologically, there would be random flashbacks scattered in between.
  • There’s a section early on about how Jackie Kennedy was sobbing not wanting this book to be published. I’m aware of my hypocrisy given I continued to read the book, but personally, if someone that close to the victim asked me not to publish a book, that’s the end of the line. Fame and power don’t minimize the human life that was lost.


Thoroughly disappointed in this one. If not for it being part of a group read it would have easily been a DNF. That, and I also paid for the ebook.

Where to buy the book:

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