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With the full thrust of live media coverage, the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy became an unprecedented occasion for true national mourning. Within seven weeks of the President's death, his widow Jacqueline had received more than 800,000 condolences letters. (The number would mount later to 1.5 million communications.) Historian Ellen Fitzpatrick has painstakingly sorted through mounds of these missives, eventually selecting approximately 250 letters that best represent the thoughts of Americans at this historic crossroads.