"The President Has Been Shot!": The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

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Overview

A remarkable adventure by award-winning author Matthew J. Kirby brings a fantastical American West filled with secrets and spies and terrifying creatures to vivid life.

In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a metallic airship, the members of the ...

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Overview

A remarkable adventure by award-winning author Matthew J. Kirby brings a fantastical American West filled with secrets and spies and terrifying creatures to vivid life.

In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a metallic airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America.
THE LOST KINGDOM is an epic journey filled with marvelous exploits, courage and intrigue, and a bold reimagining of a mythical America. Matthew J. Kirby brings his signature storytelling prowess and superb craft to this astonishing story of fathers and sons, the beginnings of a nation, and wonder-filled adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
11/18/2013
Will Patton turns in a winning performance in this audio edition of Swanson's YA history of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The author presents a thorough and gripping account of the assassination of the 35th president of the United States, covering everything from Kennedy's early years and the Cuban Missile Crisis to a detailed account of the terrible events that took place in Dallas on Friday, November 22, 1963. Patton's reading is clean, well paced, and demands listener attention from the very beginning. The narrator's voice has an edge to it—one that hints at the tragedy that is soon to befall Kennedy—and Patton wisely refrains from doing an impression of JFK when reading lines from the president's famous speeches. This audiobook will serve young listeners as an excellent introduction to one of the saddest chapters in American history. A Scholastic hardcover. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

Praise for CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER

An ALA Best Books for Young Adults
BOOKLIST Notable Children's Book
Recommended as one of the top children's books about Lincoln by AMERICAN HISTORY MAGAZINE.

* "The YA version of Swanson's bestselling MANHUNT this account of Lincoln's assassination and the twelve-day search for his killer reads like a historical thriller. . . . Abundant period photographs and documents enhance the book's immediacy."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

* "Divided into fourteen chapters and an epilogue, the sentences are shorter and chapters are condensed from the original but the rich details and suspense are ever present, . . . It is a tale of intrigue and an engrossing mystery. With the approaching bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this is a most welcome addition to all libraries."--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

From the Publisher

Praise for ICEFALL Winner of the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery Winner of the 2012 PEN Center Literary Award A 2012 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection A New York Public Library 100 Books for Reading and Sharing Selection Winner of the Judy Lopez Memorial Award

"[A] taut, compelling mystery and survival story." -BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS

"[A] claustrophobic, thought-provoking coming-of-age adventure that shows a young woman growing into her own, while demonstrating the power of myth and legend." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Elegant and exciting." -BOOKLIST

"A well-crafted story rich with emotion and intrigue. A thoroughly engaging read!" -Brandon Mull, bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series

"Clear, lively, exciting, and unstoppable as the torrent of meltwater from a glacier, ICEFALL confirms Matthew Kirby as one of our finest new writers for young adults. Readers of any age may be enthralled by the bitter Nordic winter setting and the story of a girl who needs a lot of courage to discover who she is." -Ursula K. Le Guin, acclaimed author of the Earthsea Cycle

Praise for THE CLOCKWORK THREE
"In this riveting historical fantasy . . . debut novelist Kirby has assembled all the ingredients for a rousing adventure, which he delivers with rich, transporting prose." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

"[M]emorable characters, hearty action, and palpable atmospherics." -BOOKLIST

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/02/2013
Swanson brings the same immediacy and thrillerlike tension he achieved in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer to this harrowing account of the Kennedy assassination (an adult version, End of Days, will be published later this year). As the subtitle suggests, Swanson concentrates on the buildup to and aftermath of the Dallas shooting on November 22, 1963. After a quick overview of Kennedy’s ascent to and first years in office (including the Bay of Pigs and the Space Race), he shifts between Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald in the days before and after the assassination. Swanson doesn’t avoid the horrific details of the shooting, and he’s open about the failings of well-meaning officials and staffers in the wake of the shooting. There’s no danger of uncovering any sympathy for Oswald, painted by Swanson as “a complaining, self-pitying, attention-seeking, temperamental, impoverished idealogue.” The book’s meticulous design incorporates numerous diagrams and b&w period photographs, and extensive source notes back up Swanson’s work. Even the simple decision to title the book’s chapters by date emphasizes how, in the span of just a few days, America changed irrevocably. Ages 12–up. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Praise for CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER

An ALA Best Books for Young Adults
BOOKLIST Notable Children's Book
Recommended as one of the top children's books about Lincoln by AMERICAN HISTORY MAGAZINE.

* "The YA version of Swanson's bestselling MANHUNT this account of Lincoln's assassination and the twelve-day search for his killer reads like a historical thriller. . . . Abundant period photographs and documents enhance the book's immediacy."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

* "Divided into fourteen chapters and an epilogue, the sentences are shorter and chapters are condensed from the original but the rich details and suspense are ever present, . . . It is a tale of intrigue and an engrossing mystery. With the approaching bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this is a most welcome addition to all libraries."--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

"Swanson brings the same immediacy and thrillerlike tension he achieved in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer to this harrowing account of the Kennedy assassination (an adult version, End of Days, will be published later this year). As the subtitle suggests, Swanson concentrates on the buildup to and aftermath of the Dallas shooting on November 22, 1963. After a quick overview of Kennedy’s ascent to and first years in office (including the Bay of Pigs and the Space Race), he shifts between Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald in the days before and after the assassination. Swanson doesn’t avoid the horrific details of the shooting, and he’s open about the failings of well-meaning officials and staffers in the wake of the shooting. There’s no danger of uncovering any sympathy for Oswald, painted by Swanson as “a complaining, self-pitying, attention-seeking, temperamental, impoverished idealogue.” The book’s meticulous design incorporates numerous diagrams and b&w period photographs, and extensive source notes back up Swanson’s work. Even the simple decision to title the book’s chapters by date emphasizes how, in the span of just a few days, America changed irrevocably." - Publishers Weekly starred review

Children's Literature - Sharon M. Himsl
Swanson gives a fascinating account of the events and people leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in Dallas, Texas in 1963. Intimate and surprising details are provided that take readers back in time to that fateful November day and its aftermath. But few it seemed were worried that day. Security was limited. At forty-three, John F. Kennedy was America's youngest elected president (1960) and his pretty wife Jacqueline Bouvier (Jackie) was younger still by twelve years. Although JFK was elected by a slim margin, the Kennedy family soon captured America with their youthful charm. Swanson calls it the "Kennedy mystique." JFK had become "a youthful symbol of a new era of American optimism and spirit." However, he also proved to be a worthy leader. In less than three years JFK had dealt with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, prevented a Russian missile attack, made landing on the moon a goal, achieved the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, spoke out for freedom and against communism at the Berlin Wall, and addressed America's growing problem of racial inequality among blacks. So as the Kennedy couple embarked on a Texas campaign trip in 1963, they were hopeful a second term would follow. But in the excitement of the moment an assassin's bullet awaited them instead, that of Lee Harvey Oswald. Swanson presents the facts and what little is known about Oswald, of his personal life, family, and possible motivations. Then when the assassination takes place, Swanson carefully describes Jackie's painful ordeal and heartfelt demands that dictated the funeral and how her husband would be remembered. New readers of JFK history will find Swanson's ?you are there' account both shocking and memorable. Photos, resources for further study, detailed building diagrams and more are provided. Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
VOYA - Alicia Abdul
In the vein of Swanson's young adult adaptions Bloody Times: The Funeral Of Abraham Lincoln And The Manhunt For Jefferson Davis (HarperCollins, 2010/Voya June 2010) and Chasing Lincoln's Killer (Scholastic, 2009/Voya December 2008), he again succeeds in the narrative nonfiction genre animating history for teens. With an introduction to Lee Harvey Oswald's past, as well as John F. Kennedy's rise to power and eventual presidency, the story is centered on the assassination, building suspense with rich descriptions, photographs, diagrams, and thoughtful chronological plotting. Swanson includes references to conspiracy theorists, possible motives, and the missteps taken by both Kennedy and his security detail during this time so as to present the material evenly. Once the gritty assassination occurs, Swanson then details the actions of Jackie Kennedy, successor Lyndon Johnson, and the assassin, and finally concludes the book with Oswald's murder and Kennedy's funeral. So much detail is packed into its pages that it begs to be shared, read, discussed, and dissected. It is as much a thriller as it is about romance, psychology, and politics. Swanson charms readers with mesmerizing, little-known facts, making readers the experts and inspiring them to become historians and inquirers. With appreciative readers, the hope is that Swanson will continue to publish for teens, with this latest being a valuable addition. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
Gr 6 Up—Swanson's title reads like a thriller, with intense pacing and an engaging narrative. The event is not depicted as dry, textbook history, but rather as a horrifying and shocking crime. Full- and double-page photographs of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, and stills from the famous Zapruder film-which captured the assassination in real time-breathe emotion into the work. Kennedy's and Oswald's backgrounds are illuminated as the narrative descends toward their tragic connection. A well-illustrated map of Dealey Plaza detailing the President's route clarifies the position of relevant buildings and features at the time of the assassination. This book is graphic with respect to both images and verbage. Swanson provides a compelling case for Oswald as a lone gunman, arguing against the various and popular conspiracy theories. A diagram of the infamous "magic bullet" illustrates how a single bullet could cause multiple wounds for both JFK and Governor Connally. Despite the great number of books on Kennedy's assassination, this volume stands out for its gripping storytelling style and photographic documentation.—Jeffrey Meyer, Mount Pleasant Public Library, IA
School Library Journal - Audio
12/01/2013
Gr 7 Up—Marking the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, Swanson's compelling book (Scholastic, 2013) combines riveting narration by Will Patton with excerpts from Kennedy's speeches. Listeners learn about the president's early life, family background, his heroic service during World War II, and his time in the House and the Senate. After narrowly defeating Richard Nixon in 1960, JFK moved into the Oval Office and was tested by the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. By fall of 1963, Kennedy had finally hit his stride and grown into the office. Ready to start campaigning for his 1964 re-election, Kennedy planned his fateful trip to Dallas. Swanson and Patton keep listeners on the edge of their seats with minute-by-minute details about the motorcade's route through Dallas and Lee Harvey Oswald's perch atop the Texas Schoolbook Depository. Though most listeners will already know the sad outcome, it's almost impossible to stop listening to Patton lay it out. A masterfully told piece of history.—Bernie Morrissey, The Harker School, San Jose, CA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
Readers coming cold to this book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy will learn a great deal about the crime but much less about the man who died. Swanson devotes a scant 20 pages to the issues that dominated Kennedy's presidency before describing "the Kennedy mystique." In his telling, John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy come through as very human figures (albeit ones without weaknesses), who cast a bright light on national, global and political landscapes. His telling is almost hagiographic. The assassination and its aftermath occupy the heart of the book, the writing often straining to pull at heartstrings. This is particularly evident when describing Jackie Kennedy's actions before and during the funeral. Of course she was bereft--but strong enough to plan the entire observance down to the eternal flame on the grave. As for Lee Harvey Oswald, Swanson asks many gratuitous questions about what made him kill before admitting that neither he nor others know. Why ask? In the epilogue, Swanson waxes purple, stating that "Oswald struck from the shadows. Then he robbed us of the rest of the story." Well, what about Jack Ruby? Although the narrative verges on mythmaking, the many, many photographs and diagrams give the volume some value. Readers wishing for a more restrained, neutral, journalistic treatment should stick with Wilborn Hampton's Kennedy Assassinated: The World Mourns (1997). (source notes, further reading, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545537858
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Sales rank: 1,399,409
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed author of the middle-grade novels ICEFALL, which won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, and THE CLOCKWORK THREE. He was born in Utah and grew up in Maryland, California, and Hawaii. He and his wife live in northern Idaho, where he is working on his next novel. Visit his website at matthewjkirby.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    A great historical book

    This book is awesome! It not only tells the story of the assassination, but it also has multiple photos, maps, and diagrams that help the reader further understand what took place. Perfect for any history lover, escpecially if you're a kid.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    Sad

    I hate the ass hole that shot kenedy

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    ?

    Chasing lincon's killer was so good.the author is very good.i hope i can read it

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Number 2

    He was number two!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Appropriate for grades 7-12, this wonderful book has lots of app

    Appropriate for grades 7-12, this wonderful book has lots of appeal for teen readers--short chapters, plenty of photographs, and easy-to-read maps that help tell the fascinating story.  The majority of the book relates details of those four days in November 1963 when panic and uncertainty were the norms for many Americans.  The placement of black-and-white photos, from the well-known shots of John, Jr. saluting his father's casket and of the fatal shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald to a series of photographs taken quickly  in succession after JFK was shot, go a long way in giving readers an understanding of the events of the day.  Noteworthy is the "Diagrams, Photos, and Illustrations" section at the end of the book; so too are the source  notes for each section.  Simply superb!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Awsome

    This authur is so good know i need to read "Bloody Times"

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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