Oswald's Tale:: An American Mystery

Norman Mailer, Author
Norman Mailer, Author Random House (NY) $30 (791p) ISBN 978-0-679-42535-9
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Open Ebook - 604 pages - 978-1-299-12731-9
Paperback - 864 pages - 978-0-345-40437-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-679-44296-7
Hardcover - 978-0-517-16942-1
Hardcover - 978-0-517-19539-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 664 pages - 978-1-58836-593-4
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Mailer opines that Lee Harvey Oswald was a sincere Marxist, a nihilist and an inveterate liar who was motivated to assassinate John F. Kennedy in order to shake up the world, to create the conditions for a new kind of society superior to American capitalism or Soviet-style communism. Oswald, he suggests, was quite possibly the lone gunman, or at least may have thought he was--in Mailer's scenario, there may have been other assassins present, unbeknownst to Oswald, conspirators working for some other group. His unconvincing analysis emerges from a labyrinthine pastiche of KGB and FBI transcripts, recorded dialogues, speculations, Oswald's letters and diary excerpts, and government memos. Mailer interviewed Oswald's widow, Marina, and also spent months in Minsk interviewing Oswald's Russian acquaintances and co-workers as well as KGB officers. Pretentiously applying the novelistic techniques used to better effect in The Executioner's Song, Mailer ploddingly recreates Oswald's day-to-day existence in the Soviet Union, then in New Orleans and Dallas in the months leading up to Kennedy's assassination. He hypothesizes that Oswald was a provocateur playing a double-edged game with the U.S. and Russian intelligence communities to further his own self-styled mission. Author tour. (May)
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