Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald’s Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Priscilla Johnson McMillan, Author, Joseph Finder, Foreword by
Priscilla Johnson McMillan. Steerforth, $23 trade paper (672p) ISBN 978-1-58642-216-5
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 08/06/2013
Hardcover - 527 pages - 978-0-06-012953-8
Ebook - 499 pages - 978-1-58642-217-2
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This classic of the JFK assassination literature, originally published in 1977 and now reissued for the 50th anniversary of the murder, presents a searching wife’s-eye view of a killer’s curdling mind. Journalist McMillan, who knew Kennedy and met Oswald, mines extensive interviews with Oswald’s wife, Marina, to paint a harrowing portrait of their marriage and his character. The improbable romance moves from the Soviet Union, where the misfit Marina gravitated to the glamorous American defector and his rare private apartment—the pressure-cooker tensions of overcrowded housing are a crucial element of the saga—to Texas, where a spiral of poverty, marital violence, and political delusions climaxed in bloodshed. McMillan’s narrative unfolds like a Russian novel with an American ending, a tale of galling social constraints, claustrophobic relationships and thwarted ambitions that birth a monstrous drive for self-assertion. Oswald is the most vivid of many sharply etched characters—arrogant, grandiose, calculating but feckless, his narcissism fed by Marxist dogma and Cold War paranoia, seizing a chance to shoot his way from failure to fame. McMillan’s richly detailed, bleak, heartbreaking profile proves his unfitness for any conspiracy outside his own head—and builds a compelling case for him as the demon-driven author of the Kennedy tragedy. (Sept. 1)
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