The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union

Peter Savodnik. Basic, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-465-02181-9
Unlike previous accounts of the man who assassinated Kennedy, which focus on whether he acted alone, journalist Savodnik here delivers a genuine biography that emphasizes the nearly three years Oswald spent in the Soviet Union and attempts to address the oft-neglected question of why he wanted to kill the President. A mildly rebellious youth whose mother never provided a stable home, Oswald joined the Marines at age 17—his service was undistinguished and men in his squadron considered him odd because he was already expressing pro-communist views. Soon after discharge, he traveled to Moscow where he requested Soviet citizenship; suspicious authorities dithered for months before assigning him a factory job in Minsk. Oswald made friends and enjoyed success with women who considered him exotic, but he became bored and dissatisfied. His marriage to Marina Prosakoba briefly improved matters, though he soon resumed efforts to return home, passing the last year and a half of his life growing increasingly irascible. Savodnik’s impressive research—which includes many Russian sources—does not turn up any revelations, but it paints an intriguing portrait of a restless, tormented soul who accomplished little in a short life until he turned himself into an infamous historical figure. Agent: Ted Weinstein, Ted Weinstein Literary Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/12/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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