THE ZAPRUDER FILM: Reframing JFK's Assassination

David R. Wrone, Author . Univ. Press of Kansas $29.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7006-1291-8

The famous Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination lasts a grand total of 26 seconds. In this 400-page book, Wrone (professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point) dissects Zapruder's footage frame by frame, only to end up restating at length the well-worn argument, expressed much more succinctly in scores of other publications, that the film shows shots fired from three different angles, none of them correlating with Lee Harvey Oswald's perch at the Texas Book Depository. While Wrone's exhaustive consideration of the film itself quickly becomes tedious, he provides a few chapters that tell some intriguing stories, such as Zapruder's early actions in the initial hours after the assassination (when he first realized he possessed a valuable "property"), the several subsequent court fights over ownership in various sections of the film and the tangled history of the U.S. government's acquisition, decades after the event, of the film. Wrone also chronicles the various ways in which the film has been used and abused by both adherents and critics of the Warren Commission and summarizes the theory, advanced by the commission's more crackpot critics, that Zapruder's footage has been altered in order to eliminate the most damning evidence of conspiracy. Aside from these anecdotes, however, there is nothing new here, just reiteration of the scathing criticisms of the Warren Commission's conclusions. Wrone's book will appeal to only the most die-hard and detail-driven assassination buffs, though these findings by a sober historian may draw attention as we mark the 40th anniversary of the assassination. 40 photos, 22 in color. (Nov. 22)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-7006-1943-6
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