cover image Five Days in November

Five Days in November

Clint Hill, with Lisa McCubbin. S&S/Gallery, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3149-0

What this book—whose contents we’ve waited 50 years for—lacks in artistry, it makes up for in immediacy. Hill was one of the Secret Service agents beside J.F.K.’s car at the time of his assassination, and he managed to clamber onto the trunk in an attempt to protect the chief executive and his wife. Hill continues to feel guilty over the president’s death. His account offers new, minute details of the events in Dallas and Washington, D.C., immediately before and after J.F.K.’s death. Sometimes those details are unnecessary and his precise recollection of them seems difficult to believe. But the book’s photographs—some rare, some probably never seen before—are a particular strength. Astonishingly, however, none of them is captioned, nor are any of the locations, figures, or events in them identified. This inexplicable omission is unlikely to dent the book’s appeal to aficionados of the period. But for those less knowledgeable about the Camelot era and its tragic end, the lack of captions represents a lost opportunity. (Nov.)