Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard

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A riveting historical narrative of the shocking events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the follow-up to mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln

More than a million readers have thrilled to Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, the page-turning work of nonfiction about the shocking assassination that changed the course of American history. Now the iconic anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.

In January 1961, as the Cold War escalates, John F. Kennedy struggles to contain the growth of Communism while he learns the hardships, solitude, and temptations of what it means to be president of the United States. Along the way he acquires a number of formidable enemies, among them Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Allen Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition, powerful elements of organized crime have begun to talk about targeting the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

In the midst of a 1963 campaign trip to Texas, Kennedy is gunned down by an erratic young drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes the scene, only to be caught and shot dead while in police custody.

The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. Killing Kennedy chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot, bringing history to life in ways that will profoundly move the reader. This may well be the most talked about book of the year.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781427231147
Publisher: Findaway World
Publication date: 10/28/2012
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Bill O'Reilly's success in broadcasting and publishing is unmatched. The iconic anchor of The O'Reilly Factor led the program to the status of the highest rated cable news broadcast in the nation for sixteen consecutive years. His website is followed by millions all over the world.

In addition, he has authored an astonishing 12 number one ranked non-fiction books including the historical "Killing" series. Mr. O'Reilly currently has 17 million books in print.

Bill O'Reilly has been a broadcaster for 42 years. He has been awarded three Emmy's and a number of other journalism accolades. He was a national correspondent for CBS News and ABC News as well as a reporter-anchor for WCBS-TV in New York City among other high profile jobs.

Mr. O'Reilly received two other Emmy nominations for the movies "Killing Kennedy" and "Killing Jesus."

He holds a history degree from Marist College, a masters degree in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, and another masters degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Bill O'Reilly lives on Long Island where he was raised. His philanthropic enterprises have raised tens of millions for people in need and wounded American veterans.

Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of several books of history. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three sons.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 24

NOVEMBER 22, 1963


9:45 A.M.

Crowds of eager Dallas residents stand on the curb in front of the Texas School Book Depository. The president won’t pass by for three hours, but they’ve come early to get a good spot. Best of all, it looks like the sun might come out. Maybe they’ll get a glimpse of John F. Kennedy and Jackie after all.

Lee Harvey Oswald peers out a first-floor window of the depository building, assessing the president’s route by where the crowds stand. He can clearly see the corner of Elm and Houston, where John Kennedy’s limousine will make a slow left turn. This is important to Oswald. He’s selected a spot on the depository’s sixth floor as his sniper’s roost. The floor is dimly lit by bare 60-watt lightbulbs and is currently under renovation, and thus empty. Stacks of book boxes near the window overlooking Elm and Houston will form a natural hiding place, allowing Oswald to poke his rifle outside and sight the motorcade as it makes that deliberate turn. The marksman in Lee Harvey Oswald knows that he’ll have time for two shots, maybe even three if he works the bolt quickly enough.

But one should be all he needs.


Air Force One crabs into the wind as Colonel Jim Swindal eases her down onto the runway at Dallas’s Love Field. John Kennedy is ecstatic. Peering out the windows of his airplane, he sees that the weather has turned sunny and warm and that yet another large Texas crowd is waiting to greet him. “This trip is turning out to be terrific,” he happily confides to Kenny O’Donnell. “Here we are in Dallas and it looks like everything in Texas will turn out to be fine for us!”

Police cars circle the field, and officers are even stationed on rooftops. But these are the only ominous sights at the airport. For the estimated welcoming party of two thousand are overjoyed to see Air Force One touch down, marking the first time a president has visited Dallas since 1948. Grown men stand on their tiptoes to see over the throngs in front of them. Airport personnel leave their desks inside the terminal and jostle into position near the chain-link fence separating the runway from the parking lot. The U.S. Air Force C-130 carrying the president’s armored limousine lands and opens its cargo ramp. The bubble top remains on board the plane. The convertible top is completely down. A local television newsman, who is covering the spectacle live on air, enthusiastically reports that the bubble top is nowhere in evidence and that people will be able to see the president and First Lady “in the flesh.” The reporter also reminds his audience that the president will be returning to Love Field between “2:15 and 2:30” to depart for Austin.

Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, await the president on the tarmac, as they have on every leg of the Texas trip. The vice president’s job is to stand at the bottom of the ramp and greet the president. Johnson is not happy about this assignment, but he puts on a good face as Jackie emerges from the rear door of the plane, radiant in the pink Chanel suit with the matching pillbox hat. Two steps behind, and seen in person for the first time by the people of Dallas, comes John Kennedy.

“I can see his suntan from here!” the local TV reporter gushes.

The official plan is for JFK to head straight for his limousine to join the motorcade, but instead he breaks off and heads into the crowd. Not content with merely shaking a few hands, the president pushes deep into the throng, dragging Jackie along with him. The two of them remain surrounded by this wall of people for more than a full minute, much to the crowd’s delight. Then the president and First Lady reemerge, only to wade deep into another section of crowd.

“Boy, this is something,” enthuses the local reporter. “This is a bonus for the people who have waited here!”

The president and First Lady shake hands for what seems like an eternity to their very nervous Secret Service detail. “Kennedy is showing he is not afraid,” Ronnie Dugger of the Texas Observer writes in his notebook.

Finally, John and Jackie Kennedy make their way to the presidential limousine. Awaiting them are Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie. There are three rows of seats in the vehicle. Up front is the driver, fifty-four-year-old Bill Greer. To his right sits Roy Kellerman, like Greer, a longtime Secret Service agent. Special Agent Kellerman has served on the White House detail since the early days of World War II and has protected presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and now Kennedy.

JFK sits in the backseat, on the right-hand side, patting his hair into place after his foray into the crowd. Jackie sits to his left. The First Lady was handed a bouquet of red roses upon landing in Dallas, and these now rest on the seat between her and the president.

Governor Connally sits directly in front of the president, in the middle row, known as jump seats. Connally takes off his ten-gallon hat so that the crowds can see him. Nellie sits in front of Jackie and right behind the driver, Special Agent Greer.

As the motorcade leaves Love Field at 11:55 a.m., the presidential limousine—Secret Service code name SS-100-X—is the second car in line, flanked on either side by four motorcycle escorts.

Up front is an advance car filled with local police and Secret Service, among them Dallas police chief Jesse Curry and Secret Service special agent Winston Lawson.

Behind John Kennedy’s vehicle is a follow-up convertible code-named Halfback. Kennedy’s two main members of the Irish Mafia, Dave Powers and Kenny O’Donnell, sit here, surrounded by Secret Service agents heavily armed with handguns and automatic weapons. Clint Hill, head of the First Lady’s Secret Service detail, stands on the left running board of Halfback. Special agents Bill McIntyre, John Ready, and Paul Landis also man the running boards.

Car four is a convertible limousine that has been rented locally for the vice president. Even as the vehicles pull away from Love Field, it is obvious that LBJ is angry and pouting. While every other politician in the motorcade is waving to the crowds, he stares straight forward, unsmiling.

Bringing up the rear is car five, code-named Varsity and filled with a Texas state policeman and four Secret Service agents.

Way up at the front of the motorcade, driving several car lengths in front of SS-100-X, Dallas police chief Jesse Curry is committed to making the president’s visit as incident-free as possible. The fifty-year-old chief is a lifetime law enforcement officer. In addition to working his way up through the ranks of the Dallas police, he has augmented his knowledge by attending the FBI Academy. Curry has been involved in almost every aspect of the planning for John Kennedy’s visit and is dedicating 350 men—a full third of his force—to lining the motorcade route, handling security for the president’s airport arrival, and policing the crowd at the Trade Mart speech.

However, Curry has chosen not to position any men in the vicinity of Dealey Plaza, thinking that the main crowd-control issues will take place prior to that destination. Once the motorcade turns from Houston Street and onto Elm, it goes under an overpass, turns right onto Stemmons Freeway, and through a relatively uncrowded area to the Trade Mart. Better to focus his officers on the busiest thoroughfares along the route, rather than waste them in a place where few people will be standing.

Curry has also ordered his men to face toward the street, rather than toward the crowd, thinking it wouldn’t hurt for them to see the man they’re protecting as a reward for the many long hours they will be on their feet. This ignores the example of New York City, where policemen stand facing away from the street, so they can better help the Secret Service protect the president by scanning the city’s many windows for signs of a sniper’s rifle.

But it doesn’t matter during the motorcade’s first easy miles. There is so little to do and so few people to see that a bored Jackie puts on her sunglasses and begins waving at billboards for fun. The white-collar workers along Lemmon Avenue are few in number and unexcited. They’d rather enjoy their lunch break from the IBM factory.


At the exact same moment, it’s also lunchtime at the Texas School Book Depository. Most of Lee Harvey Oswald’s coworkers have left the building, hoping to get a glimpse of the president.

Just down the block, FBI special agent James Hosty has forgotten all about investigating Lee Harvey Oswald and is just trying to make sure he gets a look at his hero, President Kennedy.

Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t bring a lunch to work today. And he doesn’t plan on eating. Instead, he moves a pile of boxes into position on the grimy sixth floor of the depository building, fashioning a well-concealed shooting nest.

At 12:24 p.m., nearly thirty minutes into the motorcade, the president’s car passes Special Agent James Hosty on the corner of Main Street and Field. The G-man gets his wish and sees Kennedy in the flesh, before spinning back around and walking into the Alamo Grill for lunch.

At 12:28 the motorcade enters a seedy downtown neighborhood. Straight ahead, the beautiful green grass of Dealey Plaza is clearly visible. The Secret Service agents are stunned by the reception the president is now receiving, with people everywhere cheering and applauding.

At 12:29 the motorcade makes the crucial sharp right-hand turn onto Houston Street. From high above, in his sixth-floor sniper’s lair, Lee Harvey Oswald sees John F. Kennedy in person for the first time. He quickly sights the Mannlicher-Carcano, taking aim through his scope as the motorcade skirts the edge of Dealey Plaza.

The crowds here are still large and enthusiastic, despite Chief Curry’s prediction that they would have thinned by this point. The people shout for Jackie and the president to look their way. As per agreement, JFK waves at the people standing in front of buildings on the right side of the road, while Jackie waves at those standing along grassy Dealey Plaza, to their left. This ensures that no voter goes without a wave.

The motorcade is just five minutes away from the Trade Mart, where Kennedy will make his speech. Almost there.

Inside the presidential limousine, Nellie Connally stops waving long enough to look over her right shoulder and smile at John Kennedy. “You sure can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you, Mr. President.”

Ironically, at that very moment, if JFK had looked up to the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, he would have seen a rifle barrel sticking out of an open window, pointed directly at his head.

But Kennedy doesn’t look up.

Nor does the Secret Service.

It is 12:30 p.m. The time has come for Special Agent Bill Greer to steer SS-100-X through the sweeping 120-degree left turn from Houston and onto Elm.


Most people live their lives as if the end were always years away. They measure their days in love, laughter, accomplishment, and loss. There are moments of sunshine and storm. There are schedules, phone calls, careers, anxieties, joys, exotic trips, favorite foods, romance, shame, and hunger. A person can be defined by clothing, the smell of his breath, the way she combs her hair, the shape of his torso, or even the company she keeps.

All over the world, children love their parents and yearn for love in return. They revel in the touch of parental hands on their faces. And even on the worst of days, each person has dreams about the future—dreams that sometimes come true.

Such is life.

Yet life can end in less time than it takes to draw one breath.

Copyright © 2012 by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

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Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 829 reviews.
Honeybee48 More than 1 year ago
I really liked their previous book Killing Lincoln and was eager to read this one but was very disappointed in it. They make lots of connections between Kennedy and the mafia but then totally fail to make the many provable connections between Oswald and the mafia. I was also blown away by their buying into Jack Ruby's grief over the loss of the president and his being a "patriot" being his reason for killing Oswald. PLEASE! Ruby was clearly a mob owned, fouled mouth, strip club owner who's only reason for killing Oswald could have been he couldn't tell his mafia bosses no. Poorly researched, not footnoted, over-sensationalized the sex life of the president at the expense of presenting plausible reasons for the assassination. We will never know for an absolute certainty the reasons behind JFK's assassination because the people and hard evidence that could have clarified the situation are long since dead or missing BUT they could have made the effort to explore and present those reasons in this book but alas did not bother. I care a lot less about how many women the president had sex with than the possibly that some people got away with plotting the murder of the president of the United States. Find another book to read - I do recommend Killing Lincoln by the same authors - this one is a waste of your time & money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, I remember where I was on Nov. 22, 1963 when we learned the terrible news. I was 10 and not sure what it all meant. Perhaps for those of us who still remember and wonder, the tragedy is still a mystery. O'Reilly and Dugard have done a superb job of telling the whole story as far as anyone can. Using every possible iota of information from all manner of sources, they have brought everything together into one chronological history. I loved the book. I learned a lot more of the history of just the time JFK was president and what he and the US faced. Highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how our country lost its 1950's innocence and began the path to apathy and cynicism (sp?).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As some one who is in the historical field I feel i should point out that the author is a journalist not a historian and one with a clear bias.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the history. Because I was really young in the early sixties I don't remember the"Bay of Pigs" or the Cuban Missile crisis. This was written in such a way as to make me see how it affected people at the time...not just dry facts. Reading what Jackie went through was heart wrenching. I liked that the history isn't colored or filled in with opinions and conjecture and is still a good story. I also enjoyed the Lincoln book very much. Keep 'em comin'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Missing pages on e book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Titillating , but not factual! Also lots of discrepancies and chronologically out of order.
ExStellis More than 1 year ago
My initial reading enthusiasm soon turned to ennui. As a former assistant district attorney under Jim Garrison during the time in question, I expected to learn something new. I leaned nothing whatever, new or old. The first 234 pages of this tome are circumlocutory drivel more appropriate to Entertainment Tonight or People Magazine. In those pages (76 per cent of the book), we learn in detail the fashions of the first family in wine, Jackie’s taste in swimsuits, and JFK’s allergy to dog hair – but hardly one word relevant to the assassination itself. Did the CIA, FBI and Secret Service “assist” O’Reilly’s ghostwriter in penning this pusillanimous pap? I’m truly disappointed that the only pages that directly discuss the killing – the last 75 – spout the official line that Oswald was the lone killer. Evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. I worked for my friend, District Attorney Jim Garrison, for much of the relevant time. Though my forté was prosecuting burglars and robbers, not working directly on the assassination, still I know quite a bit. And I sat in on the trial of Clay Shaw. I commend Garrison’s book, On the Trail of the Assassins (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1988. ISBN-13: 9781620872994). Unlike O’Reilly’s, his book comprises 342 pages of pure meat – substance singularly in short supply in O’Reilly’s screed that seems more fascinated with the fortunes of the rich and famous than with finding the real killers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One book cannot fully develop and deliver the entirety of something as complicated as the assasination of President Kennedy. Read on my friends. Read various other subjects from the same era -- i.e. The Best and the Brightest by Halberstam (1972) and recently, JFK and the Unspeakable by Douglass (2010). Do a little comparable research. What was the mood of the era? Who were the players (on the field and off)? Mr. OReilley is trying to sell a book - just as he is trying to sell you the news. Read it but if it's unreferenced, it's just entertainment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree that this book wasn't as interesting as Lincoln.  I LOVE the writing style in both books. Killing Kennedy was an interesting insight to a little of everything surrounding JFk, a little on his military days, a little on Jackie, Bobby, a little on the politics, a little on Oswald and Ruby, and A LOT on his social life. I didn't mind the sexual exploitation to much because I believe it was giving explanation to the man behind the curtains, his character and why he was the way he was, which I found very interesting. There wasn't any groundbreaking information, but I do appreciate there wasn't addition of a new conspiracy theory, I feel in this case it was to the point, truthful and well researched because of that. Also, I'm NOT a fan of Bill O'Reilly on TV, but enjoyed his journalism and story-telling.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't believe in just the span of a year that O'Reilly can debunk the research of Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, Mark Shaw, Jim Marrs, Robert Groden, Harrison Livingstone, Anthony Summers, Mark Lane, David Lifton, Sylvia Meagher, Charles Crenshaw, Harold Weisberg, et. al. I didn't learn anything new at all from Bill's book. If you want to study the topic, I recommend any of the works of those cited above.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O'reilly has a knack for making history interesting and relevant. He is very fair in the way he describes Kennedy's weaknesses and his evolution into a world leader.
western_coyote More than 1 year ago
From the title of this book I figured it would be another blow by blow account of the assassination. But I was wrong. The main thrust is more a narrative of John Kennedy's presidency and also of his life. O'Reilly was clearly an admirer and supporter of JFK, but he was not blind to his flaws. At times, sexually, Kennedy was a cad. Politically, as in the Bay of Pigs affair, he was inept and stupid, but he learned and when challenged by missiles in Cuba, he responded with greater effectiveness. This reader was, peripherally, a part of that response. Stationed at an southern Air Force training base, I remember the Army units bivouacked, night after night, on our flight line as they moved towards Florida. For me, new details of this narrative were the most interesting part of the book. O'Reilly digs out some new ones. As for the assassination, Oswald saw the parade route, he had the gun, the vantage point, he fired three shots, none of them magical, and a President's life came to an end. O'Reilly doesn't lay another stupid conspiracy theory on us.
Tanstaafl More than 1 year ago
There is a lot more in this telling of JFK's life and death than most people would either remember ("I remember where I was when the ...") or could understand about this young, powerful president. The authors do a tremendous job of making the story personable to the reader and leave an impact about this amazing part of American history. It has the information that titntillates but also informs a reader, a story that keeps the reader turning the pages for the next scene and even though the climax has been kown for decades still leaves the reader slightly breathless and rewarded for completing this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Really, really loved this. I finished it in one entire sitting. I can see where the bad reviews may come from though. People often read a Kennedy Assassination book looking for conspiracy theories. This book definitely wasn't the book for that. Personally, I hate conspiracy theories. So, I was glad that I was able to read this book that was just clear cut facts that strung the story together. It focuses on Kennedy and Oswald's paths crossing and how that leads to the assassination. It didn't over exemplify Kennedy's sex life, rather leave the parts of it that are relevant to his and Jackie's relationship. Another reason why so many people are probably upset is that they all have their stone set opinions on how the Kennedy Administration was and don't like reading anything different. I will admit that, yes, there were times were the book went off topic and was about random things that didn't really tie into the assassination, but they were still interesting and important things to know and were all relevant. It didn't take sides on anyone, didn't favor anybody's opinion, just facts. I am sixteen years old, clearly have no tangible recollection of the assassination because I wouldn't be born until 35 years after the fact, and I found this book one of the best about the assassination. The movie was great, as well. If you're debating about whether or not to buy or read this book, let me tell you to go ahead and do it. You won't regret it.
fleetfootmax More than 1 year ago
This was my Book Group's selection for September. We felt it didn't do Kennedy credit or really capture the Camelot experience. Of course, we are all of a certain age and remember the Kennedy family well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written but did not reveal much more information than was previously available. Much less interesting than the kill Lincoln book.
Esther26KM More than 1 year ago
Even though some unknown facts were presented about his death and what led up to it, most of the book leaned on everyone's sex life, and I would have preferred to get the facts and not have a blow by blow of a past Presidents weaknesses exploited to the public. I also didn't trust the validity of some of it, as if it was just written for entertainment.
GladiolusWitherspoon More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your money. I have rated this only a 2 not because of the writing mechanics but for the lack of thorough research of the subject. Oh yes, it's okay for the person that knows absolutely nothing about the historic event but it tends to favor the lone gunman theory which has already been proved incorrect with actual evidence if the author had really wanted to present the truth. I think Bill is an accomplished professional but he didn't do enough homework on the 50 years of hard evidencing proofs that have been uncovered during the decades since the assassination! Maybe his ghost writer didn't do his/her homework, you think?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I could read honest reviews of this book rather than about the opinion that people have about the author. Can't you people think long enough to put your political bias aside? Reading is supposed to make you think, not have knee jerk reactions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a rehash of info available in every other book about Kennedy's death. No new observations or insights. Obviously written to cash in on the success of Killing Lincoln.
JWJ53 More than 1 year ago
Have to admit that, even though I am not a Bill O'Reilly fan, this is a very good read. Well written & factually correct. If you are a history buff or just want to take a trip down memory lane (taking in the good and bad parts of this portion of American...and world history), I would highly recommend this book. Do not believe you will be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent! Clear writing, crisp pace, well-researched...a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Meh! This book was no where near as compelling as "Killing Lincoln",which was  a most excellent read.  Nothing new is unveiled in "Killing Kennedy" with the exception of O'Reilly himself being at the door of Morgenthau's home when he checks out. Nothing new that I haven't read since Nov. 22 1963 a day before my 17th birthday. I will never be convinced that Oswald acted alone or even if at all. I've been to the snipers roost on the 6th floor, stood behind the fence and seen every  documentary or theory. Killing Lincoln takes some license but it was a damn good book and very insightful, again much license. Bill should write about  "Killing Garfield", which would actually require research, but provide a history lesson. See the movie "Executive Decision" which  very well may be closer to a viable scenario.   If you are a young  person though,  you should read it to bring you up to speed with us older folks. All the 5 stars ratings above are obviously the younger crowd or older ostriches. The rest are we the people who lived through the horrible day.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone that says this is fake IS WRONG! Thank you :)
mamamiaBV More than 1 year ago
I was raised in Dallas and taking the children to see Air Force One depart when I heard about the assassination. We were all terrifid, got the children home from school, hubby's office closed down, for 4 days glued to television set. IT WAS SO TRAUMATOC AND SO SAD. The book covered more than I ever knew and was vry well written. However rho I know O'Reilly checked it out carefully I am still wondering how Tippirr and Oswald were at the theater together, it was checked and the theater was exactly 8 miles from rhe Depositoryy...feelings were the policeman drove Oswald from the shootting site, then shot Tippitt.but feel certain O'Reailly researched is carefully. I overheard officers discussing this tho those many years ago. This is a book you cant put down until you finish it, I didn't! Well worth the time and money to read, and I now understand Mrs. Kennedy more than I ever did and never liked LBJ anyway...he made me anxious when he was president.