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Publisher's Summary

Foreword written and narrated by best-selling author Joseph Finder. The inside story of Lee Harvey Oswald's path to killing John. F. Kennedy.

Reissued to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, Marina and Lee is an indispensable account of one of America's most traumatic events, and a classic work of narrative history. In her meticulous, at times even moment by moment, account of Oswald's progress toward the assassination, Priscilla Johnson McMillan takes us inside Oswald's fevered mind and his manic marriage. When Marina, only a few weeks after giving birth to their second child, hears of Kennedy's death and discovers that Lee's rifle is missing from the garage where it was stored, she knows that her husband has killed the president.

McMillan came to the story with a unique knowledge of the two main characters. In the 1950s she had worked for Kennedy and had known him well for a time. Later, working in Moscow as a journalist, she interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald during his attempt to defect to the Soviet Union. When she heard his name again on November 22, 1963, she said, "My God! I know that boy!" Marina and Lee was written with the complete and exclusive cooperation of Oswald's Russian-born wife, Marina Prusakova, whom McMillan debriefed for seven months in the immediate aftermath of the president's assassination and her husband's nationally televised execution at the hands of Jack Ruby.

The truth is far more compelling, and unsettling, than the most imaginative conspiracy theory. Marina and Lee is a human drama that is outrageous, heartbreaking, tragic, fascinating... and real.

©2013 Priscilla Johnson McMillan (P)2013 Steerforth Press LLC

Critic Reviews

"This classic of the JFK assassination literature, originally published in 1977 and now reissued for the 50th anniversary of the murder...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." ( Publishers Weekly)
"McMillan achieves with art what the Warren Commission failed to do with its report. She makes us see… It is not at all easy to describe the power of Marina and Lee…It is far better than any other audiobook about Kennedy…Other audiobooks about the Kennedy assassination are all smoke and no fire. Marina and Lee burns." ( New York Times Book Review)
"Fully as persuasive as the conspiracy lore that has preceded it. [McMillan] has a novelist's sense of when to dramatize, through dialogue and the use of exact detail, the crucial twists and turns of domestic life…Priscilla McMillan's extraordinary book makes the necessary and subtle connection between private frailties and their power to change the history of the world. ( The Atlantic Monthly)

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What listeners say about Marina and Lee

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worthwhile and interesting, but flawed

I found the story of Marina and Lee very interesting, and felt I got an intimate look at these characters and their lives over the course of the book. However McMillan’s psychological analysis of Lee, which she uses to persuade us that Lee Oswald assassinated Kennedy is flawed, and does not follow from the character portrayal we just witnessed. It make no sense that Oswald killed Kennedy. He very much liked John Kennedy, approved of Jackie, and felt compassion for them as parents who grieved the loss of more than one child. Lee loved children, adored his own children and, unequivocally, was a genuinely loving father. No one disputes that. Lee told numerous people close to him, and it’s not disputed here, that he felt Kennedy the best leader our country could hope for, given the constraints on true institutional change. Lee was simply not the kind of kook who kills people he likes and admired. That’s a different profile. If he were to kill anyone, his psychology would be to kill someone he despised, and only for political injustice (as he saw it) — I.e., extreme right-wing bigots. Lee was getting regular sex and, more importantly love, from both his wife and mistress during the year leading up to the assassination, he had two baby girls he loved, and he was employed. It makes ZERO sense that he would set out to kill President Kennedy of all people. Much evidence elsewhere points to Oswald’s innocence. A shame on our country that he was allowed to be shot in the basement of the police dept by a member of the mob, that he had no lawyer, he was denied due process, and we will probably never resolve this stain on the American experience.

2 people found this helpful

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Should have been read by a woman

As this was written by a woman it should have been read by a woman

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Now I know why he did it

I've been a student of the Kennedy assassination since that day in high school when we heard the news. For many years I assumed, like a lot of people, that there was a conspiracy, that LHO was as patsy, etc. etc. Until I read Case Closed by Gerald Posner.

But I never knew why Oswald did it. Then I read Marina and Lee. I can summarize his motives (as I understand them) in four words, but I probably shouldn't. Might ruin the ending for you. What a great book. I never got a round to reading it when t first came out. That's the nice thing about audio books. They make it easy to catch up on your reading.

5 people found this helpful

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One of my favorite.

Psychologically rich.
Details that never get boring.
Published in '77. Events were still fresh.
Excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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A good read

I found this book to be apocryphal and circumstantial. There are a great number of facts that will remain unknown. It is a good story. It is narrated well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • JG
  • 07-29-21

Cartoonish narration

The book itself is a vital component of any meaningful study of the (lone) assassin's tortured life and evil mind. It ranks with "Case Closed" and "Reclaiming History" as the most sober, accurate analysis of a sick man's awful crimes. However, the audiobook presentation is atrocious, ruined by a narrator who voices characters in a ham-fisted, cartoonish manner. Oswald, who spoke with a subtle New Orleans accent, is made to sound like a rootin'-tootin' cowpoke, and all Russian characters sound like Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Michael Paine, a Harvard-educated New Yorker, is voiced like a Texas wrangler. Why? Because he lived in Dallas, of course, so our narrator must ascribe to him a Texas drawl despite numerous and readily available interviews with the late Mr. Paine. The narrator doesn't think you're intelligent enough to know better or to care.

The vocal shenanigans are beyond distracting, they are an affront to McMillan's life's work and an insult to the listener. There is no need for any type of vocal affectation when narrating an audiobook. With very simple voice inflection it can be made plainly obvious when reading a quote. But the narrator thinks that you would prefer his silly accents. Buy the book, read it yourself and make up your own voices in your head if you want, but skip this abomination.

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Could have been shorter

Wow that was a long slog. Although knowing full well how long it was, it seemed to go longer. I liked the narration but often forgot the the author was a female and found it a bit jarring when reminded. Due to that, I think a female narrator would have been better suited.
Much of the book I feel could have been condensed as what sometimes seemed to be a day by day account, did drag somewhat.
I am glad however that I have heard another side to this story. In no way do I feel for Marina as that was the life she chose and Lee was just an oddball she settled for.
So much controversy surrounds this case, it was good to hear a more 'human' side to the whole mess. Good but not one I would listen to again hence the score.

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Longer than it needed to be

This book started out really interesting - Marina’s early life in Russia and meeting Lee, but the author goes on tangents often, leaving the reader wondering why they’re getting a day by day, blow by blow of their daily lives. Once they’re in America, Lee is a horribly abusive husband and the author makes this clear by detailing every fight and punch. Marina’s sad story is made sadder by her willingness to obey a monster.
Since the story is told mostly from Marina’s interview with the author, and the story makes clear that Marina doesn’t know Lee as well as she thinks she does, I genuinely question the accuracy of Marina’s take on the events around JFK. How does a wife, who doesn’t ever know her husband’s whereabouts, or even where he lives, provide much insight into this historic event? If anything, this story leaves the reader with more questions.
*note about narration - sounds like the narrator gets confused if Marina is Russian or Irish

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Not a history buff

I only knew about Lee Harvey Oswald based off of what Stephen king wrote and after that I was hooked to learn more about Lee, but especially Marina. This is a fantastic book!

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The KGB Should Send This Narrator To The Gulag!

Narrator R.C. Bray is so obnoxious with his faux Russian accent that I wanted to slap him every time I heard it. It really ruined the audio experience for me. Also, assuming the quotes from Oswald's wife Marina were accurate, I grew to dislike her intensely. She comes off as an arrogant, condescending, smarmy, sarcastic bitch. It appears Jack Ruby did Oswald a favor.
Finally, the author really disrupts the flow of the story with her "Interludes," in which she attempts to psychoanalyze the players. Her analysis comes off as mumbo-jumbo nonsense and undermines her credibility. She should have stuck to the chronological history and left the Freudian bullshit out of it.