• The Death of a President

  • November 20 - November 25, 1963
  • By: William Manchester
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 33 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (255 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

As the world still reeled from the tragic and historic events of November 22, 1963, William Manchester set out, at the request of the Kennedy family, to create a detailed, authoritative record of President John F. Kennedy's death, including the days immediately preceding and following the assassination. Through hundreds of interviews, extensive travel, and first hand observation, and with unique access to the proceedings of the Warren Commission, Manchester conducted an exhaustive historical investigation, accumulating 45 volumes of documents, exhibits, and transcribed tapes. His ultimate objective - to set down as a whole the national and personal tragedy that was JFK's assassination - is brilliantly achieved in this galvanizing narrative, a book universally acclaimed as a landmark work of modern history.

©2013 William Manchester (P)2013 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about The Death of a President

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    5 out of 5 stars
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IMPORTANT HISTORIC BOOK

What you must know from the start is the historic nature of this book. When jfk was killed -Jackie and the Kennedy clan hand picked William Manchester to write the full official account of the assassination from their end for posterity. Manchester was picked for 2 reasons-firstly he was a friend of jfk and secondly he was a very respected writer/ historian.

This is a remarkable account of EVERYTHING that was thought, done and said in the timeframe of the assassination and funeral. It would be hard to imagine a fuller accounting of that week. Every detail pulled me in tighter and tighter till I felt entirely part of the scene. I couldn't put it down! Though I was so wound -up and upset that I had to listen to something else in bed so I could sleep. I feel so emotionally drained by the experience that I too feel like I am in mourning for this president, despite the fact that I'm Canadian and was just 2yrs old when all this happened. Why am I so affected by something so removed and distant? Why were people around the world so intensely effected? It reminded me of when princess DI died, there was the same world-wide eruption of grief out of all proportion. I've meditated on this question- it seems important to learn why this is so. Was it their relative youth,their class, charisma? Those things are factors
but I think that We hang our dreams consciously or unconsciously on those that embody those rare characteristics of goodness and kindness. Those rare "heroes" of good give us hope for good in a relentlessly dark world. That's my conclusion there's one thing that this book makes all too clear and that is that Jackie was as astounding as the president in this regard-this book makes that all too clear

This is an important book that lays bare not just the tragedy but also the triumph of Jackie whose stoic example remains a testament for the ages. A BOOK NOT TO BE MISSED.

A note on the narration- I thought it was perfect.

26 people found this helpful

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Insulting Southern accents

The voice actor's execution of the Southern accents of Lady Bird Johnson and Rufus Youngblood was ignorant and insulting to me, a Southerner. Dialects vary per region in the South and are not always "drawn-out stupid."

6 people found this helpful

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bookgirl

One of the top 10 books I have read. Superb writing, research, commentary and narration. I was in second grade when Kennedy was murdered so I grew up with many perceptions of the event and the man. I do believe the author puts the multiple shooter theory to rest. I also came away with a different view of Jackie Kennedy. At least during the tragedy she shed her rather little girl fashion icon girlfriend tolerating image. One does have to remember she had the monetary wherewithal and support staff to function in a way no one else might have been able to do. The author provides a most interesting commentary on the legend that
became John F. Kennedy as compared to the man. THIS BOOK RECEIVES MY HIGHEST REGARD. I am now moving on to more books by the author.

6 people found this helpful

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History reading

Originally read the book...this time it was nice to have it read to me.....great listening and Manchester does it right.

6 people found this helpful

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Great book. Off-putting "folksy" narration

I'm very glad Audible has provided this book in an unabridged audio version. It's a fantastic book. An engrossing, well written, comprehensive look at JFK's death. Reading the book is painful, as Mr. Manchester's writing pulls you right into the events of November, 1963. Listening to the book is a bit painful as well, but for a vastly different reason. The accents Mr. Barrett uses in the book range from strange to annoying to just plain odd. They add up to off-putting. This is a long book. It is worth listening to, but would be so much better served by a narrator that gave the book proper respect in his tone and read it with a more respectful tone, not the folksy narration of someone weaving an old yarn by the fireside.

6 people found this helpful

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Great story, but...

Terrible narration. He was fine when he was reading text, but when he would read quotes and try to imitate voices/accents he sounded ridiculous!

5 people found this helpful

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Its like stepping through a portal into 1960s USA

If you could sum up The Death of a President in three words, what would they be?

The definitive account of the JFK assassination.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Death of a President?

When Dean Rusk is notified of the murder, the other folks on the plane interpret his reaction as indicating a nuclear war has started.

Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I havent heard him, but he was excellent.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me both laugh and cry.

Any additional comments?

Its a bit of a hagiography. I think Gore Vidal called it a historical novel. But Manchester nearly worked himself to death writing and researching it. It was a great listen.

Btw, I really liked the narrator - his take on Johnson, the Dallas police chief, the Kennedy staff, Jackie, Secret Service agents.

5 people found this helpful

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Flayed secret service

I have spent hundreds of hours on this subject. He has no true idea how hard and for how long the Secret Service worked. They were out the night before to find food. They had not eaten for 12 to 14 hours.

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Well written but extremely disappointed

Although I should have expected it, the fact that this book would conform to the Warren commission is STILL dissapointing. That the author says the Marine Corp. training as a shooter is excellent is true but the designation of SHARP SHOOTER is the lowest rating offered. almost one leaves basic training without that badge. That being said, there is a lot of information that I have not heard and, if the information is to be believed, explains many questions for that fateful weekend (For example, how was Jack Ruby able to penetrate the Police Dept in Dallas to kill Lee Oswald).
The information I found was fascinating, however, the specter of the Warren commission (Lee-single shooter, no conspiracy ect), even this goes far toexplain why even a few still believe this insane and ridiculous theory.

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Amazing

Simply the best book ever written about the days leading up to, during, and after the Kennedy assassination.

2 people found this helpful

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  • K Hlalat
  • 01-08-19

Brilliant. Definitely worth a second listen.

This was so well written/told I am now keen to find out more about a period of history I was not particularly interested in previously.

2 people found this helpful

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