Killing Kennedy – The End of Camelot

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Our Score

Killing Kennedy – The End of Camelot

Killing Kennedy – The End of Camelot is an excellent historical account of the Kennedy administration . While the other books in this series that have been reviewed, Killing Jesus and Killing Lincoln, have been rated as suitable for middle grade up. Like Killing Patton and Killing The Rising Sun should categorized as new adult because the book was not written for children. There is more mature content in Killing Kennedy. There is language and content that is not appropriate for younger and more sensitive readers. Along with this, there are some violent and graphic description. Another aspect is the sexual innuendo and exploits of President Kennedy and others surrounding him.

Pros

Killing Kennedy goes into detail about the Kennedy administration including  behind the image of Camelot and the powerful Kennedy family.  O’Reilly and Dugard go into great detail about the political and social climate of the early 1960s including civil rights and the cold war.

The book focuses not only on President Kennedy and his family but also Lee Harvey Oswald and the planned assassination of the President. The premise of the book is going into detail of the Kennedy. Robert Petkoff instead of Bill O’Reilly narrates the audio version of Killing Kennedy, and I highly recommend it. He is an excellent narrator and does a good job of including the footnotes to make them fit seamlessly into the text.

Cons

There are a few, which is why I categorized Killing Kennedy as New Adult. President Kennedy and other historical figures of the time were colorful characters. With this there are some swear words, innuendo, coarse language, crude behavior, and discussion of extramarital affairs. While not graphic, this makes the content more mature. This book goes into graphic detail of Kennedy’s assassination that might bother some sensitive readers or listeners. However, it is less graphic than Killing Patton or Killing the Rising Sun.

Rating

3.5 Stars. Overall, Killing the Rising Sun is well-written and engaging. Like the other “Killing” books, it rates 5 stars on the content and execution. New Adult allows for a bit more mature content, but even with this caveat, there is a fair amount of coarse language, behavior, and innuendo, even more than in the WWII based books. As with the other books in the series, the historical details especially about the social and political climate of the time are the highlight of this book. My husband and I listened to the audiobook. Bill O’Reilly narrates and has an engaging voice. However, I suggest reading or listening to the book before deciding if it’s appropriate for your children, students, etc.

Personal Opinion

We have listened to all of the O’Reilly-Dugard “Killing” books, and this is the fifth in my series on these books because I think each of them offers fantastic insight into the social and political climate at the time. However, this one did not carry 5-star ratings even though the writing quality and level of detail are the same. I would not call this book family friendly due to some objectionable content cited above. There is some language and situations described that might be objectionable to some people.

Discussion points for parents & teachers:

  1. What did you know about President Kennedy? Did your opinion of him and his actions change after reading this book?
  2. What did you know about Jackie Kennedy? Did your opinion of her change after reading this book?
  3. Were you familiar with the Kennedy family dynasty and Camelot? If not, what did you learn?
  4. Name some good things about President Kennedy?
  5. Name some of President Kennedy’s character flaws?
  6. Discuss civil rights at this time versus the current racial situation in this country.
  7. Discuss the Cold War and communism compared to the current war in the Middle East and terrorism from radical Islam.

Parents will appreciate the historical account of this time in history. For teachers and librarians there are so many great topics that can springboard from this book.

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Gretchen Engel
In high school, Gretchen E K Engel competed to write her English teacher’s favorite essays and earn highest marks in physics. Science won over the arts, and Gretchen became a chemical engineer. An environmental consultant by day and speculative fiction writer by night, she has authored hundreds of technical documents and several short stories.

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