Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Book Review: Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald's Assassin by Danny Fingeroth


Over the past 60 years there have been countless books, articles, and conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination.  Interest in this tragic event has likely piqued on its 60th anniversary although most people today were not yet born in 1963.  Danny Fingeroth, known as a cultural critic, comics writer, editor, educator and commentator, just wrote a detailed biography of Jack Ruby, the killer of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.  He is noted as the biographer of Stan Lee best known for his work with Marvel Comics.  Danny was ten years old at the time of the murder of Oswald and, like millions of others, viewed it on live TV.

He interviewed some of Ruby’s nieces and nephews and Rabbi Hillel Silverman who knew him quite well. Many of the books written about the assassination and its aftermath were consulted.  It took Danny about ten years to research and write the book.  He describes Ruby’s early years in Chicago, his relationship with his family and Rabbi Silverman, and his business ventures before the historic events in Dallas. Danny details the actions of Ruby in the two days after the assassination, his murder of Oswald, his trial, and the events after the trial.  He succeeded in refreshing my memory of those events.  Ruby’s lawyers tried to use the insanity defense to acquit Ruby, but he was convicted and sentenced to death.  There was a successful appeal with a new trial at a location outside of Dallas.  Ruby died in January 1967 before a second trial could be held.

There are still many unanswered questions about the Kennedy assassination, but nobody has definitively proven a conspiracy.  The uniqueness of this book is the comprehensive study of Ruby’s life.  Danny is to be commended for a fine book.  Younger people should read the book to learn about the tragic events that changed history.

I became acquainted with Danny Fingeroth through a Bob Dylan video chat group that meets monthly.  There are a few Dylan references in the book including his recent song Murder Most Foul.



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