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.
“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
“More than three decades after its initial publication, Marina and Lee remains the single best book ever written about the Kennedy assassination. No one has managed to weave the psychological, political and fateful strands of this crime with the power and perspicacity displayed here by Priscilla McMillan. This is a book that will leave you deeply shaken and continually haunted.” – Thomas Mallon, author of Mrs. Paine’s Garage and A Book of One’s Own
“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 book about Kennedy . . . Other books about the Kennedy assassination are all smoke and no fire. Marina and Lee burns.” – New York Times Book Review
“Because Priscilla McMillan is a superb narrator and a superior scholar, her book has all the power of a first-class novel, and all the austerity of excellent scholarship. It is even more than that. It answers . . . the questions: Did Lee Harvey Oswald murder John Kennedy, was he alone in the act, and why did he do it? . . . The answers are all there, and they all make sense.” – Chicago Tribune
“McMillan has done us the service of pointing out just how deeply the enemy lives within us. One closes her book pondering the odds that America has a sociological victim like Oswald on every block. Compared to this, the conspiracy question looks incidental. The question is not how many assassins can dance on the head of a pin, but what makes one dance, given a particularly ugly set of human circumstances at birth?” – The New Republic
“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