Fifty years have passed since his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963; at the time he was 46 years old, and seeking a new chance to save face. The journey of American President John Kennedy, whether in his political life or in his grand personal life, has inspired not only ordinary people, but filmmakers and novelists too.
During the last 50 years, many films have been produced and many novels published focusing on his dreadful assassination, which even until now is shrouded in mystery. All of those films and novels have made him the most publicly familiar American president since Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated on Apr. 15, 1865.
It was the end of an American hero par excellence — just like in famous "Western" films. In quite an astonishing way, John Kennedy also embodied the "American Dream." He was born to a poor Irish family that immigrated to America and became one of the wealthiest families there. He was a smart and mischievous boy, who later proved his bravery in World War II. He governed in a time of intensity between the capitalist camp led by his country and the socialist camp led by the Soviet Union.
John Kennedy was not only an intriguing figure at the political level, but also in his personal life, which still peaks the curiosity of journalists, filmmakers and novelists.
Don DeLillo is considered one of the American novelists most interested in Kennedy. In his novel “Libra,” for instance, he discusses secrets of the life of [Lee Harvey] Oswald, who carried out Kennedy's assassination. He says: “I don't think my books could have been written in the world that existed before the Kennedy assassination. And I think that some of the darkness in my work is a direct result of the confusion and psychic chaos and the sense of randomness that ensued from that moment in Dallas.”
Robert Littell, who published two novels centering on events happening during the Kennedy administration, sees his assassination not merely as an important moment of change in politics, but also in literature. James Ellroy, author of “American Tabloid,” believes that America has never been innocent, even before the assassination of John Kennedy, and that the American dream, which allures so many, is merely a delusion. He therefore sees the Dallas incident as exposing the truth hidden behind the glory days of America.