As a former journalists and consumer of just about every piece of content related to events in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, the book Bullets from Dallas: Reporting on the JFK Assassination by Bill Sanderson was right up my alley.
The focus of the book is journalist and White House reporter Merriman Smith and how he continually was the first to break news that day. It also explores his family, addiction and impact that day had on the rest of his life.
Here is a short synopsis from Amazon:
Thanks to one reporter’s skill, we can fix the exact moment on November 22, 1963 when the world stopped and held its breath: At 12:34 p.m. Central Time, UPI White House reporter Merriman Smith broke the news that shots had been fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade. Most people think Walter Cronkite was the first to tell America about the assassination. But when Cronkite broke the news on TV, he read from one of Smith’s dispatches. At Parkland Hospital, Smith saw President Kennedy’s blood-soaked body in the back of his limousine before the emergency room attendants arrived. Two hours later, he was one of three journalists to witness President Johnson’s swearing-in aboard Air Force One. Smith rightly won a Pulitzer Prize for the vivid story he wrote for the next day’s morning newspapers.
It took me a four hours to read this book and it was one I couldn’t put down. I made the mistake of starting it at around 2 a.m. Any journalist, news junkie or person fascinated with breaking news will love this.
The book reveals the blow-by-blow details of how reporters and news organizations reported on the biggest story of their careers. It also gives insights into the relationship at the time between the White House, Secret Service and the press corps.
The focus is on Smith and the author is able to put the reader in his shoes and transport you back to that time in a book that is clear, concise and very readable. Until now, Smith was, for the most part, a byline in history. But the process of how he broke the news and how it was distributed were spectacular details I did not know before.
If nothing else, the book also portrays Smith, a reporter, in a very human way which I could relate with.