For most of us, the story of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy depicts Lee Harvey Oswald as a convenient cliche or a conspiracy puppet, Lone Gunman or Framed Patsy. Lost among the competing theories of villainy and cover-up is the real Lee Harvey Oswald, a troubled young man from a fractured family, a lonely child born without a future. In this original and dramatic work, Steven Beschloss draws on a rich but relatively unmined public record, key interviews with Marguerite and other family members, and Lee's own writing and statements to trace the origin of an American tragedy. He was a quiet boy who loved to stare at the stars. She was a bossy woman who always felt broke. He loved to ride the subways, skip school, go to the zoo. She was desperate and itinerant, forced to put her three kids into a New Orleans orphanage. He was a heavy reader, a homebody; she an oppressive and volatile figure. Both felt the world owed them better, and both carried a grudge that never softened. He was Lee Harvey Oswald and she his mother, Marguerite.
The Gunman and His Mother depicts the troubled bond between a mother and her son, revealing in detail a relationship that has deserved focused treatment for a half century but has yet to receive it: How an innocent young boy evolved into a killer despite the watching eyes of his mother, his family, and his friends.