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Author Chosen by Mrs. Kennedy to Write Book on Assassination

Mar. 26, 1964 - Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy has chosen the author to write what she hopes will be the authoritative story of the assassination of her husband, President Kennedy. He is William Manchester (pictured) of Middletown, Conn., whose “Portrait of a President” impressed the former First Lady.

An announcement today from the Kennedy family said: “Because versions of what occurred Nov. 20-25 already have appeared and because it is understood other articles and books are in the course of being prepared for later publication, these arrangements were made with Mr. Manchester in the interest of historical accuracy and to prevent distortion and sensationalism.”

“I have mixed feelings about this,” the writer said today. “It’s an honor and a privilege and a solemn responsibility. But I don’t think anyone who remembers the anguish of those days will want to relive them.”

Mr. Manchester said he had never met Mrs. Kennedy — even when he was interviewing the President in the White House for his 1962 book. He said Pierre Salinger, then White House press secretary, called him at his job at Wesleyan University at Middletown on Feb. 5 to tell him of Mrs. Kennedy’s wishes.

The assassination book will be a long-term project, with publication not expected for three to five years. Mr. Manchester plans to open with the judiciary reception at the White House Nov. 20 and conclude with Mrs. Kennedy’s reception for foreign dignitaries in the White House five days later, after her husband’s funeral.

The author will write extensively on the background of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of slaying Mr. Kennedy. And he hopes to interview Jack Ruby, convicted murderer of Oswald.

Hoping to interview President Johnson, Mr. Manchester also plans to travel to Texas to interview eyewitnesses to the tragedy, police officials and doctors who labored in vain to save Mr. Kennedy’s life.

He intends to begin conversations with Mrs. Kennedy as soon as possible “while her recollections are fresh.”

He said he and his publisher, Harper & Row, had agreed that profits from the book, “beyond a moderate return on investment on the first printing by both the author and the publisher,” will be donated to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.


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