HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Lee Harvey Oswald On Trial: A Novel
Authors: Keith Pruitt and Rebekka Pruitt
Publisher: Words of Wisdom Educational Consulting, 2015
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Pruitt, Keith, and Pruitt, Rebekka. Lee Harvey Oswald On Trial: A Novel (published in 2015 by Words of Wisdom Educational Consulting, Old Hickory, TN). The history books record that on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy and was himself a couple of days later, before he could be brought to trial, shot and killed by Jack Ruby. Lee Oswald claimed he was a patsy. What if he were right? What if he had gone to trial? There is a whole literature genre of alternate history, sometimes called uchronia, which seeks to pursue these kinds of “what ifs.” In Lee Harvey Oswald On Trial, father and daughter authors Keith and Rebekka Pruitt take the reader on a journey to examine the truth of Oswald’s guilt or innocence using the fictional lawyer team of Tom Cavendish and Sylvester Donelson to present the evidence at Oswald’s trial. What will the verdict be?
The Pruitts state their belief that “the truth has not been told by history.” Many people agree with them. Of course, it is important to remember that, while they weave into their account much factual information taken from the affidavits of dozens of witnesses, the book written by Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry, and the Warren Commission Testimony, all of which raises some very important and unanswered questions, the book is fiction. The Afterword begins, “What has been written is a work of historical fiction…based on a premise that the reader knows did not happen.” Each individual will have to draw his or her own conclusions, but the story is certainly presented in a believable style. It will undoubtedly appeal to conspiracy theorists and those who are not satisfied with the Warren Commission conclusions.
However, even for folks who don’t fall into these categories, the novel is still well-written and riveting. Parents who might be considering it for their young people may want to know that a little cursing, profanity, and near-vulgarisms do occur, probably to approximate realistically the kind of speech one would imagine that the individuals involved would have used, but the language is not overpoweringly bad. I enjoyed reading it. Keith Pruitt, founder of Words of Wisdom Educational Consulting, minister, father, and grandfather, is the author of thirteen books most of which have been professional educational materials for teacher development. His previous historical fiction book Sharpshooter: The Life and Times of Tilman Manus is based on his grandmother’s cousin and is set in the pre-Civil war and Civil War period.