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The Roundtable

The Interloper: Oswald Behind The Iron Curtain


With the country poised to mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, a new round of memorials, conspiracy theories and national temperature-taking has commenced.

The world before that Dallas day was markedly different from our world today: most of the social turmoil of the 60's was still ahead of America, and the country’s top foe on the world stage was the U.S.S.R., not al-Qaeda. 

Of course, the murder of JFK changed everything.

In the half-century since, most of the attention paid to the shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, has focused on his whereabouts in the few hours before and after the assassination, and a cottage industry of conspiracists have spent their lives trying to prove that such a bold act had to be the work of a web of sinister forces, not one disaffected and listless American.

In his new book, Peter Savodnik deals with the crucial years Oswald spent in Russia, arguing that Oswald’s brief life constituted a series of moves and failures, including an ill-advised foray into the USSR based on a surface-level affinity for communism.

The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union is out now from Basic Books.

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