Deanne Stillman: American Confidential
Deanne Stillman

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Deanne Stillman shares her latest, an astonishing new account of one of the 20th century's most notorious assassins, Lee Harvey Oswald—and the mother who raised him.


On the 60th anniversary of the JFK assassination, a critically acclaimed writer presents an astonishing new account of one of the 20th century's most notorious assassins, Lee Harvey Oswald--and the mother who raised him . . .

Was Lee Harvey Oswald--as he himself claimed--a patsy? A hired gunman? In this startling account, Deanne Stillman suggests that there was indeed a conspiracy behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy--that of Oswald and his mother, Marguerite, who were locked in a desperate pursuit of fame and recognition. It was a struggle that would erupt on November 22, 1963, with Kennedy's murder--after which the assassin joined the roster of infamous immortals, while his mother spent the rest of her life seeking the media limelight.

American Confidential is a mother-son noir tale that plays out across the Wild West of mid-twentieth century America, delving into Oswald's nomadic boyhood, and the world of his restless and disillusioned mother, who passed along a legacy of class resentment and a clamorous need to matter.

In this new and surprising investigation into the short, troubled life of the ordinary man who would take down an American king, Deanne Stillman also presents a fascinating portrait of Oswald as a predecessor of the many violent young men and boys of America today, who take selfies with their rifles, and have come to define a new era of brutality.

Following in the tradition of Joan Didion and Charles Bowden, and continuing her celebrated exploration of America's shadowlands, Stillman recounts a haunting tale of the promise and failure of the American dream. It held Oswald in its grip until the very end. "Some day," he once told his wife, "I'd like to have a son. Maybe he'll grow up to be president."

Deanne Stillman is a widely published, acclaimed writer. Her books of literary nonfiction include Blood Brothers (which received a starred review in Kirkus, was excerpted in Newsweek, and won the Ohioana Book Award); Desert Reckoning (winner of the Spur, LA Press Club, and Southwest Book of the Year Awards, an amazon editors pick, based on a Rolling Stone piece, recipient of raves in Newsweek and Kirkus); Mustang (an LA Times "best book of the year," silver medalist for the California Book Award, starred review in Publishers Weekly, in audio with Frances Fisher, Anjelica Huston, John Densmore, James Morrison), and Twentynine Palms (an LA Times "best book of the year" which Hunter Thompson called "A strange and brilliant story by an important American writer").

Her essays have appeared in the LA Review of Books, NY Times, Tin House, and LA Times, and they have been cited as "Notable" in three editions of Best American Essays. Her plays have won prizes and been produced around the country and she was a founding nonfiction professor in the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA Creative Writing Program where she taught for thirteen years.

American Confidential: Uncovering the Bizarre Story of Lee Harvey Oswald and his Mother By Deanne Stillman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781685890681
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House - November 14th, 2023