A portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald is based on interviews with former acquaintances and research gathered from Minsk, where Oswald hid for more than two years after defecting to the Soviet Union
In this book, Norman Mailer asks the essential question about the assassination of JFK: not "Who killed Kennedy?" but "Who was Oswald?" for only by answering the latter question can we hope to answer the first. In 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald defected to the Soviet Union and was sent to Minsk, where he lived for two and a half years and remained under constant KGB surveillance, on suspicion of being a CIA agent. In 1993, Norman Mailer spent six months in Russia, where he interviewed Oswald's former friends and sweethearts and obtained exclusive interviews with the KGB officers assigned to monitor Oswald's every move. He was also given exclusive access to the KGB files on Oswald, including transcripts of conversations overheard in the apartment that Lee shared with his Russian wife, Marina.In Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery, Mailer reconstructs the life of this ambitious if doom-laden young man, giving a full account for the first time not only of the Minsk years, a hitherto uncharted period in Oswald's life, but also of Oswald's disastrous childhood, his years in the Marine Corps, and the events leading from his return to the United States in 1961 to his death in Dallas in 1963. The portrait of Oswald that emerges will greatly surprise readers who have thought of Oswald as a hapless loner: socially awkward, inarticulate, and an unremarkable loser.