Abraham Zapruder didn't know when he ran home to grab his video camera on November 22, 1963 that this single spontaneous decision would change his family's life for generations to come. Read more...
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Abraham Zapruder didn't know when he ran home to grab his video camera on November 22, 1963 that this single spontaneous decision would change his family's life for generations to come. Originally intended as a home movie of President Kennedy's motorcade, Zapruder's film of the JFK assassination is now shown in every American history class, included in Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit questions, and referenced in novels and films. It is the most famous example of citizen journalism, a precursor to the iconic images of our time, such as the Challenger explosion, the Rodney King beating, and the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. But few know the complicated legacy of the film itself.
Now Abraham's granddaughter, Alexandra Zapruder, is ready to tell the complete story for the first time. With the help of the Zapruder family's exclusive records, memories, and documents, Zapruder tracks the film's torturous journey through history, all while American society undergoes its own transformation, and a new media-driven consumer culture challenges traditional ideas of privacy, ownership, journalism, and knowledge.
Part biography, part family history, and part historical narrative, Zapruder demonstrates how one man's unwitting moment in the spotlight shifted the way politics, culture, and media intersect, bringing about the larger social questions that define our age.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-09-12
- Reviewer: Staff
This well-written exploration of conspiracy, propriety, copyright, and public good versus private gain is seen through the prism of the worlds most famous home movie. Sometimes personal history is code for lazy research, but Zapruder (Salvaged Pages: Young Writers Diaries of the Holocaust) has doggedly followed the tortured life of her grandfathers short 8 mm film, which captured the moment of President Kennedys assassination, through the shock of witness, media frenzy, FBI fumbling, conspiracy theorists, lawsuits, artists, and Oliver Stone. At the center of the story is Abe Zapruder, who died when the author was an infant. An immigrant from Ukraine, Abe eventually found modest success as a dressmaker in Dallas. For him, J.F.K. was the symbol of American promise, so when he sold his film to Life, it was with the understanding that the magazine would safeguard J.F.K.s dignityand give Zapruder $150,000 for it. The movie was sold back to the family for $1, 12 years later, when it became too much of a burden for the magazine. And there it stayed until 1993 when the government seized the film, even though it was on loan to the National Archives. What follows is a dispassionate discussion of how much the film is worth. Zapruder doesnt shy away from the fact that her family made money from the film, but it was the government that decided the small, depressing, inconclusive, limited spool of celluloid was worth $16 million, reaffirming its position as a true relic, one of the few in a secular world. (Nov.)