On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder left his office hoping for a glimpse of President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade as it passed by Dealey Plaza. A Russian Jewish immigrant who wholeheartedly loved his home in America, Abe thrilled at the chance to see the young president in person—and perhaps to bring back a home movie of this once-in-a-lifetime moment for his family. 

The twenty-six seconds of Abraham Zapruder’s footage depicting the JFK assassination is now iconic, forever embedded in American culture and identity. The first major instance of citizen journalism, this amateur film forced Abraham Zapruder to face unprecedented dilemmas: How to handle his unexpected ownership of a vitally important yet unspeakably terrible piece of American history? How to aid the U.S. government and, at the same time, fend off the swarm of reporters grasping to purchase the film? How to make the best decisions to ensure the film was safeguarded—but never exploited? 

PRAISE FOR Twenty-Six Seconds:

“Alexandra…has written the entwined story of the Zapruder film and the Zapruders themselves with scrupulous care and attention to all the civic and familial sensitivities involved. It turns out to be a fascinating and cautionary tale.”  —The Wall Street Journal

“Zapruder is a gifted writer and storyteller who delicately unravels a minor mystery…that she makes human, complex and quite interesting.” —The New York Times

“A moving and enlightening account of the famous film." Joyce Carol Oates, The Washington Post

“This well-written exploration of conspiracy, propriety, copyright, and public good versus private gain is seen through the prism of the world’s most famous home movie.”  —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“A supple, tender portrait of a family lashed to history.” —The Boston Globe

“This family memoir explores fraught questions surrounding the ‘Zapruder film,’ the home movie of the Kennedy assassination made by the author’s grandfather…with rigor and nuance.” —The New Yorker

"A first-rate work of biography and history, addressing the film and the family in all their complexity and character...absorbing, deeply researched." —USA Today

"Enlightening...an intelligent blend of memoir and cultural criticism that breaks fresh ground in the crowded field of JFK assassination studies."  —The San Fransciso Chronicle

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Washington Independent Review of Books

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