I’m kind of a dummy when it comes to history, owing to a very flawed educational system combined with a lack of curiosity as an adult. It’s something that I’ve intentionally sought to change over the years, but there’s just so much to catch up on. I appreciate books like this one, which is an overview for those of us who are clueless about history.
Assassinations that Changed the World reads kind of like a Wikipedia rabbit hole: learning about one person’s death leads to another, which leads to another, and so on. The book covers well-known figures, such as Archduke Franz Ferdinand, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Benazir Bhutto, to name just a few. Its subjects tend to skew more toward political leaders, which is understandable since people in that position are highly visible and subsequently have a higher risk for becoming targets of madmen.
I read the audio version, which I’ve always found helpful for keeping attention on non-fiction subjects. However, at times the nature of the writing—an extended presentation of facts—became a bit like reading the newspaper for several hours. I definitely had to take frequent breaks in my reading.
The book is informative without feeling sensationalized. While the assassins are part of the narrative, there’s no glorification of the killers or their infamous ideals. I recommend this book for people like me, who either didn’t receive a comprehensive history education growing up, or maybe just didn’t pay close enough attention to the news in recent years.