Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald's Assassin
Danny’s newest biography, published in November 2023 by Chicago Review Press, is Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald’s Assassin.
The book is the definitive biography of the bizarre guy who changed history with one bold, violent action: killing accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV, two days after the November 22, 1963, murder of President John F. Kennedy.
But who was Jack Ruby—and how did he come to be in that spot on that day?
With the recent sixtieth anniversaries of the murders of Kennedy and Oswald, Jack Ruby’s motives are as maddeningly ambiguous today as they were the day that he pulled the trigger.
The fascinating yet frustrating thing about Ruby is that there is evidence to paint him as at least two different people. Much of his life story points to him as bumbling, vain, violent, and neurotic; a product of the grinding poverty of Chicago’s Jewish ghetto; a man barely able to make a living or sustain a relationship with anyone besides his dogs.
By the same token, evidence exists of Jack Ruby as cagey and competent, perhaps not a mastermind, but a useful pawn of the Mob and of both the police and the FBI; someone capable of running numerous legal, illegal, and semi-legal enterprises, including smuggling arms and vehicles to both sides in the Cuban revolution; someone capable of acting as middleman in bribery schemes to have imprisoned Mob figures set free. And someone capable of walking up and shooting someone who should have been the most heavily-guarded person in the world!
Cultural historian Danny Fingeroth’s research includes a new, in-depth interview with Rabbi Hillel Silverman, the legendary Dallas clergyman who visited Ruby regularly in prison and who was witness to Ruby’s descent into madness and who shared with Fingeroth his notes taken during his frequent visits with Ruby in prison. Fingeroth also conducted interviews with little-known Ruby family members and associates. The book’s findings will catapult you into a trip through a house of historical mirrors.
At its end, perhaps Jack Ruby’s assault on history will begin to make sense. And perhaps we will understand how Ruby’s actions reverberate to the present day.
Also available as an audiobook READ BY THE AUTHOR.
Praise for Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald's Assassin
“Why did Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald? A captivating new book…by Danny Fingeroth tells the story of the second sensational shooting that roiled the country 60 years ago. A fascinating read.” —PETER BAKER, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times
“Danny Fingeroth has written the definitive book on Jack Ruby. No speculation, just deep research and hard facts which, because of the quirky subject, wind up as a super-entertaining read.” —GABE KAPLAN, who met Ruby and did one show at the Carousel Club
“Having reported on the JFK assassination since 1976 and having known Ruby’s family for decades, it’s clear to me that Fingeroth’s book is the definitive work on the man who committed the first live televised murder in history.” —STEVE NORTH, veteran broadcast and print journalist
“Fingeroth has written an amazing biography. His mastery is bringing Ruby into focus by meticulously combing existing data, but also expanding the narrative through new interviews and materials. The author also shows us why and how Ruby matters for today’s audiences…. Highly recommended for history lovers and anyone who enjoys a great narrative!” —BOB BATCHELOR, award-winning cultural historian and biographer, author of Roadhouse Blues: Morrison, the Doors, and the Death Days of the Sixties
“With this book, Danny Fingeroth takes us down into the depths of one of the biggest mysteries in the history of modern American politics, and pulls back the curtain—as much as anyone can—on one of the story’s most mysterious figures. Why did Jack Ruby do what he did? Well, that’s the story—and Fingeroth brilliantly takes us through a dazzling array of twists, turns, and possible motivations in telling it, in all its labyrinthine complexity.” —JEREMY DAUBER, author of Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew
“As a conspiracy buff, I leapt into Danny Fingeroth’s Jack Ruby with gusto, only to realize how little I actually knew about Jacob Rubenstein aka Jack Ruby. Nightclub owner? Yes. Landsman? Proudly. Mobster? Maybe. Insane? You have to read the book. Fingeroth takes you beat by beat through that fateful weekend and Ruby’s array of co-stars: strippers, club owners, policemen. He paints a disturbing portrait of a manic Ruby desperate to be in the center of the action, who just wanted to be important.” —DAVID MANDEL, showrunner Veep and director White House Plumbers
“Sixty years after the events that changed the world comes this important biography, a gripping, deeply researched investigation into a crucial thread of pivotal history. Danny Fingeroth digs into a neglected figure with precision and flair.” —LISA NAPOLI, author of Up All Night: Ted Turner, CNN, and the Birth of 24-Hour News
“It’s likely that no book will ever answer whether Jack Ruby was a lone gunman or part of some vast conspiracy. But cultural sleuth Danny Fingeroth’s fascinating biography offers something more revealing—showing us how this irony-laden icon offers a lens into America’s low-level underworld, its multi-tiered Jewish community, and a Baby-Boom generation robbed of its hero-worshiped president.” —LARRY TYE, author of Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon and Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy
“Danny Fingeroth’s book does what few books on the JFK assassinations have even attempted by painting a humanized depiction of the many complex layers of Jack Ruby, the killer of the one of the most notorious presidential suspected assassins.” —MARK S. ZAID, Esq., JFK assassination historian
“This is a very well researched, entertaining and informative psycho-historical x-ray of Jack Ruby–one of the main characters in the greatest crime drama of the 20th century…. The original twist in this tale is that the author is a fairly constant presence, self-deprecatory and sympathetic–asking questions and never making pronouncements. This style is appealing and gives the book a very human, one-on-one feel. Jack Ruby, The Many Faces of Oswald’s Assassin, is an ode to doomed tough guy, a man who was at once a unique individual and a symbol of star-crossed American struggles.” —MIKE FEDER, author of A Long Swim Upstream, former Sirius Satellite Radio host
“This book does what nobody else has done before—really dives deep into [Ruby’s] life and personality—interviewing people who actually knew him—rather than just recycle the same simple stories…. Danny worked at Marvel and penned the definitive book on Stan Lee: A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee (you need that too), but for now—focus on Ruby—who the heck was this guy? Why didn’t the Warren Commission take him seriously? Such an enigmatic figure (along with the guy he shot: Oswald). Real life is always weirder then fiction.” —PAT THOMAS, author of Material Wealth: Mining the Personal Archive of Allen Ginsberg and Did It! Jerry Rubin: An American Revolutionary
Selected Reviews for Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald's Assassin
“This is a fascinating read that sheds new light on one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood figures in this tragic time in American history. Fingeroth masterfully relates to the reader the life of a man, the choices he made, the struggles he endured, the depths he would let himself succumb to.” – Comics Grinder
“Fingeroth masterfully chronicles all of Ruby’s steps from the time that he first received the news, through the murder, his arrest, trial and death…. Fingeroth’s work is up close and personal. He provides insights and little-known facts about Ruby’s life, his state of mind, the decisions made by his family regarding his legal defense team and the trial itself. Fingeroth makes good use of notes taken by Rabbi Hillel Silverman who regularly visited Ruby while awaiting trial. Silverman passed away [in 2023] at age 99.” – Cool Cleveland
“Mr. Fingeroth meticulously sorts through everything that tells him anything about the man: where he came from, what he believed, his attitude toward the Kennedys, his interactions with both the police and crime figures.” – Carl Rollyson at The New York Sun
“The uniqueness of this book is the comprehensive study of Ruby’s life. Danny is to be commended for a fine book. Younger people should read the book to learn about the tragic events that changed history.” – Bruce Slutsky