...a first-rate work of biography and history, addressing the film and the family in all their complexity and character ... Zapruder writes elegantly and with keen sensitivity about the toll the film took on her late father, Henry, a lawyer who became the film’s guardian after Abraham’s death ... [an] absorbing, deeply researched book.
...a moving and enlightening account ... Alexandra Zapruder writes with passion and clarity about the vicissitudes of bearing a famous name without having been involved with its celebrity or notoriety ... it is also a meticulous record — to some readers, perhaps over-meticulous — of the history of the actual, perishable film.
...an unusual, enlightening effort, an intelligent blend of memoir and cultural criticism that breaks fresh ground in the crowded field of JFK assassination studies ... Occasionally defensive when discussing her family’s stewardship of the film, Zapruder’s book is at its most moving when she considers her grandfather’s unintended, often painful status as 'the quintessential eyewitness' of the postwar era ... On a few occasions, it seems as if she intends to use the book as a platform to counter every unsympathetic word that’s ever been published about her family. But when she stops responding to decades-old slights and simply explains the family’s position, it makes a lot of sense.
Making use of family and government archives, interviews, and her own memory, Alexandra offers a supple, tender portrait of a family lashed to history ... Readers with any sense of sympathy will feel compelled by the book’s defense of the family ... Alexandra makes these connections but misses the fact the film also serves as an origin story for civilian-created records of violence.
...a fascinating and cautionary tale ... Ms. Zapruder treats all this material judiciously, although she is plainly sympathetic to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone killed Kennedy. She is more emotionally involved but fair-minded when dealing with the fraught question of how well her grandfather and later her father, Henry, handled the ethical and financial quandries created by the family’s ownership of the film.
Alexandra is a fine storyteller, introducing us to her grandfather, his blossoming in America, and his love for President Kennedy ... The book moves briskly from the early days and weeks of the film’s history toward the various key developments that followed in the decades to come ... Despite all the information presented in Twenty-Six Seconds, the story never lags ... Those who are deeply enmeshed in the details of the Kennedy assassination may be disappointed that she does not discuss the other existing home movies...But Alexandra Zapruder has meticulously researched and written about a film, a family, and a tragedy which helps us better understand what happened to America 53 years ago today.