About the Book

Book Protagonist: Jake Epping
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction

Historical Context


By Stephen King

'11/22/63' is a book that combines the best of literary genres to give a book with an excellent historic, romantic, sci-fi, and thriller story.

Bagging two awards, 11/22/63 remains a favorite for many readers for its characters development and storytelling technique. Though one may notice the switch from first to the third-person perspective narration in the story, it seemingly transitions fluidly, and readers will have no hassle comprehending the book.

11/22/63 Historical Context

Historical Context

’11/22/63′ is a book of significant historical elements as it includes a dark time in the United States history. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is a tragedy that led to a constitutional change that defined what happened when there is an emergency that causes the President to be incapacitated.

After Kennedy’s assassination, the Civil Rights Acts bill of 1964 got signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy’s successor. This crucial point in history marked the beginning of true freedom in America, and this is where ’11/22/63′ asked the question, what if that never happened because the President did not die? The Civil Rights Act stands as a crucial point of American history, and making a slight change to events in this time could have affected the outcome of such a bill.

Stephen King decided to write a story that did not only show how a world with Kennedy surviving would be. He also showed the historical and cultural impact of making that world a reality.

Stephen King, with excellent literature, explored the vast possibilities of time travel, and his ability to re-imagine each historical character was astonishing. Another thing Stephen King tried to answer was what the motivation for Kennedy’s assassination was. After Oswald’s successful assassination of the President, the idea that his act was linked to Russia became a mystery as just two days later, he was shot dead by Jack Ruby. ’11/22/63′ brought Oswald back to life. Though the story does not tell a specific reason for why Oswald fired the shots, it gives us a glimpse of what Lee would have felt at the exact moment of him trying to shoot the President.

Cultural Context

’11/22/63′ has shown its cultural impact on the minds of its readers. The book throws its readers into a time of the cold war, it shows us how people reasoned and acted in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the book compares those thought frames to the present. The novel showed how the disparity in thinking exists between those of the past and those of now. ’11/22/63′ addressed politics and the Presidency of John F. Kennedy up to his assassination.

Stephen King’s idea to change time at a crucial point, President Kennedy’s assassination, made him create an alternate historical timeline where politics vastly affected the world for bad. With the turn of events, the world was set ablaze and plagued by radiation. Stephen King’s choice of radiation and earthquakes as the means to the end of the world in ’11/22/63′ addresses the future impact of radiation if used as a weapon. See the below quote from ’11/22/63′:

We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.

Both in the past and present, people want to be happy, to love, and to feel loved, ’11/22/63′ showed the impact of love on people from two different worlds, and it showed that the one thing that exists amid chaos is love and that love knows no time or bounds.

Adaptation and Awards

’11/22/63′ reception was immensely positive as the New York Times put it on the list of its top five fiction books of the year. With it staying at the best seller spot on the New York Times for 16 weeks, ’11/22/63′ was regarded as Stephen King’s best book in a decade. The novel bagged the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/thriller and the 2012 Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel. The book got nominated for other awards, including the 2012 British Fantasy Award for Best Novel and the 2012 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

Janet Maslin of the New York Times said:

The pages of ’11/22/63′ fly by, filled with immediacy, pathos and suspense. It takes great brazenness to go anywhere near this subject matter. But it takes great skill to make this story even remotely credible. Mr. King makes it all look easy, which is surely his book’s fanciest trick.

In 2014, HULU announced a TV series for ’11/22/63′ that premiered on February 15, 2016. The TV series had a positive reception, and it went on to win two awards, the Saturn Award for Best Presentation on Television and the ASCAP Award for Top Streaming Series. The series also got nominated for 12 other awards.

With the book and its adaptations bagging numerous awards, ’11/22/63′ has left a positive impression on its readers and the audience.


How much time elapses in the present when one traveled to the past in ‘11/22/63‘?

According to Al’s deduction, no matter how long someone spent in the past, only two minutes pass by in the present.

Did ‘11/22/63‘ become a film?

11/22/63‘ was adapted into a series in 2016. The series has been nominated 12 times winning 2 awards.

Is November 22, 1963, a historic date.

President John F. Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963, after Lee Harvey Oswald fired a sniper rifle at him.

What happened to the yellow card man in ‘11/22/63?’

According to Zack Lang, the yellow card man initially came with a green card and was tasked with warning time travelers of the dangers of changing time. However, as time passes, the yellow card man deteriorates mentally and plunges into depression and drinking. Finally, the yellow card man commits suicide.

Is ‘11/22/63‘ historically accurate?

11/22/63‘ is a fictional story created on historically accurate events.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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