Monday, November 18, 2013

my year of reading Kennedy assassination conspiracy books (so far)

Kennedy assassination books I have read this year.

It doesn't look like much, but the books pictured above have been my literary friends this year. Sometime around February I started stockpiling my Kennedy assassination library, and since then I've been doing my best to work my way through the titles. It didn't take me long to realize that there was no way in hell I'd be able to read them all in just one year, but this is a subject I'd been interested in since childhood but had never really explored. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of that fateful day that Kennedy lost his life in Dallas, in fact this Friday to be exact. Because of this, I dedicated all of my reading time to the numerous conspiracy books associated with Kennedy's death. Did I read David Sedaris's new book? No. Did I read Donna Tart's new book? No. Did I read Stephen King's sequel to The Shining? No. But I have plenty of time to get to those............after I finish these books -

Kennedy assassination books I have yet to read.

and a few more titles that I am trying to track down. Honestly, I couldn't have timed my Kennedy reading better, because a number of important books long out of print and costly are being re-issued for the 50th Anniversary. There have also been a number of TV specials and Conferences this year on the subject, and I have become pretty addicted to the Black Ops Radio podcast. If you are even remotely interested in the subject you should download the free Black Ops Radio app. They have been creating a fantastic collection of evidence to support a conspiracy called "50 Reasons..... 50 Years". Len Osanic has been contacting the best researchers and asking them to discuss a number of relevant topics in the conspiracy world. Follow this link to their You Tube page, and you will get lost for hours and hours!!

The first book I read is definitely not a book that shares a belief in a conspiracy,  pretty much sticking to the "Oswald acted alone" story. This book is actually a shortened version of his book Reclaiming History, and I think it was the perfect book for me to start my journey with. It is well written and I tore right through it, but as I mentioned it is strictly a book that parrots the findings of The Warren Commission. I really wanted to keep an open mind while reading the various theories, but yet I have a hard time believing Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin. This book naturally lead me to the Warren Commission itself.

This book took a long time for me to finish, and it is only the tip of the iceberg. There are 26 complete volumes of the Warren Commission, something that I want to read all of at some point, but I will have to find all of them first! This is dry from the get go, and basically begins by Louis Nizer's asking us to suspend reality, stating "Yet one can see from the Warren Commission Report that a series of coincidences, not likely to occur again in a thousand years, constitutes the true explanation. The facts established by the Commission fill a vacuum of incredulity". I was not familiar with many of the details and conspiracy theories yet, but even I started to find holes in the story. It quickly became quite clear to me that the findings of the Warren Commission were not really findings based on any kind of objective research practices. The members of the Commission had a specific agenda they wished to expand upon, and they avoided or discredited anyone or thing that didn't fit into their preordained story line. I felt that I was now familiar enough with the party line, that is that Oswald acted alone and was responsible for both Kennedy and Tippit's murder. It was now time to start reading about what really happened.

This book was one of the early criticisms of the Warren Commission's findings, and it was mind blowing for me. I took so many notes and highlighted so much of it, it looks like a text book from my freshman year of college! Mark Lane is a skilled writer, and it is simply impossible to believe that Oswald acted alone after reading this book. I now even questioned if Oswald even shot a gun that day! Mark Lane interviewed a number of key witnesses for himself, and unlike the perpetrators behind the Warren Commission, he did not have an agenda he wished to support. This was the perfect start to my conspiracy reading, and a book I would really suggest you read too.

I have seen Oliver Stone's film JFK a number of times, and now it has become one of those movies that I have to watch if I come across it on TV. Jim Marrs book is a crucial inspiration for that film, and it expands upon the thoughts laid out in Mark Lane's Rush To Judgement. It was my introduction to Oswald's life in New Orleans and the strange characters of David Ferrie, Guy Banister and Clay Shaw. It also sheds some light on Hoover and the role that the FBI and CIA had in the conspiracy. I feel this is another must read for anyone interested in the subject.

Another inspiration for the film JFK, this is straight from the horses's mouth. Jim Garrison was the District Attorney for New Orleans, and the only lawyer that attempted to try a member of the conspiracy to kill John F Kennedy, Clay Shaw. His attempts to discover the truth made him the victim of media assassins and a target for governmental branches fearful of being named as accomplices in the conspiracy. Garrison is a fantastic writer, and this is another must read. The New Orleans connection is an important portion of the conspiracy story, and this is a great over view of it.

Next was this monster of a book. Both authors are important researchers in the Kennedy conspiracy world, and this was my first in depth book on the inconsistencies of the medical evidence, but it was a tough slog! There is a lot of important information here, and I am glad to have finished it but it may take me some time to get to High Treason 2. This was also the first book that I read in which I felt like I was reading regurgitated facts from the other books I'd read. That may have been part of my problem with it. But after this one I read hands down my favorite book on the topic yet, Six Seconds In Dallas by Josiah Thompson.

Another seminal and early book to question the facts laid out by the Warren Commission, I'd recommend this book above all others for it's well told description of that fateful day. Some of the information has been dated, but Thompson is an amazing writer and I read this book in a couple of days. This raises a number of questions regarding the number of shooters in Dallas and successfully disputes a number of "facts" the Warren Commission would have us all believe. There are also some great photographs included. I believe that Josiah Thompson has a new book coming out soon, and I will definitely look for it! I splurged on this and bought a hardcover first edition of it, but I am glad that I have it in my collection.

I went back to Garrison again, but I wanted to read something from the frequent contributor to Black Ops Radio, Jim DiEugenio. His role is usually one of answering listener's questions, but I have been very impressed with his working knowledge of the conspiracy genre. There are so many names and facts to remember when it comes to this subject, and as someone who has a hard time remembering names I am impressed by DiEugenio. The strength of this book is his ability at relay Kennedy's role in the "Big Picture" of history.  If we are to believe that elements of the CIA or FBI were responsible for the comspiracy, we have to know why they did what they did. This manages to explain that. His writing can be a bit dry, and often times he will mention people or events and not explain them, assuming that we simply know what he is referring to. Because of this, I suggest you definitely read some of the other books I listed first to avoid any confusion.

This is the book I am reading right now, and it is jam packed full of stories and behind the scenes of Jim Garrison. It shares his story, lumps and all, and goes in depth into his research and trial. It has extensive footnotes which I was relieved to see, because after reading some of the stories in this book I said to myself, "There is no way that is what happened". This is the fourth book I have read that focuses in on this portion of the Kennedy conspiracy, but it doesn't feel like it is following the well traveled road I am familiar with. I believe this was just re-issued with newer information included.

Initially I had wanted to do a day sponsorship on Friday to talk about the assassination and all of the conspiracies associated with it. As time passed I began to feel that it would be wrong to talk conspiracy on the anniversary of such a tragic day. It didn't seem to be the right thing to do. I will be talking about the events that happened in Dallas 50 years ago on Friday, and I will play some audio of that day too, but it will be during the morning show alone. I just picked up the new release from Norton Records pictured above, and so I will be playing some of the songs from that too. If you have any thoughts on this subject please don't hesitate to contact me. I can talk Kennedy conspiracy for hours! Drop us an email at or leave a comment below.


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