The Chicago Syndicate: JFK
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label JFK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JFK. Show all posts

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dallas 1963 - Climate of Hatred Leading to Assassination of #JFK

In the months and weeks before the fateful November 22nd, 1963, Dallas was brewing with political passions, a city crammed with larger-than-life characters dead-set against the Kennedy presidency. These included rabid warriors like defrocked military general Edwin A. Walker; the world's richest oil baron, H. L. Hunt; the leader of the largest Baptist congregation in the world, W.A. Criswell; and the media mogul Ted Dealey, who raucously confronted JFK and whose family name adorns the plaza where the president was murdered. On the same stage was a compelling cast of marauding gangsters, swashbuckling politicos, unsung civil rights heroes, and a stylish millionaire anxious to save his doomed city.

Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis ingeniously explore the swirling forces that led many people to warn President Kennedy to avoid Dallas on his fateful trip to Texas. Breathtakingly paced, DALLAS 1963 presents a clear, cinematic, and revelatory look at the shocking tragedy that transformed America. Countless authors have attempted to explain the assassination, but no one has ever bothered to explain Dallas-until now.

With spellbinding storytelling, Minutaglio and Davis lead us through intimate glimpses of the Kennedy family and the machinations of the Kennedy White House, to the obsessed men in Dallas who concocted the climate of hatred that led many to blame the city for the president's death. Here at long last is an accurate understanding of what happened in the weeks and months leading to John F. Kennedy's assassination. DALLAS 1963 is not only a fresh look at a momentous national tragedy but a sobering reminder of how radical, polarizing ideologies can poison a city-and a nation.

The Chicago Public Library @chipublib Observed the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy's Assassination Today

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, schoolchildren, and special guests today at the Harold Washington Library Center to observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The event celebrated the life and legacy of President Kennedy, as well as his and the Kennedy family’s long standing connection to Chicago.

“President Kennedy challenged all Americans to answer the call of public service, inspiring generations of Americans to serve others and work for the greater good of their fellow humans," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Today, as we observe the fiftieth anniversary of his tragic death, we remember his life and legacy and the profound impact he had on our nation and our city."

As part of the program, author Ilene Cooper spoke about the Kennedys’ decades-long ties to Chicago, beginning in 1945 when the Kennedy patriarch and President’s father Joseph Sr. purchased the Merchandise Mart, which soon became a trade show mecca known across the country. From that time on, the Kennedy family has played a prominent role in Chicago. Several Kennedy family members have made the Chicago area their home and still play a major role in the operation of the Merchandise Mart.

Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band paid homage to President Kennedy’s love for cultural arts and jazz music. In 1962, the President and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy hosted the first White House jazz concert, starting a tradition that still exists today. The concert featured music selected from that first jazz concert in 1962, along with selections from subsequent White House concerts.

The Chicago Public Library encourages lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.  For more information, visit or call the Chicago Public Library at (312) 747-4050.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Top Five Conspiracy Theories on JFK Assassination

As the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination draws nearer, the debate over who actually pulled the trigger rages on. Did Lee Harvey Oswald, as the The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, concluded, use an Italian bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to fire three shots from the Texas School Book Depository building, hitting President John F. Kennedy once in the neck and once in the back of the head? Or were there larger forces at work?

The belief that there was conspiracy to assassinate the president has only become more widespread with the passage of time.  As ABC News reports, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1978 that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” A 2003 ABC News poll showed that 70 percent of Americans believed the JFK assassination was “not the act of a lone killer,” with 7 percent believing that Oswald was not involved at all.

So what is the truth? What really happened on Nov. 22, 1963, at Dealey Plaza in Dallas? We’ll probably never know, but we can continue to speculate. Below is a list of the top five JFK assassination conspiracy theories that have been bandied about over the years.

1.) The CIA Killed JFK

The Central Intelligence Agency has always been shadowy, mysterious organization, which lends itself perfectly to a conspiracy theory involving the JFK assassination. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation, Kennedy made an enemy out of the CIA after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. As a result of that failed operation, CIA Director Allen Dulles (who would later serve on the Warren Commission) was forced to resign and many allegedly began to see JFK as a threat to CIA interests.

As the New York Post reports, author Patrick Nolan surmises that the CIA wanted “power, self-preservation and to stop the Kennedys’ plan to make peace with Cuba and the Soviets.” Nolan theorizes that a group of rogue CIA agents, including Richard Helms (who became CIA director a few years later), James Angleton, David Phillips and E. Howard Hunt (of Watergate infamy), used three shooters placed at different locations in Dealey Plaza -- the Book Depository building, the Grassy Knoll and the Dal-Tex building -- to pull off the assassination. In his book, “CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys: How and Why US Agents Conspired to Assassinate JFK and RFK,” Nolan uses physical, medical and film evidence, as well as eyewitness accounts, to reach his conclusion.

2.) The Mafia Killed JFK

The relationship between organized crime and the Kennedy family stretched back decades prior to the assassination, as President Kennedy’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, allegedly engaged in bootlegging during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. As the Los Angeles Times points out, it’s also believed that Joseph Kennedy used his Mafia connections to help his son win the crucial state of Illinois during the 1960 presidential election against Richard Nixon. However, the mutually beneficial relationship between the Mafia and the Kennedy family would soon come to an end.

According to ABC News, one version of this theory posits that Mafia was angered with JFK after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, as they had hoped to re-exert their presence in Cuba, which had been erased after Fidel Castro rose to power. Additionally, JFK’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, had become a crusader against the Mafia in his position as the nation’s top cop.

As the Post reports, Lamar Waldron, author of the book “The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination: The Definitive Account of the Most Controversial Crime of the Twentieth Century,” theorizes that the assassination was masterminded by New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, with help from Santo Trafficante of Florida and Johnny Roselli of Chicago. According to the Waldron, Marcello used Italian hit men, smuggling them into the country from Canada, to commit the crime. Marcello reportedly bragged about pulling off the assassination to an inmate at a prison where he was serving time in 1985. “Yeah, I had the son of a bitch killed,” he allegedly said. “I’m glad I did. I’m sorry I couldn’t have done it myself.”

3.) Lyndon B. Johnson Killed JFK

If one wants a definitive answer as to who killed JFK, look no further than the man who benefited the most from his assassination. At least, that’s what author Roger Stone says in his new book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.” In an interview with Voices of Russia, Stone says that LBJ -- who was sworn in as president on a plane in Dallas just hours after the JFK assassination -- used longtime associate and hit man Malcolm Wallace to do the deed. As the Post points out, Stone alleges that Wallace’s fingerprints were found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, where the Warren Commission says Oswald fired his fatal shots.

According to Stone, Johnson insisted on both the trip to Dallas and the route through Dealey Plaza, where none of the buildings in the area were sealed off. Stone thinks LBJ both reduced the number of police officers on motorcycles on either side of the president’s car and ordered off the Secret Service agents that would have been riding on the rear bumper of the car.  In the interview with Voices of Russia, Stone believes that LBJ can be tied to as many as eight murders in Texas prior to the JFK assassination, in order to cover up his corruption, voter fraud and more.

4.) The Russians Killed JFK

To examine the theory that the Soviet Union killed President John F. Kennedy, one must look at the geopolitical situation in 1963. This was the height of the Cold War and the peak of anti-Communist sentiment in the United States. According to ABC News, conspiracy theorists frequently cite the notion that Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev was incensed at having to back down to JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis the year before, and had the president killed by the KGB in retaliation.

Another interesting connection is Oswald’s time spent in the Soviet Union. In October 1959, Oswald -- a former Marine -- defected to the Soviet Union, where he met his future wife, Marina. Marina’s uncle was a colonel in the MVD, which is the Russian Interior Ministry service.

According to Stratfor, there are numerous anomalies about Oswald’s time in Russia, including how the two were able to get permission to marry (a requirement for any Soviet citizen marrying a foreigner), as well as why Marina, an upper-middle class woman with an uncle in the government, would agree to marry an American defector with little prospects whom she had just met one month before.

In early 1962, Oswald, Marina and their daughter left the Soviet Union for the United States. As Stratfor points out, Marina Oswald was granted permission to leave the the country with an American defector within weeks of her request, an extremely rare, if not completely unheard of, turnaround. Why? Conspiracy theorists point to questions like these as evidence of Soviet involvement in the assassination of JFK.

5.) The Cubans Killed JFK

There are two separate sub-theories surrounding Cuba and the JFK assassination. The first, as ABC News points out, is that Castro had JFK assassinated in retaliation for the numerous attempts on his life during the Kennedy administration, courtesy of both the CIA and the Mafia. In 1968, Johnson told ABC News that “Kennedy was trying to get to Castro, but Castro got to him first.”

During an interview with Bill Moyers in 1977, Castro said the theory was “absolute insanity.”

The second, perhaps more plausible, theory involves a mixture of militant anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami, the Mafia and the CIA. As the Mary Ferrell Foundation points out, the anti-Castro Cubans were enraged by Kennedy’s failure to provide crucial air support during the Bay of Pigs invasion. This could have been seen as emblematic of Kennedy’s “soft” approach to communism, a charge that had already been leveled at him after he chose not to invade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Did anti-Castro Cubans, working in conjunction with the CIA and the Mafia, assassinate JFK?

Thanks to Andrew Berry.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy is Explored on #CrimeBeatRadio

On November 14th, a command appearance by Peter Janney, author of Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, Tonight on #CrimeBeatRadio

On November 7th, Roger Stone and Mike Colapietro, co-authors of "The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ" appear on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"The JFK Collection" On DVD - 8 Films Covering His Life, His Death and His Legacy

HISTORY presents The JFK Collection, an impressive 3-disc DVD set exploring one of America’s most legendary families available on October 22 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Chronicling the life and legacy of our nation’s 35th President John F. Kennedy, the 8-film collection arrives just in time for the 50th anniversary of one of the most talked about moments in American history.

Featuring hours of content celebrating his iconic life, The JFK Collection 3-disc DVD set will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

Go inside the life of John F. Kennedy, a reckless rich kid who lived on the edge and became a WWII hero and a president who challenged the nation as it had never been before. This comprehensive family portrait also includes hour-long biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joseph P. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Ted Kennedy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union

Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 remains one of the most horrifying and hotly debated crimes in American history. Just as perplexing as the assassination is the assassin himself; the 24-year-old Oswald’s hazy background and motivations—and his subsequent murder at the hands of Jack Ruby—make him an intriguing yet frustratingly enigmatic figure. Because Oswald briefly defected to the Soviet Union, some historians allege he was a Soviet agent. But as Peter Savodnik shows in The Interloper, Oswald’s time in the U.S.S.R. reveals a stranger, more chilling story.

Oswald ventured to Russia at the age of 19, after a failed stint in the U.S. Marine Corps and a childhood spent shuffling from address to address with his unstable, needy mother. Like many of his generation, Oswald struggled for a sense of belonging in postwar American society, which could be materialistic, atomized, and alienating. The Soviet Union, with its promise of collectivism and camaraderie, seemed to offer an alternative. While traveling in Europe, Oswald slipped across the Soviet border, soon settling in Minsk where he worked at a radio and television factory. But Oswald quickly became just as disillusioned with his adopted country as he had been with the United States. He spoke very little Russian, had difficulty adapting to the culture of his new home, and found few trustworthy friends; indeed most, it became clear, were informing on him to the KGB. After nearly three years, Oswald returned to America feeling utterly defeated and more alone than ever—and as Savodnik shows, he began to look for an outlet for his frustration and rage.

Drawing on groundbreaking research, including interviews with Oswald’s friends and acquaintances in Russia and the United States, The Interloper brilliantly evokes the shattered psyche not just of Oswald himself, but also of the era he so tragically defined.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't Miss it When @TheMobMuseum Hosts "JFK: An Inside Look at the Assassination of a President, 50 Years Later"

On Thursday, November 7, at 7 p.m., The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, will host “JFK: An Inside Look into the Assassination of a President 50 Years Later” in its historic courtroom. Part of the Museum’s ongoing programming series, the evening will provide a look back at this historic event through the differing perspectives of three panelists.

Authors Patrick Nolan (“CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys,” due to be released on November 6), Gerald Posner (“Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK”) and G. Robert Blakey (“The Plot to Kill the President” and “Fatal Hour: The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime”) will address questions such as: Was Lee Harvey Oswald a lone shooter? What role, if any, did organized crime play in the assassination? Was government involved? Moderating the panel will be Tom Stone, senior lecturer in English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, who has taught classes for the last 20 years on JFK’s assassination.

Patrick Nolan is a forensic historian who has dedicated his life to uncovering truths surrounding the JFK, MLK, and RFK assassinations of the 1960s. He’s been a journalist, a television news producer, and a professor at Hofstra University and St. John’s University. His groundbreaking book, “CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys:  How and Why US Agents Conspired to Assassinate JFK and RFK,” is based on world-famous forensic scientist Dr. Henry C. Lee’s conclusion that both Kennedy murders involved more than one gunman. Were the conspirators who assassinated the President the same perpetrators that killed his brother the Senator? In “CIA Rogues,” Nolan offers a fresh new look at the evidence and pieces together one of the most disturbing puzzles in American History. He claims an alliance involving a high-level CIA rogue element, led by Richard Helms and James Angleton, with mob support, had the motive, means and opportunity to carry out both assassinations and cover them up for nearly a half century.

At 23, Posner was one of the youngest attorneys ever hired by Cravath, Swaine & Moore. A Political Science major, Posner was a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (1975), where he was also a national debating champion, winner of the Meiklejohn Award. At Hastings Law School (1978), he was an Honors Graduate and served as the Associate Executive Editor for the Law Review. Posner has worked as a freelance writer on investigative issues for several news magazines, and a regular contributor to NBC, the History Channel, CNN, FOX News, CBS, and MSNBC. He is the author of 11 books covering everything from Nazi war criminals to heroin trafficking to political assassinations to 9/11 and terrorism.  His 1993 book, “Case Closed,” was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer in History.  It received widespread critical acclaim. Typical was historian Robert Dallek in The Boston Globe, “Superb…The most convincing explanation of the assassination” and Jeffrey Toobin in the Chicago Tribune, “Utterly convincing…Fascinating and important…Case closed, indeed.”  In Case Closed, Posner concludes that Oswald alone killed JFK.

Blakey is a recognized expert on organized crime and an authority on the JFK assassination. In the late 1960s he campaigned for and helped write much of the anti-racketeering legislation (RICO Act) that had a major impact on fighting organized crime. As chief counsel to the 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations, Blakey led the investigation into President Kennedy's assassination, reexamining the evidence with a new forensics panel. Blakey also worked as a Special Attorney at the Department of Justice in the Organized Crime & Racketeering Section from 1960 to 1964. Blakey is the co-author with Richard Billings of “The Plot to Kill the President” (1981). The book was reissued in paperback in 1993 as “Fatal Hour: The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime.”

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with a reception featuring light fare and a cash bar. The program will begin promptly at 7 p.m. in The Mob Museum’s historic courtroom. Following the moderator-led panel discussion, audience members will have a chance to ask questions and have their books signed by the authors. The evening will mark the first public signing of Nolan’s book. The program will conclude by 9 p.m.

Tickets for the November 7 event are $30 for non-members; Museum members will receive a 10 percent discount. To make reservations, please call (702) 229-2734 or visit

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mistress of JFK & Sam Giancana to be Portrayed by @ChristinaBLind in the "Ride the Tiger" Play

Christina Lind will change dresses often as she brings Judith Exner to life on a New Haven stage. She also aims to change how history views the mistress of both JFK and the don of the Chicago mob—to get beyond the wardrobe and the good looks.

Lind plays Exner in Ride the Tiger, which premieres Long Wharf on March 27 and runs through April 21. Willilam Mastrosimone’s play, directed by Gordon Edelstein, explores how sex and roughhouse politics intersected in the once-storied Camelot of JFK’s brief presidency.

Exner remained quiet for 15 years about her love affair with JFK. When it was revealed in the context of Senate hearings on U.S. intelligence gathering in the 1970s, Lind says she was character-assassinated as a gold-digging slut.

Lind doesn’t buy that character-assassination for a moment. Nor have other writers who have subsequently frayed the JFK myth.

This is Exner’s first posthumous trip on a major theatrical stage, Lind intends to seize the opportunity. She’s on a mission to change the way history views Exner. "She was vilified for being caught up in a river she couldn’t control,” Lind said in an interview a week into rehearsals, when the many dresses she’ll be wearing were not yet quite finished.

The play goes back and forth between Joe Kennedy’s plotting the rise of his senator son into the presidency; Frank Sinatra’s gigs in Las Vegas, where his pal JFK takes note of Exner; and Sam Giancana’s various digs as he murders his way through the drug trade and maybe trying to help JFK and the CIA knock off Fidel Castro with exploding cigars. By some accounts, Exner carried messages between the mobster and the president.

Mastrosimone’s play is a whirlwind of intrigue. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at the 1960 presidential campaign, where Giancana allegedly fixed union support for JFK in the expectation that the young prez’s brother Bobby would take off the Department of Justice heat. When that didn’t happen, Giancana allegedly expected some other kind of payback or threatened to retaliate.

For example: In the second act, Sam says to Judy: “Bobby wants to fight organized crime, he should indict his fuckin’ brother. The Bay of Pigs was a crime. And it was organized.”

Or Jack to Judy in a moment of post-coital truth-telling:  “You know, Judy, we’re more alike than I thought. We ride the tiger just to say we did it.”

There’s a lot of history mixing with racy, messy, and intriguing might-have-beens.

The through line is Exner, a rich young California woman who early on married an actor and whose social circle was the wealthy and the powerful. In other words, Lind points out, she was no poor social climber.

Actors are always looking for windows that let them inside a character. Lind (pictured) is a young actress who’s best known for her work as Bianca in the daytime soap All My Children. Exner is the first real character she has portrayed. Lind said she feels a sense of artistic “responsibility” to portray the character’s complexity, not the black and white.

Lind read in Exner’s biography, Judith Exner: My story, that Exner absolutely never let the powerful men in her life pay for her. “She was self-sufficient, wouldn’t let people buy her stuff. She booked her own flights.”

Those would be airplane flights for her cross-country trysts with the young new president, who is portrayed in this play as a sexual athlete who needs Exner—or Marilyn Monroe or any number of other women—either to distract him from his presidential burdens or to relieve the extreme back pain from his PT-109 wartime injuries.

“She wanted what everyone wanted, to be loved. And they used her. And before she knew it, she was used up. Affairs with powerful people are not black and white. She had power herself,” reflected Lind.

That power was perhaps rooted in Exner’s beauty. In her intense dark eyes and, in the view of some, a Jackie look-alike quality. “She was not a slut or easy. I feel she had a great personality, a charisma too. She had a sway over these men. JFK was a prince, and he had something like love for her,” Lind argued.

Lind noted that her colleagues [Douglas Sills as playing JFK, John Cunningham as Jack’s dad Joe, Jordan Lage as mobster Giancana] have a different challenge: to portray with freshness characters people already know.

Exner is different. In the received history as well as in the play, “all the other characters characterize her as a certain thing,” Lind observed. She called it “a great privilege for me to reveal her in this way. These details about her have been ignored by history, as is the case for many women, especially those who were in submissive position with powerful men. It’s easier to call them home-wreckers than to examine their psychology.”

Lind was asked how she would want Exner, who died at age 65 in 1999, to respond to the play if she were in the audience. “I would want her to tell me, ‘Thank you for understanding me,’” Lind responded. “That’s my greatest wish.’”

The young actress, who is about the age Exner was in the 1960s, splits her time between Brooklyn and L.A. She has several other roles percolating for her next steps in her career, she said. She declined to name them, to avoid hexing her chances. Then she went back to her colleagues to resume running lines for Judith Exner.

Thanks to Allen Appel.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

46 Years Ago Today - Jack Ruby Dies of Cancer

On January 3, 1967, Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned his death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.

On November 24, 1963, two days after Kennedy's assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail. A crowd of police and press with live television cameras rolling gathered to witness his departure. As Oswald came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with a single shot from a concealed .38 revolver. Ruby, who was immediately detained, claimed he was distraught over the president's assassination. Some called him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder.

Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had minor connections to organized crime. He also had a relationship with a number of Dallas policemen, which amounted to various favors in exchange for leniency in their monitoring of his establishments. He features prominently in Kennedy assassination theories, and many believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy. In his trial, Ruby denied the charge, maintaining that he was acting out of patriotism. In March 1964, he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

The official The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy" that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee's findings, as with the findings of the Warren Commission, continue to be widely disputed.

Thanks to The History Channel.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

On the 50th Anniversary of His Assassination, JFK and The CIA Conspiracy on Crime Beat Radio

On November 22nd, Peter Janney discusses his book, The CIA Conspiracy: The Murder of John F. Kennedy, Mary Pichot Meyer and their Vision for World Peace, on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST., on the Artist First World Radio Network at

Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Kennedy" Released Today

Bill O'Reilly describes himself as a journalistic "watchdog" and a "champion bloviator."

He's not a historian — "not really. That's not my discipline," he says in his corner office at Fox News, home of The O'Reilly Factor, the top-rated show on cable news. But few history books can approach the popularity of O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, which has sold more than 2 million copies since it was released a year ago. His new book, Killing Kennedy (Henry Holt), about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, could be as popular. It goes on sale Tuesday.

Both books were co-written by Martin Dugard, who did most of the research, leaving the writing to O'Reilly, whose approach is to write "history that's fun to read" in a "populist way. No pinheaded stuff, just roar it through!"

It's history as fast-paced thriller, with dramatic foreshadowing in a you-are-there present tense. And, O'Reilly says, "it's all true!"

A few historians questioned details and a lack of documentation in Killing Lincoln. O'Reilly, a former high school history teacher, says any errors, corrected in later editions, are "picayune." The criticism, he says, is just jealousy.

"These guys toil in obscurity their whole lives, and a punk like me comes along and sells 2 million copies. They're not happy."

O'Reilly, 63, is to traditional history what best-selling novelist James Patterson is to literature. Neither gets much respect from academic types. Both say they don't care — all the way to bank.

They also share a collaborator. Dugard (whom O'Reilly calls "the best researcher I could find — and I talked to all the top guys") co-wrote Patterson's 2009 non-fiction bestseller, The Murder of King Tut, about a 3,000-year-old mystery.

O'Reilly says he didn't solve all the mysteries of the Kennedy assassination. He found no evidence of a conspiracy but stops short of ruling it out.

"I know that Oswald killed Kennedy. Now, was he pushed? Encouraged to do it by outsiders? Possibly. Possibly. Was he sitting down with Fidel Castro? No."

But he adds, "There were people around Oswald who shouldn't have been there." He cites George de Mohrenschildt, a well-educated Russian immigrant with possible CIA connections, who "had ties to some very, very important people. Why is he hanging with this loser (Oswald)?"

De Mohrenschildt pops up in other books on the assassination. He's even a minor character in Stephen King's best-selling novel 11/22/63. But O'Reilly has a personal connection.In 1977, as a Dallas TV reporter, O'Reilly tried to interview de Mohrenschildt, who also was a target of congressional investigators re-examining the assassination. As O'Reilly tells it, as he knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt's daughter's house in Palm Beach, Fla., he heard a shotgun blast. Police later ruled that de Mohrenschildt committed suicide. "There were rumors he was murdered," O'Reilly says, "but I found no evidence of that." He adds, "I'm still working the story. There's something there. What it is, I just don't know."

O'Reilly's biggest surprises were "how crazy, and I mean crazy," Oswald was, and "how little the authorities did to protect Kennedy" in Dallas.

Two-thirds of the book deals with Kennedy's presidency and private life, including his extramarital affairs. It portrays Kennedy as a pragmatic and decisive leader who treated sexual risks as "his carpe diem way of living life to the utmost."

"I wanted to show the good and the bad," O'Reilly says.

He says his biggest break was getting FBI agents who flooded Dallas after the assassination to share what they learned about Oswald. He says that helped him understand the assassin, a former Marine who defected to Russia, then returned to the USA with his Russian-born wife, Marina.

For a taste of O'Reilly's style, consider his description of Oswald on the eve of the assassination as he visits his estranged wife.

As O'Reilly sets the scene, Oswald is undecided about shooting Kennedy as he begs his wife to take him back. "But if she doesn't, " O'Reilly writes, "Oswald will be left with no choice."

"That's how delusional Lee Harvey Oswald's world has become. He now deals only in absolutes: either live happily ever after — or murder the president."

O'Reilly may not be a historian, but his office walls are filled with historic artifacts, including the last South Vietnamese flag to fly over the U.S. Embassy in Saigon and the errant Chicago Tribune front page proclaiming "Dewey Defeats Truman."

He boasts, "Everything in here is an original," which could be applied to O'Reilly himself.

His love-him-or-hate-him personality is part of his appeal. To viewers who complain that he shouts, he says, "Turn down the volume. I don't really shout that much. I'm just a loud Irish guy."

He says that the liberal media "don't get me" — that he's not a conservative but a "traditionalist." In 2009, he supported President Obama's financial bailouts and economic stimulus, which, he says "led to a big brouhaha with (Rush) Limbaugh." Now, O'Reilly complains, Obama "has lost control of the economy." Mitt Romney, he says, can't connect with "the guy making $40,000 a year."

He writes popular history "to get people engaged with their country." He complains that few history books are fun to read: "Even the really good ones, by Robert Caro and these guys — I mean, they're brilliant guys, but to get through 800 pages, you either have to be retired or on vacation for six weeks."

For those keeping score, Caro's fourth book on Lyndon Johnson,The Passage of Power, is 712 pages, including 79 pages of footnotes and sources. Killing Kennedy is 325 pages, including seven pages about its sources.

The Passage of Power landed on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list at No. 15 and spent seven weeks in the top 150. Killing Lincoln landed on the list at No. 3 and has been in top 50 for 42 weeks. It's now No. 38. (A kids' version, Lincoln's Last Days, landed on the list at No. 42 and is now No. 61.)

No history book has sold so well since David McCullough's 2001 biography, John Adams, which was adapted as an HBO miniseries. A two-hour version of Killing Lincoln, narrated by Tom Hanks, will be on National Geographic in February.

But beyond its commercial success, Killing Lincoln got mixed reviews. Its "narrative flair" was praised by University of New Hampshire historian Ellen Fitzpatrick in a Washington Post review, but she said it "offers no direct citations for any of its assertions."

Rae Emerson, deputy superintendent at Ford's Theatre, site of Lincoln's assassination, cited seven errors in the book — such as references to Lincoln in the Oval Office, which wasn't built until 1909.

O'Reilly says he invited anyone who challenged his facts to appear on his TV show, but no one would. Emerson didn't respond to questions from USA TODAY.

As with Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy doesn't always name names or cite its sources.

It describes a 1962 party at Bing Crosby's home and a rendezvous between Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe this way: "There is an intimacy in their movements that leaves no doubt they will be sleeping together tonight."

O'Reilly says that's based on an article in the British tabloid Daily Mail, confirmed by a federal agent who was at the party. "I don't want to sound defensive, but either you believe what we wrote, or you don't," he says. "I'm not writing a Ph.D. dissertation."

Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University historian and prolific author (most recently of the biography Cronkite), says that popular history often omits footnotes and that O'Reilly shouldn't be "held to a double standard because of his politics."

But Brinkley adds that the Kennedy assassination remains a heated issue, and "whatever O'Reilly writes, it will be picked apart. The lack of footnotes and details about its sources make it harder to find the book's frailties. But someone will find them — if they are there."

Thanks to Bob Minzesheimer.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Listening In: The Secret White House Tapes of John F. Kennedy

In July 1962, in an effort to preserve an accurate record of Presidential decision-making in a highly charged atmosphere of conflicting viewpoints, strategies and tactics, John F. Kennedy installed hidden recording systems in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room. The result is a priceless historical archive comprising some 265 hours of taped material. JFK was elected president when Civil Rights tensions were near the boiling point, and Americans feared a nuclear war. Confronted with complex dilemmas necessitating swift and unprecedented action, President Kennedy engaged in intense discussion and debate with his cabinet members and other advisors.

Now, in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy presidency, the John F. Kennedy Library and historian Ted Widmer have carefully selected the most compelling and important of these remarkable recordings for release, fully restored and re-mastered onto two 75-minute CDs for the first time. Listening In represents a uniquely unscripted, insider account of a president and his cabinet grappling with the day-to-day business of the White House and guiding the nation through a hazardous era of uncertainty.

Accompanied by extensively annotated transcripts of the recordings, and with a foreword by Caroline Kennedy, Listening In delivers the story behind the story in the unguarded words and voices of the decision-makers themselves. Listening In covers watershed events, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, Vietnam, and the arms race, and offers fascinating glimpses into the intellectual methodology of a circumspect president and his brilliant, eclectic brain trust.

Just as the unique vision of President John F. Kennedy continues to resonate half a century after his stirring speeches and bold policy decisions, the documentary candor of Listening In imparts a vivid, breathtaking immediacy that will significantly expand our understanding of his time in office

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

Celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life the story of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, in this, the first and only biography based on unrestricted and exclusive access to the Joseph P. Kennedy papers.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy—whose life spanned the First World War, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the Cold War—was the patriarch of America’s greatest political dynasty. The father of President John F. Kennedy and senators Robert and Edward Kennedy, “Joe” Kennedy was an indomitable and elusive figure whose dreams of advancement for his nine children were matched only by his extraordinary personal ambition and shrewd financial skills. Trained as a banker, Kennedy was also a Hollywood mogul, a stock exchange savant, a shipyard manager, the founding chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and ambassador to London during the Battle of Britain. Though his incredible life encompasses the very heart of the American century, Joseph Kennedy has remained shrouded in rumor and prejudice for decades.

Drawing on never-before-published material from archives on three continents, David Nasaw—the renowned biographer of Andrew Carnegie and William Randolph Hearst—unearths a man far more complicated than the popular portrait. Was Kennedy an appeaser and isolationist, an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer, a stock swindler, a bootlegger, and a colleague of mobsters? Did he push his second son into politics and then buy his elections for him? Why did he have his daughter Rosemary lobotomized? Why did he oppose the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Korean War, and American assistance to the French in Vietnam? What was his relationship to J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI? How did he influence his son’s politics and policies in the White House? In this groundbreaking biography Nasaw ignores the tired old answers surrounding Kennedy, starting from scratch to discover the truth behind this misunderstood man.

Though far from a saint, Joseph Kennedy in many ways exemplifies the best in American political, economic, and social life. His rags-to-riches story is one of exclusion and quiet discrimination overcome by entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and unshakable endurance. Kennedy’s story deserves to be told in full, with no holds barred, and Nasaw’s magnificent The Patriarch is the first book to do so.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

A riveting historical narrative of the shocking events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the follow-up to mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever.

More than a million readers have thrilled to Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, the page-turning work of nonfiction about the shocking assassination that changed the course of American history. Now the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.

In January 1961, as the Cold War escalates, John F. Kennedy struggles to contain the growth of Communism while he learns the hardships, solitude, and temptations of what it means to be president of the United States. Along the way he acquires a number of formidable enemies, among them Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Alan Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  In addition, powerful elements of organized crime have begun to talk about targeting the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

In the midst of a 1963 campaign trip to Texas, Kennedy is gunned down by an erratic young drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes the scene, only to be caught and shot dead while in police custody.

The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. Killing Kennedy chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot, bringing history to life in ways that will profoundly move the reader.  This may well be the most talked about book of the year.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero

A new portrait of John F. Kennedy based on interviews with those who knew him best, by Chris Matthews, bestselling Kennedy expert and host of Hardball.

By following the journey of Jack Kennedy’s life from his school days to the White House, through war and illness and his greatest triumphs, Chris Matthews brings us much closer to the man Jack Kennedy really was.

We know so much about President John F. Kennedy, yet even his wife Jacqueline described him as “that elusive man.” To MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews, Kennedy has long been both an avatar and a puzzle, a beacon and a conundrum. “Whenever I spot the name in print, I stop to read. Anytime I’ve ever met a person who knew him—someone who was there with JFK in real time—I crave hearing their first-person narrative.”

For years, Matthews has been collecting those stories. In Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, the bestselling author and Kennedy expert has woven those firsthand encounters with JFK into a great American Bildungsroman, telling the tale of how Kennedy grew from a child of privilege into a war hero and finally President of the United States, all the while coping with a life-threatening disease.

“In searching for Jack Kennedy my own way,” Matthews writes, “I found a fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father’s son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, for the first time, they can be heard and read in this deluxe, illustrated book and 8-CD set.

Shortly after President John F. Kennedy s assassination, with a nation deep in mourning and the world looking on in stunned disbelief, Jacqueline Kennedy found the strength to set aside her own personal grief for the sake of posterity and begin the task of documenting and preserving her husband s legacy. In January of 1964, she and Robert F. Kennedy approved a planned oral-history project that would capture their first-hand accounts of the late President as well as the recollections of those closest to him throughout his extraordinary political career. For the rest of her life, the famously private Jacqueline Kennedy steadfastly refused to discuss her memories of those years, but beginning that March, she fulfilled her obligation to future generations of Americans by sitting down with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and recording an astonishingly detailed and unvarnished account of her experiences and impressions as the wife and confidante of John F. Kennedy. The tapes of those sessions were then sealed and later deposited in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum upon its completion, in accordance with Mrs. Kennedy s wishes. The resulting eight and a half hours of material comprises a unique and compelling record of a tumultuous era, providing fresh insights on the many significant people and events that shaped JFK s presidency but also shedding new light on the man behind the momentous decisions. Here are JFK s unscripted opinions on a host of revealing subjects, including his thoughts and feelings about his brothers Robert and Ted, and his take on world leaders past and present, giving us perhaps the most informed, genuine, and immediate portrait of John Fitzgerald Kennedy we shall ever have. Mrs. Kennedy s urbane perspective, her candor, and her flashes of wit also give us our clearest glimpse into the active mind of a remarkable First Lady.

In conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy s Inauguration, Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy family are now releasing these beautifully restored recordings on CDs with accompanying transcripts. Introduced and annotated by renowned presidential historian Michael Beschloss, these interviews will add an exciting new dimension to our understanding and appreciation of President Kennedy and his time and make the past come alive through the words and voice of an eloquent eyewitness to history.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

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See how Joseph Kennedy Sr. groomed two sons that came to change a nation in this powerful 6-hour miniseries. Venture upstairs at the White House of the 1960’s and glimpse an intimate look at The Kennedys—America’s first “royal” family in this compelling Kennedys DVD. An all star cast including Greg Kinnear playing JFK and Katie Holmes as the classic Jackie Onasis.

Against a backdrop of generation-defining events like the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs, and the civil rights movement, the personal relationships between two brothers and their ambitious father molded them into legends. An all-star cast (Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Katie Holmes, and Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson) leads this enthralling historical drama. See how scandal, tragedy, public greatness, and private frailty shaped our nation’s most fabled political family: The Kennedys.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Antoinette "The Mafia Princess" Giancana To Open Mob Museum in Las Vegas

The "Mafia Princess" is moving to Las Vegas to help open a mob-themed exhibit.

Antoinette Giancana, daughter of murdered Chicago mob chief Sam Giancana, was in Las Vegas over the weekend for meetings with backers of the museum, which is planned for a Strip location. It would compete with a $50 million downtown mob museum being pushed by Mayor Oscar Goodman.

She's partnering with local investors Jay Bloom and Charlie Sandefur, who reportedly are in negotiations with Strip properties for their venue.

"There would be tremendous foot traffic," she said by phone Tuesday. "I think it's going to be dynamite. Jeez," she paused, adding, "I shouldn't use that word."

Her 1984 book was titled "Mafia Princess - Growing Up In Sam Giancana's Family," as was the 1986 made-for-TV movie that starred Susan Lucci as Giancana and Tony Curtis as her father.

Las Vegas was part of her father's territory, and she's excited about "following in the shadow of his footsteps."

Giancana, 74, said she's moving here this summer to take a hands-on role in the project.

Her father, who controlled Chicago in the late 1950s and 1960s, was killed at his Chicago home June 19, 1975, four days before her birthday.

While the name of Las Vegas hit man Tony Spilotro has come up as a suspect, her No. 1 suspect, she said, remains the CIA. She's convinced the CIA wanted to silence her father. She co-wrote the 2005 book "JFK And Sam: The Connection Between the Giancana And Kennedy Assassinations," which made the case that her father ordered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Giancana arrived with two beefy bodyguards for a business dinner Saturday at Capo's on West Sahara Avenue. She has asked Capo's owner Nico Santucci, a Chicago native, to design the Giancana room for the exhibit, which will include the same furniture that was in the family home the night her father was killed while frying Italian sausage and peppers.

"Sam would love this joint," she told Santucci, who opened the Italian steakhouse at 5675 W. Sahara Ave. this year. It's patterned after a Chicago speakeasy with photographs of mob icons and members of the Rat Pack.

The exhibit is "going to be a first," Giancana said. Bloom, she said, is "bringing in millions of dollars (worth of stuff) from various different (crime) families that have never, ever been seen" by the public.

Thanks to Norm Clarke

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Dark Side of Camelot

There are many Jack Kennedys in America's collective consciousness, even 46 years after his Friday lunchtime slaying under clearing Dallas skies. It was the most public killing in American history until the destruction of the World Trade Center on a sunny Tuesday morning.

A million bits of paper, freed through gaping holes in the burning Twin Towers, fluttered high over Manhattan. So did the president's brother and political keeper, Robert Kennedy, face a blizzard of paperwork as he secured safes at the White House, the Justice Department, the national security regimes and other offices around Washington. His goal: to hide his dead brother's sins and political missteps from a shocked and mourning American people.

Bobby wanted to protect his brother's legacy while denying the Kennedy family's political enemies their proof of JFK's complicity in the murder of Diem of South Vietnam; Lumumba of the Congo; Arbenz of the Dominican Republic and other excesses of presidential power; the failure of the Bay of Pigs; the secret deal with Khrushchev to remove nuclear missiles from Turkey to end the Cuban Missile Crisis and other details best kept from the public so soon after JFK's death.

Nor was there any love lost between Bobby and Lyndon Baines Johnson, the newly sworn-in president already in the air with the slain president on board. Bobby worked the phones the afternoon of the shooting, ordering longtime Kennedy family aides and political operatives to not discuss what they knew and to secure any letters, memos or notes of communications in which JFK took part.

In addition to changing the combination on the Oval Office safe to keep LBJ from discovering its contents until he could find a secure place for them, Bobby ordered the removal of the secret taping system that JFK had installed not only in the Oval Office but throughout the living quarters that the president, until two nights before, had shared not only with Jacqueline but with a woman whom Bobby himself had arranged for his brother to bed.

So opens "The Dark Side of Camelot," a 1997 classic by Seymour Hersh, the journalist who broke the My Lai story. Worth a revisit at this time, it's a thoroughly researched and hyper-revealing look not only at JFK's life and presidency but at the horrifying politics of the time. Politics so well hidden from a trusting public by a press corps that, by and large, honored an unwritten rule that certain things a powerful man does are best not reported.

Jack Kennedy was incapable of true partnership with people beyond Bobby and his father, Joe, whom he worshiped. He inherited his father's beliefs that other men were of lesser importance and were to be used for personal gain. Women, meanwhile, were a beautiful distraction that held little value beyond sexual pleasure.

Hersh personally interviewed many men and women who had known JFK since his days as a congressman from Massachusetts; his behavior hadn't changed since his carefree college days at Harvard.

For all that was at stake, JFK at times felt he was invincible, that nothing could touch him. Recklessness is a Kennedy trait and JFK brought it to the fore after he won the presidency.

Hersh quotes a longtime lover of Jack's who slept with him the night before his inauguration. She said the idea of betraying Jacqueline and his children was not on his mind, even though, had it been reported by an otherwise fawning press, his political career would have been over before his first 100 days in the White House.

She said, "I think somehow between his money, his position, his charm, his whatever, he was caught up in feeling that he was buffered. That people would take care of it. There is that feeling that you are not accountable, that the laws of the world do not apply to you. Laws had never been applied to his father and to him."

Yet JFK, described by former lovers as smooth, a charming man who laughed easily when among peers at the thousands of nights of parties and social events in his political years, kept the Kennedy aloofness at the same time.

Hersh interviewed Charles Spalding, who grew up with JFK: "Kennedy hated physical touching. People taking liberties with him," said Spalding. "Which I assume goes back to his mother [Rose] and the fact that she was so cold, so distant."

As president, JFK ignored the niceties of politics when he had to. He ordered the assassinations of world leaders and, like his father, had a working relationship with organized crime bosses in Chicago and New Orleans. JFK also regularly received graft while in the White House, Hersh writes. Over a period of years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from California businessmen were delivered to the White House by operatives. Chicago mobster Sam Giancana's girlfriend on several occasions ran money from JFK's White House to the mob boss personally. She'd board a train at Union Station carrying a suitcase filled with cash and deliver it to Giancana himself, who would meet her at the Chicago train station. Not once, but several times, according to Hersh. The delivery of the money was set up by Bobby.

Was it money for Giancana's help in trying to kill Castro? A payoff for delivering votes in the 1960 election, which Kennedy won by a very slim margin? "That election was stolen," Hersh writes.

There is no understanding Jack Kennedy without investigating his grandfather, John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, an old Boston pol, bought a seat in Congress in 1912 but lost it after an investigation by the House.

Joe Kennedy played a big role in that scandalous election, hiring thugs to beat voters opposed to Fitz; Joe then used money and less-violent but just as effective means to get his son Jack elected president. The lessons were not lost on Jack.

Hersh's book is priceless in its bare-knuckled accuracy, from the origins of the Kennedy empire, the purchase of the 1960 presidential election, JFK's deadly international gamesmanship, J. Edgar Hoover's hatred of the Kennedys and father Joe's embracing of Adolf Hitler's politics.

The myth of the young idealist, the brave and courageous knight cut down early in life, still survives in the hearts of most Americans. In spite of the facts, JFK's role is that of the fair-haired American prince worthy of canonization.

Thanks to Hersh, history is properly recorded here for those willing to read it. "The Dark Side of Camelot" reveals a rogue's gallery of pimps, mobsters, right-wing military officers, ruthless political operatives, a fanatical FBI director and, of course, CIA spooks -- all the shadowy illegitimates of American politics who helped give JFK the presidency and who eventually decided to take it all away from him after the rain stopped falling in Dallas.

In a tragic twist of irony, Hersh connects JFK's inability to dodge the final head-blast from "Oswald's rifle" to JFK's amorous adventures. Because he'd strained his back while having a tryst in the pool belonging to his brother-in-law, the actor Peter Lawford, JFK had to wear a canvas and metal back brace from his neck to his waste. When hit by the neck shot, JFK tried to duck before the second (or third) shot -- but the brace limited his motion.

This book is as explosive as the bullet that sent JFK's skull flying.

Thanks to John L. Guerra


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