Spartacus Review

John F. Kennedy

Title: LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination

Author: Phillip F. Nelson

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Publisher: Xlibris Corporation

Price: £23.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Lyndon B. Johnson

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Lyndon B. Johnson' 's flawed personality and character traits were formed when he was a child, and -through his primary enablers, his mother and his wife - grew unchecked for the rest of his life as he suffered severe bouts of manic-depressive illness. The people-manipulation skills he learned at his father's side and had perfected by the time he graduated from college became the currency he used to barter, steal and finesse his way through the corridors of power on Capitol Hill. These skills, combined with his overpowering manic personality, amoral instincts and thirst for power, allowed him to prosper both financially and politically during his years in Congress. Neither his family nor his employees, aides, associates and cabinet officials would ever confront him on any issue for which he had made up his mind, including the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, his "darker side" included a lifetime struggle with bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder which he successfully hid from the public, though not all of his aides. It is the premise of this book that Lyndon Johnson suffered recurrent and progressively stronger bouts of mental collapses during the period of his vice presidency as he planned his ascension to the presidency, purposely undermining Kennedy's domestic and foreign policy initiatives for the purpose of cleverly saving them for his own legacy. His active involvement with JFK's assassination will be conclusively shown, including photographic evidence that he knew in advance when and where it would happen. The stunning conclusion of this book is that Lyndon Johnson began planning his takeover-the fulfillment of his life-time dreams-even before being named as the vice presidential nominee in 1960.

Title: Hear No Evil

Author: Donald Byron Thomas

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Publisher: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press

Price: $29.95

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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"Hear No Evil: Social Constructivism and the Forensic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination" is a detailed walkthrough of the major scientific evidence in the JFK murder, presenting an analysis which builds toward a powerful presentation of the "acoustics evidence" for which he is well known. Along the way, Thomas delivers a withering critique of many of the government's hand-picked scientific experts, who failed the public trust by failing to follow the evidence. Thomas' book marshalls the evidence for not 3, or 4, but 5 shots in Dealey Plaza, including one from the infamous "Grassy Knoll." But revering no sacred cows, Thomas demolishes myths promulgated by both Warren Commission adherents and conspiracy advocates, and presents a novel and compelling re-interpretation of the “single bullet theory.”

Title: Legacy of Secrecy

Author: Lamar Waldron

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Publisher: Counterpoint

Price: £20.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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Legacy of Secrecy tells the full story of JFK’s murder and the tragic results of the cover-ups that followed, as revealed by two dozen associates of John and Robert Kennedy, backed by thousands of files at the National Archives. The result of twenty years of research, it finally tells the full story long withheld from Congress and the American people.

Title: On the Trail of JFK Assassins

Author: Dick Russell

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Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Price: £16.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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A bestselling author and a leading expert on the JFK assassination, Dick Russell (The Man Who Knew Too Much) here compiles a fascinating selection of his latest research into the assassination of our thirty-fifth president. These pieces cover every aspect of the JFK assassination, from the shots, to the subsequent investigation, to the Warren Report. Russell’s research analyzes newly declassified information and continues to build upon his painstakingly detailed investigations. His unrivalled scholarship has created one of the most comprehensive and authoritative examinations of the assassination to date. Russell has come closer than ever to solving the ultimate question: Who killed JFK?

Title: Our Man in Mexico

Author: Jefferson Morley

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Publisher: University Press of Kansas

Price: £23.95

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Winston Scott

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Mexico City was the Casablanca of the Cold War - a hotbed of spies, revolutionaries, and assassins. The CIA's station there was the front line of the United States' fight against international communism, as important for Latin America as Berlin was for Europe. And its undisputed spymaster was Winston Mackinley Scott.Chief of the Mexico City station from 1956 to 1969, Win Scott occupied a key position in the founding generation of the Central Intelligence Agency, but until now he has remained a shadowy figure. Investigative reporter Jefferson Morley traces Scott's remarkable career from his humble origins in rural Alabama to wartime G-man to OSS London operative (and close friend of the notorious Kim Philby), to right-hand man of CIA Director Allen Dulles, to his remarkable reign for more than a decade as virtual proconsul in Mexico.Morley also follows the quest of Win Scott's son Michael to confront the reality of his father's life as a spy. He reveals how Scott ran hundreds of covert espionage operations from his headquarters in the U.S. Embassy while keeping three Mexican presidents on the agency's payroll, participating in the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and, most intriguingly, overseeing the surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald during his visit to the Mexican capital just weeks before the assassination of President Kennedy.Morley reveals the previously unknown scope of the agency's interest in Oswald in late 1963, identifying for the first time the code names of Scott's surveillance programs that monitored Oswald's movements. He shows that CIA headquarters cut Scott out of the loop of the agency's latest reporting on Oswald before Kennedy was killed. He documents why Scott came to reject a key finding of the Warren Report on the assassination and how his disillusionment with the agency came to worry his longtime friend James Jesus Angleton, legendary chief of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton not only covered up the agency's interest in Oswald but also, after Scott died, absconded with the only copies of his unpublished memoir.Interweaving Win Scott's personal and professional lives, Morley has crafted a real-life thriller of Cold War intrigue - a compelling saga of espionage that uncovers another chapter in the CIA's history.

Title: The Road to Dallas

Author: David Kaiser

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Publisher: Harvard University Press

Price: £17.60

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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With deft investigative skill, David Kaiser shows that the events of November 22, 1963, cannot be understood without fully grasping the two larger stories of which they were a part: the U.S. government’s campaign against organized crime, which began in the late 1950s and accelerated dramatically under Robert Kennedy; and the furtive quest of two administrations - along with a cadre of private interest groups - to eliminate Fidel Castro. The seeds of conspiracy go back to the Eisenhower administration, which recruited top mobsters in a series of plots to assassinate the Cuban leader. The CIA created a secretive environment in which illicit networks were allowed to expand in dangerous directions. The agency’s links with the Mafia continued in the Kennedy administration, although the President and his closest advisors - engaged in their own efforts to overthrow Castro - thought this skullduggery had ended. Meanwhile, Cuban exiles, right-wing businessmen, and hard-line anti-Communists established ties with virtually anyone deemed capable of taking out the Cuban premier. Inevitably those ties included the mob. The conspiracy to kill JFK took shape in response to Robert Kennedy’s relentless attacks on organized crime - legal vendettas that often went well beyond the normal practices of law enforcement. Pushed to the wall, mob leaders merely had to look to the networks already in place for a solution. They found it in Lee Harvey Oswald - the ideal character to enact their desperate revenge against the Kennedys. Comprehensive, detailed, and informed by original sources, The Road to Dallas adds surprising new material to every aspect of the case. It brings to light the complete, frequently shocking, story of the JFK assassination and its aftermath.

Title: Praise from a Future Generation

Author: John Kelin

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Publisher: Wings Press

Price: £14.20

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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Praise from a Future Generation is the untold story of the "first-generation critics" of the Warren Report – the U.S. government's official explanation of the assassination of President Kennedy – an explanation that began with the improbable and ended with the impossible. Forty-five years after the assassination of President Kennedy, it seems unlikely that there is much new to say about that tragic event or its aftermath, yet John Kelin's Praise from a Future Generation tells a story that we only thought we knew. Unlike any previous assassination book, Kelin does not argue for the evidence for a conspiracy, or multiple gunmen, or a cover-up, or against the single-bullet theory. All the evidence is here, but it is revealed as Kelin describes in meticulous detail how a small group of ordinary citizens' extraordinary efforts (call it "obsession for the truth") demonstrated to the nation that the JFK assassination simply could not have happened the way the government said it did. In time, the efforts of these "first-generation critics" had an enormous impact on public opinion. Never before has any book focused on the early Warren Commission critics themselves. In this finely written and carefully documented history, John Kelin presents how the evidence came to light since the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. Here is evidence rarely seen by the public – even by those with an interest in the case – from suppressed photographs that appear to show armed men in the shrubbery of the "grassy knoll" to suppressed testimony by eye-witnesses.

Title: Brothers: The Hidden History

Author: David Talbot

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Price: £20.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: David Talbot

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Robert F. Kennedy was the first conspiracy theorist about his brother's murder. In this astonishingly compelling and convincing new account of the Kennedy years, acclaimed journalist David Talbot tells in a riveting, superbly researched narrative why, even on 22 November 1963, RFK had reason to believe that dark forces were at work in Dallas and reveals, for the first time, that he planned to open an investigation into the assassination had he become president in 1968. Brothers also portrays a JFK administration more besieged by internal enemies than has previously been realised, from within the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI and the mafia. This frightening portrait of sinister elements within and without the government serves as the background for the emotionally charged journey of Robert Kennedy. Reading it, you can absolutely believe any number of people would have been happy for both brothers to meet a sticky end. The tragedy, not just for America but for the world, is that since their murders no one has had the nerve to stand against the dark forces they challenged in quite the same way.

Title: Someone Would Have Talked

Author: Larry Hancock

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Publisher: JFK Lancer

Price: £24.95

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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"Someone Would Have Talked" goes beyond proving a conspiracy to murder JFK. Over 14.000 documents, White House diaries, telephone logs, and executive tape recordings detail how the new President managed a cover-up that changed the future of our country. Forty plus years after the murder of President Kennedy, the same intuitive and popular belief exists that was common in the first hours after his assassination – that his murder occurred as the result of a conspiracy. The document releases, transcripts and tapes which have become available in the last decade only serve to confirm how many individuals and witnesses held this belief and expressed it privately but for the most part did not enter the public record. Someone Would Have Talked is supported not only with the normal references and bibliography but also with an extensive library of exhibits and documents. Exhibits range from contemporary newspaper articles through testimony and telephone transcripts to diaries, investigative reports and memoranda.

Title: The JFK Assassination Debates

Author: Michael L. Kurtz

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Publisher: University Press of Kansas

Price: £19.95

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Michael L. Kurtz

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Who killed JFK? Ever since that fateful day in Dallas, theories about President Kennedy's murder have proliferated, running the gamut from the official "lone gunman" verdict to both serious and utterly screwball conspiracy theories. Michael Kurtz, a distinguished historian who has plumbed every crevice of this controversial case for more than thirty years, now sums up and critiques four decades of debate, while also offering provocative new perspectives. Kurtz presents an objective accounting of what we actually know and don't know about the assassination, underlining both the logic and the limitations of the major theories about the case. He then offers unique interpretations of the physical and forensic evidence and of existing areas of controversy, leading him to new conclusions that readers will find hard to dismiss. Kurtz shows how the official investigation's egregious mishandling of the crime-scene evidence - related to virtually every aspect of the case - is largely responsible for the lone gunman/conspiracy schism that confronts us today. Those responsible for that investigation (including the Dallas police, the FBI, and the Warren Commission) failed so miserably in their efforts that they would have been laughed off the air if they had been portrayed on any of TV's popular CSI series. One of the few experts writing on the subject who actually met Oswald, Kurtz also provides new information about the accused assassin's activities around the time of the assassination and about his double life, analyzing Oswald's ties to the intelligence community, to organized crime, and to both anti- and pro-Castro Cuban activists. Mustering extraordinary documentation - including exclusive interviews with key figures and extensive materials declassified by the Assassination Records Review Board - he both confirms and alters much previous speculation about Oswald and other aspects of the case. Who really killed JFK? Forty years later, most Americans still feel they don't know the truth and that their own government isn't telling them the whole story. This book offers a corrective to even the most recent "final verdicts" and establishes a sound baseline for future research.

Title: Breach of Trust

Author: Gerald D. McKnight

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Publisher: University Press of Kansas

Price: £19.95

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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That recent appraisal reflects a growing consensus that the Warren Commission largely failed in its duty to our nation. Echoing that sentiment, the Gallup organization has reported that 75 percent of Americans polled do not believe the Commission's major conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the "lone assassin." Gerald McKnight now gives profound substance to that view in the most meticulous and devastating dissection of the Commission's work to date. The Warren Commission produced 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits, more than 17,000 pages of testimony, and a 912-page report. Surely a definitive effort. Not at all, McKnight argues. "The Warren Report" itself, he contends, was little more than the capstone to a deceptive and shoddily improvised exercise in public relations designed to "prove" that Oswald had acted alone. McKnight argues that the Commission's own documents and collected testimony - as well as thousands of other items it never saw, refused to see, or actively suppressed - reveal two conspiracies: the still very murky one surrounding the assassination itself and the official one that covered it up. The cover-up actually began, he reveals, within days of Kennedy's death, when President Johnson, FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, and acting Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach all agreed that any official investigation must reach only one conclusion: Oswald was the assassin. While McKnight does not uncover any "smoking gun" that identifies the real conspirators, he nevertheless provides the strongest case yet that the Commission was wrong - and knew it. Oswald might have knowingly or unwittingly been involved, but the Commission's own evidence proves he could not have acted alone. Based on more than a quarter-million pages of government documents and, for the first time ever, the 50,000 file cards in the Dallas FBI's "Special Index," McKnight's book must now be the starting point for future debate on the assassination. It should also inspire readers to echo the "Journal of American History's" praise for his previous book: "McKnight's insistence upon remaining within the bounds of the evidence inspires confidence in his judgment."

Title: The Kennedy Assassination

Author: Peter Knight

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Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

Price: £12.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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"Representing American Events" is edited by series Editors Helena Grice and Tim Woods. This series of textbooks focuses on key events in American history from the perspective of several different disciplines, offering the student a range of disciplinary perspectives on one particular historical event. Books in the series are unique in focusing on one particular event from a range of viewpoints. "The Kennedy Assassination" is written by Peter Knight. It is November 22nd 1963, Dealey Plaza. As a seminal event in late twentieth-century American history, the Kennedy assassination has permeated the American and world consciousness in a wide variety of ways. It has long fascinated American writers, filmmakers and artists, and this book offers an authoritative critical introduction to the way the event has been constructed in a range of discourses. It looks at a variety of historical, political and cultural attempts to understand Kennedy's death. Representations include: journalism from the time; historical accounts and memoirs; official investigations, government reports and sociological inquiries; the huge number of conspiracy-minded interpretations; novels, plays and other works of literature; and the Zapruder footage, photography, avant-garde art, and Hollywood films. Considering the continuities and contradictions in how the event has been represented, the author focuses on how it has been seen through the lens of ideas about conspiracy, celebrity and violence. He also explores how the arguments about exactly what happened on 22 November 1963 have come to serve as a substitute way of debating the significance of Kennedy's legacy and the meaning of the 1960s more generally. The key features are: presents information about the event itself, the cultural context of the period, and the consequences of the event; considers the ways in which the event has been represented in subsequent years in a variety of discourses; and, includes an annotated bibliography and 10 B&W illustrations.

Title: Dr. Mary's Monkey

Author: Edward T. Haslam

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Publisher: Trine Day

Price: £9.75

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Mary Sherman

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The 1964 murder of a nationally known cancer researcher sets the stage for this gripping exposé of medical professionals enmeshed in covert government operations over the course of three decades. Following a trail of police records, FBI files, cancer statistics, and medical journals, this revealing book presents evidence of a web of medical secret-keeping that began with the handling of evidence in the JFK assassination and continued apace, sweeping doctors into coverups of cancer outbreaks, contaminated polio vaccine, the arrival of the AIDS virus, and biological weapon research using infected monkeys.

Title: American Spy

Author: E. Howard Hunt

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Publisher: John Wiley

Price: £12.65

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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A legendary CIA operative and central figure in the Watergate scandal at last tells his story World War II covert agent E. Howard Hunt joined the CIA soon after its inception, becoming one of its most valuable operatives until his retirement in 1970. He blazed a trail for the agency in Latin America, helping to orchestrate the successful 1954 coup in Guatemala as well as the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, which ended in disaster after an ill-fated decision by President John F. Kennedy. During the Nixon administration, he worked with the White House Special Investigations Unit (aka the "plumbers"). In the aftermath of the Pentagon Papers leak, he masterminded the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office in 1971, and, with G. Gordon Liddy, he organized the break-in at the Democratic National Committee's Watergate headquarters in 1972. Hunt was ultimately convicted of burglary, conspiracy, and wiretapping and served 33 months in prison. Now in his late eighties, Hunt looks back over his storied career, revealing what really happened and debunking the many rumors that have swirled around him. Writing with his characteristic salty wit, he brings to life his exploits in the CIA, offering surprising revelations about the agency's Latin American operations-and its masterly manipulation of politics and the media in the U.S. He details the "black bag jobs" of the White House plumbers, explains why he agreed to participate in the Watergate burglary-even though he thought it was a bad idea-and sheds new light on the aftermath of the break-in. He sets the record straight on rumors about his first wife's death and accusations that have linked him to the JFK assassination and the George Wallace shooting. And finally, he offers an insider's advice on how the CIA must now reshape itself to regain its edge and help win the war on terrorism. E. Howard Hunt is author of more than 70 suspense novels. Greg Aunapu has reported for Time, People, and a variety of other national news media.

Title: Ultimate Sacrifice

Author: Lamar Waldron

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Publisher: Constable & Robinson

Price: £20

Bookshop: Amazon

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Cuba's number 2 official today — Commander Juan Almeida — was secretly working with JFK in November 1963 to overthrow Fidel. The US government recently revealed Almeida's work for JFK, allowing the updated trade paperback of Ultimate Sacrifice to tell the full story for the first time (complete with new photos and documents). The authors obtained the story from almost two dozen associates of John and Robert Kennedy, starting in 1990 with JFK's Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Their accounts are supported by thousands of newly-released files at the National Archives. Almeida's "palace coup" set for December 1, 1963, was to be backed up by US forces "invited" in by Commander Almeida, then Chief of the Cuban Army. However, three Mafia bosses being targeted by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy used several CIA assets to infiltrate the secret plot and murder JFK. This resulted in cover-ups by officials like RFK and LBJ, to prevent the exposure of Almeida and a possible nuclear confrontation with the Soviets. The new edition explains why Almeida was not a double agent, why Fidel suspected Almeida's ally Che Guevara, and what Fidel did in 1990 when he finally found out about Almeida's work for JFK.

Title: Four Days in November

Author: Vincent Bugliosi

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Publisher: W. W. Norton

Price: £10.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Assassination of JFK

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"Four Days in November" is a narrative of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963. It is drawn from Vincent Bugliosi's deeply flawed "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy". I would recommend that anyone who is really interested in this subject to read the much better researched Someone Would Have Talked by Larry Hancock or The Road to Dallas by David Kaiser.

Title: The Tangled Web

Author: Michael J. Cain

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Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Price: £16.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Richard Cain

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Here is the dramatic story of Detective Richard Cain's criminal career, as revealed by his half-brother. Cain led a double life—one as a well known cop who led raids that landed on the front pages, and the other as a "made man" in one of Chicago's most notorious mafia crime families. Michael Cain weaves together years of research, interviews, family anecdotes, and rare documents to create a comprehensive biography of this complex, articulate, and self-contradictory criminal genius. In a story that reads like the plot of Martin Scorsese's The Departed, Cain played both ends against the middle to become a household name in Chicagoland and a notorious figure in both the Mob and the world of Chicago law enforcement. Eventually murdered in a café by two masked men wielding shotguns, he lived and died in a world of bloodshed and violence. Cain left behind a story so outlandish that he has even been accused of being involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Filled with fascinating and until-now unknown facts, The Tangled Web tells the full story of this one-man crime wave.

Title: JFK and Sam

Author: Antoinette Giancana, John R. Hughes and Thomas H. Jobe

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Publisher: Cumberland House

Price: £16.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Richard Cain

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"JFK and Sam" is a tale of two murders. The first occurred in Dallas in 1963 and the second in Illinois in 1975. The first was ordered by Sam Giancana to avenge his betrayal by the Kennedys. Giancana had assured JFK's win in Illinois with the understanding that the new administration would go easy on the Chicago mob. Instead, Bobby Kennedy stepped up prosecutions. The second assassination was carried out by the CIA and the mob to prevent Giancana from testifying before the Church Committee hearings regarding his role in the CIA's plot to kill Fidel Castro. The irony is that both men were assassinated because of their relationship to each other and events that transpired from that relationship. "JFK and Sam" is unique from other books on the Kennedy assassination. Written by an insider with access to key figures, it names the assassins and traces the assassination team's movements in 1963. The first shot came from the Dal-Tex building (adjacent to the book depository) and struck Kennedy in the back of the neck. The second came from Giancana's driver who fired a CIA prototype handgun with a telescope (called a "fireball") from the grassy knoll, using a frangible bullet, which explains why there was such a massive wound to Kennedy's head. Lee Harvey Oswald was the fall guy and did not fire a weapon.

© , September 1997 - April 2014