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A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Excellent Chronicle of Warren Commission

    Like many people, I thought there was a conspiracy regarding the assassination of President Kennedy, especially after seeing Oliver Stone's movie with its graphic showing of the Zapruder film, which fueled the assumption that shots were fired from the grassy knoll. Since then, however, I have come to the conclusion that the Warren Commission had it right along, despite some of their actions, which fanned the flames of conspiracy theories, but which were actually little more than missteps in trying to put a voluminous report together under tremendous pressure in a short span of time.

    Books like this one, Case Closed, and Reclaiming History, along with documentaries produced by National Geographic, the History Channel, and PBS, which proved beyond a doubt that the shots were fired from the School Book Depository, that one bullet did indeed strike both the President and Gov. Connally, and that Oswald was too mentally unstable to have been used as a patsy by conspirators from any faction have shoved all doubt I had aside. Anyone with an open mind should read this book and others which thoroughly examine the factual evidence. Those who believe in conspiracies associated with the terrible events of November 22, 1963 will likely continue to read only what bolsters their improbable fantasies, unfortunately.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2014

    A Cruel and Shocking Act is a history of the Warren Commission┬┐s

    A Cruel and Shocking Act is a history of the Warren Commission’s investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy.  I was fourteen at the time of the assassination and in my lifetime very few people have accepted the findings of the Commission.  Since that time there of have been books, movies, Congressional hearings, and TV documentaries all supposedly looking for the truth that the Warren Commission overlooked or ignored.  Conspiracy or no conspiracy is one of those arguments that most Americans seem to be able to agree upon and the Warren Commission’s glossing over the question has brought their conclusions into question.

    Shenon’s book does not answer the big question but it does give us a look inside of the creation of the Warren Commission and the way that it worked.  President Johnson’s coercion of the Chief Justice and other members of the commission that had no real desire to sit on the investigative team set a precedent that hindered the commission’s work throughout the process.  Warren’s friendship with the Kennedy family and his grandfatherly approach to some of the witness was a hindrance to the commission.  Most of the work of the commission was carried out by the younger “junior” lawyers that were added to the commission while the older more established lawyers went about their everyday business.  Even some of the selected commissioners were no-shows for much of the testimony and deliberations.  These young lawyers found themselves bound by the information that they received from the FBI and the CIA which in a lot of cases was slanted or just not given to the commission for various reasons.  

    Shenon’s book gives the impression that it was a foregone conclusion that no conspiracy would be found in the assassination.  It was the Cold War, just after the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the building of the Berlin Wall and the tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were high.  President Johnson did not want a war with either Cuba or the Soviet Union so a conspiracy involving either of those entities was not the desired result of the investigation.  Also all of the politicians wanted it done before the 1964 elections.

    The Warren Commission, with the evidence available to it, found that no conspiracy existed and that Oswald acted alone.  Without all of the hindrances could they have decided differently?  Maybe, we will never know, but Shenon’s work shows that they did what they could with the evidence and tools that they had.  There will always be conspiracy theorists, whether it is Paul Lane or someone else, but working with what they had the Warren Commission made their decision. 

    I found A Cruel and Shocking Act and interesting read and an excellent add to the Kennedy assassination works.  Conspiracy or no conspiracy is still left up to each individual and maybe down the road in some dusty archives here in this country or some other country the truth will be found out.  As with the Warren Commission we must work with the evidence that we have before us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

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