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Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Where does the evidence lead? That is the central question in b

Where does the evidence lead? That is the central question in both the realms of both science and history. We can believe what we want, but it will be either with a factual basis to support it or it will not. Generally, sources that are credible, and are as close to ...
Where does the evidence lead? That is the central question in both the realms of both science and history. We can believe what we want, but it will be either with a factual basis to support it or it will not. Generally, sources that are credible, and are as close to the event as possible have the most weight in determining the factuality of an event. The use of primary sources from the time of the event is also crucial in determining the facts of the matter at hand.


The book spends its first 40% concentrating on Oswald himself. The picture that emerges is one of a incredibly small man who possesses two of the worst traits possible; arrogance and stupidity. Time and again, Posner provides eyewitness testimony to the fact that Oswald was simply a blithering idiot and/or a complete loon. His mental state one could charitably claim as disturbed, yet he never got any help. He comes to his Marxism by reading and cannot adequately defend himself against competing views except by argument. He goes to Russia, finds life there to be in opposition to the worker's paradise he envisioned, and comes home with his Russian wife and child. Upon returning home, he drifts from job to job and attempts to curry favor with the American Communist Party by being the only member of his local Fair Play for Cuba organization. He is delusional, grandiose, yet paranoid. Above all else, he wants to make a name for himself. In the end, it is that need to be famous which puts him on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository on that fateful day. Posner spends much time going through the timeline of the events of that weekend, along the way destroying the various conspiracy theories that have arisen in the last 50 years. Some of the competing theories have at least a kernel of believability to them, but some - such as the switching of JFK's body at Love Field on Air Force One - simply defy logic and common sense. But Posner dissects all of the major alternate theories and goes about eliminating them as possible explanations. The problem with most conspiracies is they can only be kept truly secret is if only one person is left alive who knows the plot. BOTTOM LINE: This is the definitive work on the Kennedy assassination and worth reading whether you believe Oswald did it or not.

posted by BrianIndianFan on October 27, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Circular logic

I was very disappointed by Posner¿s Case Closed. I would have welcomed a well argued book supporting the single-gunner theory of the Kennedy assassination. Unfortunately, despite its many favorable reviews and the author¿s claims to greater significance, the book is lit...
I was very disappointed by Posner¿s Case Closed. I would have welcomed a well argued book supporting the single-gunner theory of the Kennedy assassination. Unfortunately, despite its many favorable reviews and the author¿s claims to greater significance, the book is little more than one more overwritten, chronological condensation of The Warren Commission report. Although it has a long bibliography, the attentive reader (I guess that most of the reviewers were not) cannot help but notice that virtually all of the footnotes cite ¿factual¿ evidence from The Warren Commission report itself. The author, who claims to have a law degree, has a serious problem with circular logic. The many conspiracy theories, which in their totality comprise a rejection of the official explanation of the assassination as presented in The Warren Commission Report, cannot be refuted with evidence taken the very Warren Commission Report they take issue with! Given this basic flaw in the book, the author¿s ridicule of many conspiracy theory advocates as people out to make a quick buck, is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black. His habit of lumping all conspiracy theory proponents together is also quite annoying. The book is full of strange contradictions and omissions, too. He correctly notes that witnesses are notoriously unreliable, casually dismissing virtually all witnesses supporting alternative views of the killing as misguided, mistaken or dishonest, and then proceeds to devote at least half of this book to the testimony of innumerable Warren Commission witnesses. Even though the author has virtually no experience or knowledge of organized crime in the US, he dismisses any possible mafia involvement in the killing, based, once again, on what many would legitimately call questionable FBI testimony. This is especially curious, because this is testimony from agents working under the intense scrutiny of a man who repeatedly and enthusiastically for most of his life denied the existence of organized crime in the United States, J. Edgar Hoover. In what is my favorite quote in the book, Posner shows that the mafia could never have been involved in the assassination, by referring to the WC testimony of a long-time FBI agent. ¿They don¿t ¿ go after judges, they don¿t go after FBI agents or cops¿they will only go after those people when they have stolen money from them and double-crossed them.¿ A more succinct argument for mafia involvement could hardly be made. After all we now know that the mafia heavily funded the Kennedy election campaign, only to become the target of an intense Justice Department crackdown. It is not surprising that the book is full of the very contradictions that gave rise to the alternative theories to the WC Report, since it relies so heavily upon it. Over a third of the book is devoted to an extremely tedious and detailed version of Oswald¿s life, starting with his birth, based entirely on WC materials, too. I think Posner also inadvertently highlighted the glaring weakness and implausibility of the ¿rear-entry¿ theory of the fatal shot, by pointing out how dozens of expert trauma doctors in the Dallas emergency room were too busy attending to the President¿s small throat wound to notice that the right front forehead of a patient (who was lying on his back) was missing. At least, that is the explanation presented in the WC Report and repeated in this book. In fact, we now know that all the doctors described the President as having an enormous exit wound toward the right, rear of his head. Since most of Posner¿s ¿original¿ research is based upon reports in the media, it is only fair to point out that recent media efforts have uncovered important documents in the confidential archives of the Warren Commission that directly refute the Commission¿s version of the doctors¿ testimony and which raise serious doubts about the Commission¿s objectivity and the sustainability of the single-shooter theory.

posted by Anonymous on December 28, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Where does the evidence lead? That is the central question in b

    Where does the evidence lead? That is the central question in both the realms of both science and history. We can believe what we want, but it will be either with a factual basis to support it or it will not. Generally, sources that are credible, and are as close to the event as possible have the most weight in determining the factuality of an event. The use of primary sources from the time of the event is also crucial in determining the facts of the matter at hand.


    The book spends its first 40% concentrating on Oswald himself. The picture that emerges is one of a incredibly small man who possesses two of the worst traits possible; arrogance and stupidity. Time and again, Posner provides eyewitness testimony to the fact that Oswald was simply a blithering idiot and/or a complete loon. His mental state one could charitably claim as disturbed, yet he never got any help. He comes to his Marxism by reading and cannot adequately defend himself against competing views except by argument. He goes to Russia, finds life there to be in opposition to the worker's paradise he envisioned, and comes home with his Russian wife and child. Upon returning home, he drifts from job to job and attempts to curry favor with the American Communist Party by being the only member of his local Fair Play for Cuba organization. He is delusional, grandiose, yet paranoid. Above all else, he wants to make a name for himself. In the end, it is that need to be famous which puts him on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository on that fateful day. Posner spends much time going through the timeline of the events of that weekend, along the way destroying the various conspiracy theories that have arisen in the last 50 years. Some of the competing theories have at least a kernel of believability to them, but some - such as the switching of JFK's body at Love Field on Air Force One - simply defy logic and common sense. But Posner dissects all of the major alternate theories and goes about eliminating them as possible explanations. The problem with most conspiracies is they can only be kept truly secret is if only one person is left alive who knows the plot. BOTTOM LINE: This is the definitive work on the Kennedy assassination and worth reading whether you believe Oswald did it or not.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2003

    Circular logic

    I was very disappointed by Posner¿s Case Closed. I would have welcomed a well argued book supporting the single-gunner theory of the Kennedy assassination. Unfortunately, despite its many favorable reviews and the author¿s claims to greater significance, the book is little more than one more overwritten, chronological condensation of The Warren Commission report. Although it has a long bibliography, the attentive reader (I guess that most of the reviewers were not) cannot help but notice that virtually all of the footnotes cite ¿factual¿ evidence from The Warren Commission report itself. The author, who claims to have a law degree, has a serious problem with circular logic. The many conspiracy theories, which in their totality comprise a rejection of the official explanation of the assassination as presented in The Warren Commission Report, cannot be refuted with evidence taken the very Warren Commission Report they take issue with! Given this basic flaw in the book, the author¿s ridicule of many conspiracy theory advocates as people out to make a quick buck, is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black. His habit of lumping all conspiracy theory proponents together is also quite annoying. The book is full of strange contradictions and omissions, too. He correctly notes that witnesses are notoriously unreliable, casually dismissing virtually all witnesses supporting alternative views of the killing as misguided, mistaken or dishonest, and then proceeds to devote at least half of this book to the testimony of innumerable Warren Commission witnesses. Even though the author has virtually no experience or knowledge of organized crime in the US, he dismisses any possible mafia involvement in the killing, based, once again, on what many would legitimately call questionable FBI testimony. This is especially curious, because this is testimony from agents working under the intense scrutiny of a man who repeatedly and enthusiastically for most of his life denied the existence of organized crime in the United States, J. Edgar Hoover. In what is my favorite quote in the book, Posner shows that the mafia could never have been involved in the assassination, by referring to the WC testimony of a long-time FBI agent. ¿They don¿t ¿ go after judges, they don¿t go after FBI agents or cops¿they will only go after those people when they have stolen money from them and double-crossed them.¿ A more succinct argument for mafia involvement could hardly be made. After all we now know that the mafia heavily funded the Kennedy election campaign, only to become the target of an intense Justice Department crackdown. It is not surprising that the book is full of the very contradictions that gave rise to the alternative theories to the WC Report, since it relies so heavily upon it. Over a third of the book is devoted to an extremely tedious and detailed version of Oswald¿s life, starting with his birth, based entirely on WC materials, too. I think Posner also inadvertently highlighted the glaring weakness and implausibility of the ¿rear-entry¿ theory of the fatal shot, by pointing out how dozens of expert trauma doctors in the Dallas emergency room were too busy attending to the President¿s small throat wound to notice that the right front forehead of a patient (who was lying on his back) was missing. At least, that is the explanation presented in the WC Report and repeated in this book. In fact, we now know that all the doctors described the President as having an enormous exit wound toward the right, rear of his head. Since most of Posner¿s ¿original¿ research is based upon reports in the media, it is only fair to point out that recent media efforts have uncovered important documents in the confidential archives of the Warren Commission that directly refute the Commission¿s version of the doctors¿ testimony and which raise serious doubts about the Commission¿s objectivity and the sustainability of the single-shooter theory.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    For People Who Start With the Facts First and Not the Conspiracy

    Gerald Posner just about slams the JFK case shut with this amazing true crime story. Despite the laundry list of people who MIGHT have wanted to kill JFK, Posner, through a combination of biography, forensics and just plain facts, makes a pretty airtight case that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy and that he acted alone. Far from being a pawn in a larger game, Oswald was a penny-ante loser, a wife beater and a rabid Marxist. Posner interviews former KGB agents who said they considered Oswald too unstable to spy for them, much less assassinate someone. When it comes to the events in Dealey Plaza, Posner's excellent forensic sources answer all of the questions, including the so-called "magic bullet". For those well-read in JFK conspiracy tracts, Posner picks them apart piece by piece with crushing logic. Read this book, and you'll no longer wonder who killed our President.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    Be prepared to think

    This book explores the lives of Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby. While conspiracy buffs look at fuzzy pictures of leaves and see gunmen, this book gives amazing, if sometime tedious, detail about the lives of the two crucial players in the 1963 Kennedy assassination. You will learn learn that Oswald was an erratic, unstable loser who sought attention. The KGB, who watched him on wife-hunting trip to Russia, called him 'pathetic.' You will also learn that Ruby was a violent wannabe who tried hard to know the right people- petty gangsters and cops. Any conspiracy would be foolish to rely on these two. You will learn that Lee Oswald certainly fired 3 shots, that he could have easily hit the motorcade, and that it was pure luck that put Jack Ruby was in place and time to shoot Oswald. Reading deeper, you may recognize why conspiracy buffs continue to prattle on: it is hard to accept that two insiginficant people could affect the direction of the country so much. But they did. As an aside, Case Closed also details the dishonesty of Jim Garrison, the seminal conspiracy buff. He did his part in maintaining Louisiana's status as the most corrupt state in the union. If you believe in a conspiracy, don't read this book. As a True Believer your world has no room for the facts you'll read here. If your mind is open, or want to educate yourself in gory detail, then this is a good read.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2003

    Finally an intelligent book about the assassination

    This should be required reading before anyone wanders into the bizarre world of assassination conspiracy books. This book is so beautifully researched and so compelling that its hard to believe people are still buying conspiracy books about a murder than was such a simple and open and shut case. A lot of the material in this book destroys conspiracy theories from other authors, but primarilly it is a book that goes into exquisite detail of Oswald's life and the event , with a fair amount covering Jack Ruby and Jim Garrison, the totally discredited DA who was portrayed in the movie JFK. Once I reached the part about the events in Dealey Plaza, I couldn't put it down. It reminded me of At Dawn We Slept in terms of its thoroughness. Other conspiracy books now look like simple plays for money from the ever gullible public.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    A Convincing, Powerful Case

    Posner starts the story where it belongs: on the warped mind of Lee Harvey Oswald. Remarkably, he devotes over 200 pages to him before moving on to other issues. He also straightens out three major concerns: (1) Oswald had 8 seconds, not 5 (he needed no more than 6), (2) 3 bullets were fired, not 4 (old evidence to the contrary is now refuted); and (3) the 'magic bullet' was in fact a straight line trajectory from Kennedy to Governor Connelley. He also eviscerates Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone along the way -not with hyperbole but with stubborn facts. The truth, in turns out, is as compelling as the fiction -- it simply turns out that the entire story is about a complex loner, Lee Harvey Oswald.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2004

    Same old cover up.

    Any thinking person who has seen the Zapruder film which clearly shows the motion of Kennedy's body being thrown back and to the left into Jackie could ever think that the death shot came from the rear. Apparently Mr Posner does not clearly understand simple physics.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2000

    A Refreshing Burst Of Sanity!

    Thank you Gerald Posner for writing a book that restores some sanity to the discussion about the JFK assassination! After allowing the professional conspiracy authors (none of whom possess any competence in historical scholarship, photographic analysis or forensic science) to have free rein with their duplicitous presentations of conspiracy theories for too long, Posner finally presents the blunt facts that exposes their intellectual and scientific shallowness and shows that Oswald acted alone, case closed. It is a sad comment on the gullibility of the American public that for years they have swallowed the bogus arguments of conspiracy authors, who among other things have resorted to deception and false evidence to present their non-existent tales of conspiracy. Thank you Gerald Posner for cutting through the nonsense and giving us the simple, unvarnished truth!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    This should be required reading ...

    for every history class. As one who holds both a law degree and a master of library and information science, my query to those who believe in any one of umpteen conspiracy theories is always "What is your evidence? What sources are you relying on?"

    Posner's book is fully footnoted and citations and explanations are provided in abundance. Despite the fact that it was published more than 20 years ago, the evidence originally considered by the Warren Commission has not only withstood the test of time, but testing methods not available in the 1960s have confirmed the original findings.

    Unfortunately, because of the Kennedy aura (I'm a big fan of JFK and the entire Kennedy family), people simply do not want to believe that a lone nut with a gun was able to pull off the crime of the century. Yet, this type of crime is practically an everyday occurrence in gun-happy America, and you can bet that if the Secret Service weren't so much more able to do their jobs today, the current president would no doubt have met a similar fate as JFK.

    Read this book AFTER you've read numerous conspiracy accounts and watched Oliver Stone's movie. You will realize you've been duped by those who are making a huge profit from exploiting those who like to believe in mythology. Case closed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Very misleading. Ignorant of many of the basics in ballistics an

    Very misleading. Ignorant of many of the basics in ballistics and trajectory. Impossible conclusion given the numerous accounts rendered by eye-witnesses as to where the shots were fired from. This "book" was written to please either the ignorant, or to please the establishment. Don't do as I did, don't waste you valuable time reading this swill. Big mistake. Thank God it was a gift. So glad I didn't pay for it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2012

    JFK was assassinated when I was 10 years old.  I thought the War

    JFK was assassinated when I was 10 years old.  I thought the Warren Commission Report was gospel for about 20 years, then I began studying the conspiracy theories, and did so for about another 20 years, having changed my belief that there was indeed a conspiracy.  Then along came "Case Closed" and the enhanced video evidence of the Zapruder film that proved to be beyond any doubt that  both JFK and Connally were struck by one bullet simultaneously.  I'm all done with the conspiracy books.  Case closed!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2003

    Case Closed Indeed...

    A tremendous piece of work. For the question of why the President's head flys backwards, there is a thorough explanation in this book. Just read it, and you won't say the word conspiracy again when discussing the Kennedy Assasination..

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2003

    Must Read for Everyone Interested in JFK

    Gerald Posner did a good job of researching key areas of the murder of JFK. From Garrison and his willingness to recruit people to lie about information to Oswalds' disgust with American life. I was always a firm believer that Oswald was a pawn for the gov. but many of the key points of past conspiracy theories are answered with some honest insight into the events that transpired. Many of the reviews I've read sound like people who did not even read this book. A lot of questions are posed to the conspriacy buffs out there that aren't being answered!!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2003

    does not close the case

    This book does not look deep enough into the assasination. I have read both sides of the story, and I have to say that i cannot understand how anyone could not see the obvious conspiracy. As horrible as the film is to watch, it is extremely important in clearing any doubts. His head clearly moves back and to the left. Now, there is a large amount of other evidence supporting the conspiracy theory, but in actuality, all you need to know is that his head did not move forward and all questions are answered. I'd love to hear a reasonable explanation for this; I have yet to hear one. Garrison is a remarkable man- he has the courage to come out and state what he believes is true, knowing so many people will oppose him. It makes me sick to know that there are still people leading our country who know exactly what happened that day, but will not come out with it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2003

    Are you kidding me?

    Lee Harvey Oswald couldn't not have been the lone assassin, not a chance. I can tell that by watching the Zapruder film. It is EXTREMELY evident that the President was shot from the front. Why else would his head jolt backwards? I do not believe, nor will I ever be convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2000

    Open the files

    Ok, everyone is arguing over whether or not there was a conspiracy. I felt this book was good, as everyone should read both sides of the issue. However Mr. Posner, if the case is closed ,as your book reads, then open the files. Open them. Let us all see that 'Oswald did it' and that the government did not participate. Regardless of your theories, Garrison's, or mine, there is one thing for sure. If you have nothing to hide, open the files. Isn't that reasonable? Or is the government not accountable to the people? Who are they to keep information from the public? We elect them, they are not our parents. OPEN THE FILES and let the Heavens fall...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2000

    FINALLY

    I took a class on the assassination. I went in sure as anything there was a conspiracy. Posner's book changed my mind. Looking at the conspiracy through a historical lens there is absolutely, positively no way there was a conspiracy. Anyone who reads this book and still holds on to a conspiracy viewpoint needs open their mind a little. It was well researched, well documented and well presented. Compare this book with Crossfire by Jim Marrs, or any other pro-conspiracy book. There differences would be clear to a child. Posner systematically disproves almost evey conspiracy theory in unequivical language. Instead of a mish-mash of 'maybes' or 'possiblies' or 'unexplainabities', as Marrs or other pro-conspiracy writers use. This book is a refreshing look at an event that has been blown way out of proportion by people who watch too much X-files. Kudos to Posner.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    Payton

    What

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  • Posted November 21, 2013

    One of the biggest fraudulent accounts ever written regarding th

    One of the biggest fraudulent accounts ever written regarding the JFK assassination.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2005

    Everything About Oswald

    This book is full of information on Lee Oswald's complete life. The book basically summarizes that Oswald was the only person involved in the assassanation of JFK, and the author goes out of his way to shun readers away from all conspiracy theories.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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