A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History

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Working with thousands of previously unreleased documents and drawing on more than one thousand interviews, with many witnesses speaking out for the first time, Joan Mellen revisits and extends the investigation of late New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, the only public official to have indicted a suspect in John F. Kennedy's murder.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A Farewell to Justice is a fascinating and provocative book featuring one of the most unusual and compelling figures in the history of American jurisprudence. And though the book is massive and carefully researched and intellectually persuasive, A Farewell to Justice also reads with the engaging particularity and narrative drive of an epic, tragic novel.”

“Joan Mellen confronts and with keen analytical insight tackles the thorniest and most personal issues surrounding that most complex and larger-than-life man named Jim Garrison. She ultimately places in accurate perspective the role Garrison’s investigation played in helping America understand the true significance of the assassination of President Kennedy, revealing why it’s not history but a foreshadowing of events that brought us to these dangerous times in which we now live.”

“For seven years Joan Mellen, with determination and breathtaking courage, investigated and tested the original inquiry of District Attorney Jim Garrison into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Single-handedly, she has taken that investigation far beyond where Garrison was able to go and has emerged from this terrifying underworld with astonishing revelations…. The writing is taut and dramatic, the book indispensable.”

“Joan Mellen is a rare breed—a biographer who writes with the passion of a truth-seeker, the skill of an artisan, and the attention to detail of a well trained scholar-researcher. She digs deep and she cares. I look forward to reading every book she writes.”

“The much-maligned Jim Garrison at last receives full vindication from Joan Mellen, whose own renewed investigation into the Kennedy conspiracy brings us ever-closer to the elusive truth of what really happened on November 22, 1963.”

A Farewell to Justice is a mammoth reconsideration of Jim Garrison’s investigation of the President’s assassination in Dallas. As such, it is a grand guignol of Nawlins’ archetypes—psycho-cops and sicko-spooks, corrupt pols and thugs and crusaders, oh my! A dark and sprawling book, it is packed with investigative leads, deeply researched and very very scary.”

Oliver Stone
“There aren’t enough people like Joan Mellen in the world. Like the subject of her book, Joan has toiled away, driven by nothing more than her own passion for the truth, and emerged with . . . a mammoth work that, I believe, will be the definitive biography of Jim Garrison.”
Dick Russell
“The much-maligned Jim Garrison at last receives full vindication from Joan Mellen, whose own investigation into the Kennedy conspiracy brings us ever closer to the elusive truth of what really happened on November 22, 1963.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597970488
  • Publisher: Potomac Books
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 468
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Mellen is a professor of English and creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is the author of seventeen books, ranging from film criticism to fiction, sports, true crime, Latin American studies and biography. Her early work was about the cinema. Her “Women and Their Sexuality in the New Film,” published in 1974, was a landmark work in feminist studies. Larry McMurtry pronounced it “brilliant” in his Washington Post review. Her study of the image of women in film was followed by the companion study, “Big Bad Wolves: Masculinity in the American Cinema.” Her book about “The Battle of Algiers,” written in 1972, has been quoted widely in connection with the events of 9/11. In 1972, she was awarded a prize by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper organization in Japan. This led to her to write five books about Japan, including “The Waves at Genji’s Door: Japan through Its Cinema,” 1976. Her 1981 novel, “Natural Tendencies,” is set in Japan. More recently, she has written two books about Japanese film for the British Film Institute, “Seven Samurai” (2002) and “In the Realm of the Senses” (2004). She is also a biographer. Both “Kay Boyle: Author of Herself” (1994) and “Hellman and Hammett” (1996) were New York Times Notable Book of the year. “Hellman and Hammett” was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize. She has written for a variety of publications, including the Baltimore Sun, where she is a frequent contributor, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She has also lectured widely at universities and festivals, including, twice at the Harbourfront Festival of Authors and, most recently, during the summer of 2005 at the Shaw festival in Niagara-On-The-Lake. In 2004, she was awarded one of Temple University’s coveted “Great Teacher” awards for outstanding achievement, in particular in the graduate program in creative writing. Joan Mellen lives in Pennington, New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Preface     xvii
Cast of Characters     xxi
An Article in Esquire Magazine     1
The Mafia, Sacred Cows, the Cupid Doll and a Spy Left Out in the Cold     17
Clay Shaw Co-Signs A Loan     31
Oswald and Customs     46
The Banister Menagerie     65
More Evidence Denied to Jim Garrison     79
Tiger by the Tail     94
A Witness Comes Forward and Intrigue at the VIP Room     111
An Operative In Action     128
A Skittish Witness     144
John F. Kennedy, Jim Garrison and the CIA     161
"White Paper"     185
Smoking Guns in a Rural Parish     204
An Unsung Hero and the Do-Not-File File     221
A Tale of Two Kings and Some Soldiers of Fortune     238
Witnesses and Roustabouts     254
Jackals for the CIA     270
Upheaval     286
State of Louisiana v. Clay Shaw     301
Just Another Day at Tulane and Broad     317
Potomac Two-Step     333
The Death of Jim Garrison: Vale     350
Rabbi     369
Notes     387
Annotated and SelectedBibliography     519
Index     529
About the Author     547
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    The message is coverup

    Contrary to other reviewers, I feel Mellen's book is designed principally to discuss how Garrison's investigation was stymied, not to analyze the events in Dallas. If she is correct (and I think she proves this part of her case) that the Feds did not support Garrison's investigation, then we as citizens need to ask, 'Why not?' Isn't it the duty of our federal government to support states in investigating possible crimes?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2006

    The elephant in the room

    As a previous reviewer notes there hasn't been located a piece of paper that says who dunit. But Operation Northwoods has been unearthed by James Bamford, Gerald McKnight has indicted the Warren Commission and Arlen Specter for their cover-up and now Joan Mellen has shown that Jim Garrison was on to something after all. This indeed would not matter if we were not still being run by a military industrial complex which spins and spends out of control for policies and agendas that are not allowed to be debated or clearly understood. The lack of a serious investigation of 911, (Bush and Cheney were not even deposed),the shelving by Senator Specter of Able Danger hearings, perhaps even the loss of soul manifested at Mylai and then Abu Ghraib find their birth in that masterpiece of subterfuge called the Warren Report. The budgeted 400 plus billion military, which actually spent 667 billion in 2005, according to the GAO, has grown so grotesgue and so endemic to our culture that we can't see the forest for the trees. This monster which Eisenhower foresaw but didn't know how to stop had its serious beginnings in the removal of the obstacle to its growth and power on Nov 22, 1963.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2006

    Look Elsewhere

    Quite simply a horrible book on an otherwise interesting subject. I had hoped to use this book in a class I teach (Modern America) and it was so poor that I had to supplement the work with other books on Garrison and the JFK assassination. Not worth the time.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2006

    A disappointment

    I'd like agree with the previous reviewer, who found the book rather confusing. I think I read somwhere that this book was much anticipated by the assassination research 'community' - if so its members must be disappointed. I personally believe there was a CIA connection, at some level, to JFK's murder, but this book did nothing to clarify my belief. There is considerable detail about Garrison the man that I for one could have done without, while the case against Shaw and his possible co-conspirators remains 'not proven'. The writing is at time engaging, but the information is not clearly presented and what there is that's new is insufficiently sourced. The book does not really advance our knowledge of who killed JFK in any major way.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2006

    Good but not great

    Joan paints a strange and almost perverted Jim Garrison on some pages and then casts him off as a smooth talking southern gentleman on others. But that has little to do with his case against Clay Shaw. A farewell to justice finalizes the links between Oswald, Ferrie, Bannister, Shaw (Bertram) but when she tries to link them all to the CIA and a JFK plot her refined approach becomes a shotgun spray of quotes, assumptions and rambling of names. Far to much time was taken to various individual Cubans and CIA code names without simply telling us (or giving us) a road map that shows how they are part of the assassination plot. I really want to believe there was a CIA connection and that Jim Garrison was indeed on the trail of the assassins, but A farewell to Justice is just to scatter gunned to prove anything. I have no doubt most if not all of what I have just read is true but, like the jurors at the Clay Shaw trail, how this proves a Shaw/ CIA assassination plot I don't know. Maybe after all these years the grassy knoll, badgeman, the second Oswald and Jim Garrison's ideas will never be proved or disproved. Nobody has that 1 piece of paper confirming a conspiracy. Nobody has that one eye witness who, some 40 years later, has yet to come forward and as hard as Joan has worked on her book maybe it is time to let the subject go.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2010

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