The JFK Assassination Debates: Lone Gunman versus Conspiracy

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Southern Louisiana University historian Kurtz (Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination from a Historian's Perspective) rehashes the debate about whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating JFK, coming down on the side of conspiracy. In this, he is by his own account on the same page as some 68% of the American public. Kurtz provides a serviceable summary of the arguments and theories supporting each view: solo shooter vs. triangulated fire orchestrated by an unspecified cabal of malignant forces. The familiar landmarks and debates are all here: the grassy knoll, the "magic" bullet, the possible organized crime connection, the possible Cuban connection and the various, contradictory intrigues of America's intelligence community. Each aspect is detailed, each cogently laid out all leading nowhere. The facts, both agreed on and debated, remain the same here as they have been in countless other volumes. With regard to the key issue who killed JFK? Kurtz admits, "I do not know the answer," while charging everyone from the CIA, to the Warren Commission and the Kennedy family of a "continuing coverup" of evidence. In the end, Kurtz leaves us no closer to definitive truth than we've been before regarding the quagmire of November 22, 1963. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Of the numerous books on JFK's assassination, many are dogmatic, speculative, or swamped by numbing detail. Fortunately, Kurtz (history, Southeastern Louisiana Univ., Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination from a Historian's Perspective) offers a superior account. He has spent four decades researching the assassination, and the result is this balanced appraisal of the varying theories, from the lone gunman-"magic bullet"-premise to those conspiracy theories that cannot be dismissed as the ramblings of kooks. Kurtz himself favors conspiracy and includes convincing evidence, from previously classified documents released after the 1992 President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, that reveals CIA, FBI, Secret Service, and Warren Commission cover-ups. Intriguing accounts bolstering the author's conclusions include details relating to Lee Harvey Oswald, the Cuban-Mafia connection, the bumbling autopsy of the slain President, and the controversial roles of Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, and Warren Commission members Arlen Specter and Gerald Ford. This reasoned addition to Kennedy assassination literature joins such recent books as Gerald McKnight's Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why and David Wrone's The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination, showing that the truths behind the assassination have not been completely uncovered and likely never will be. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700616251
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 8/8/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 590,329
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2007

    Presidential conspiracy

    If you like reading about presidential conspiracies, you'll love the TRUE story of the radical plot to overthrow FDR. It's an almost forgotten historical even but you can read about it in Jules Archer's The Plot to Seize the Whitehouse.

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