The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

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Overview

Neither a random event nor the act of a lone madman—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was an appalling and grisly conspiracy. This is the unvarnished story.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sun-Times

A thorough recounting of facts interspersed with interpretations and opinions that carry the weight of someone who knows how to analyze history... Kaiser isn't the first to suggest JFK was assassinated by a conspiracy of anti-Castro Cubans upset at Kennedy's failure to eliminate Fidel Castro and a Mafia enraged by the obsession of JFK's attorney general, his brother Robert Kennedy, to attack organized crime. But Kaiser may be the first to reach the depth of reporting the facts that support this theory...It would be hard to imagine anyone but Kennedy assassination scholars and historians not learning something new in Kaiser's book. For fans of Oliver Stone's movie JFK (1991) and JFK assassination junkies, the book is the latest—and perhaps best—view of the historic event.
— Roman Modrowski

Playboy

In The Road to Dallas we see the rare vindication of the lunatic fringe, as Kaiser—who teaches history at the Naval War College—puts forth the first serious historical study to confirm what we've long suspected: that JFK's killing was not the work of a lone madman. Comprehensive and well documented, The Road to Dallas connects the dots from the CIA to Carlos Marcello with convincing thoroughness. If you think you've had enough of grassy-knoll theories, this book will surprise you.
— Leopold Froehlich

Denver Post

Historian David Kaiser's meticulously researched new work, The Road to Dallas, about the shocking and clandestine maneuverings of our CIA and FBI under President John F. Kennedy, paints a disturbing portrait of what often goes undetected at the highest levels of government...Kaiser's investigation seems to put to rest the long-held notion put forth by the Warren Report that Oswald acted alone and was simply a nutty gunman. He examines new evidence that lays out Oswald's extensive entanglements with suspicious persons prior to the assassination...Kaiser's fine book destroys any romantic view of world politics we might wish to cling to—and shows us a much darker reality.
— Elaine Margolin

Niagara Falls Reporter

A most interesting book on the JFK killing—much better than almost all the rest...It is 509 pages long, costs $35, and is well worth the time and money...[The] trove of official material has been sifted by some (not as many as one might expect) writers and historians in the intervening years, but by none exhibiting Kaiser‘s dogged approach, application of logic, clear writing style, understandable presentation and impressive analytical ability...This is a dynamite book—understandable, readable and as vivid as the best crime novels. Only this hit job happened. And it changed our world.
— John Hanchette

Irish Independent

We may yet one day discover a "smoking gun" that makes all other theories fall away. Until then, Kaiser's book may rise to be the most plausible explanation we are likely to read.
— Richard Delevan

Choice

Kaiser, a respected professional historian at the Naval War College, combed through mounds of previously classified documents to craft an interesting, well-written account of the days leading up to the assassination. Kaiser effectively places the events that transpired in Dallas within the context of contemporary politics. He masterfully tracks the administration's vendetta against organized crime and the numerous Kennedy-era assassination plots against Fidel Castro. The author lucidly argues that the assassination, although carried out by Lee Harvey Oswald, was the culmination of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's crusade against the mob. While this conspiracy theory is not new, the supporting documentation and the captivating account laid out by an established historian makes for some fascinating reading.
— J. B. Cook

G. Robert Blakey
Finally a historian, without preconceptions, has looked at the voluminous, once secret documents produced by the CIA, the FBI, and other government agencies in response to the JFK Assassination Records Act of 1992. Kaiser's nuanced conclusions on Oswald's guilt and the ominous issue of conspiracy will command respect from even those who disagree with them. Comprehensive, beautifully crafted, and well-reasoned. An essential addition to the JFK corpus.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roman Modrowski
A thorough recounting of facts interspersed with interpretations and opinions that carry the weight of someone who knows how to analyze history... Kaiser isn't the first to suggest JFK was assassinated by a conspiracy of anti-Castro Cubans upset at Kennedy's failure to eliminate Fidel Castro and a Mafia enraged by the obsession of JFK's attorney general, his brother Robert Kennedy, to attack organized crime. But Kaiser may be the first to reach the depth of reporting the facts that support this theory...It would be hard to imagine anyone but Kennedy assassination scholars and historians not learning something new in Kaiser's book. For fans of Oliver Stone's movie JFK (1991) and JFK assassination junkies, the book is the latest--and perhaps best--view of the historic event.
Playboy - Leopold Froehlich
In The Road to Dallas we see the rare vindication of the lunatic fringe, as Kaiser--who teaches history at the Naval War College--puts forth the first serious historical study to confirm what we've long suspected: that JFK's killing was not the work of a lone madman. Comprehensive and well documented, The Road to Dallas connects the dots from the CIA to Carlos Marcello with convincing thoroughness. If you think you've had enough of grassy-knoll theories, this book will surprise you.
Denver Post - Elaine Margolin
Historian David Kaiser's meticulously researched new work, The Road to Dallas, about the shocking and clandestine maneuverings of our CIA and FBI under President John F. Kennedy, paints a disturbing portrait of what often goes undetected at the highest levels of government...Kaiser's investigation seems to put to rest the long-held notion put forth by the Warren Report that Oswald acted alone and was simply a nutty gunman. He examines new evidence that lays out Oswald's extensive entanglements with suspicious persons prior to the assassination...Kaiser's fine book destroys any romantic view of world politics we might wish to cling to--and shows us a much darker reality.
Niagara Falls Reporter - John Hanchette
A most interesting book on the JFK killing--much better than almost all the rest...It is 509 pages long, costs $35, and is well worth the time and money...[The] trove of official material has been sifted by some (not as many as one might expect) writers and historians in the intervening years, but by none exhibiting Kaiser‘s dogged approach, application of logic, clear writing style, understandable presentation and impressive analytical ability...This is a dynamite book--understandable, readable and as vivid as the best crime novels. Only this hit job happened. And it changed our world.
Irish Independent - Richard Delevan
We may yet one day discover a "smoking gun" that makes all other theories fall away. Until then, Kaiser's book may rise to be the most plausible explanation we are likely to read.
Choice - J. B. Cook
Kaiser, a respected professional historian at the Naval War College, combed through mounds of previously classified documents to craft an interesting, well-written account of the days leading up to the assassination. Kaiser effectively places the events that transpired in Dallas within the context of contemporary politics. He masterfully tracks the administration's vendetta against organized crime and the numerous Kennedy-era assassination plots against Fidel Castro. The author lucidly argues that the assassination, although carried out by Lee Harvey Oswald, was the culmination of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's crusade against the mob. While this conspiracy theory is not new, the supporting documentation and the captivating account laid out by an established historian makes for some fascinating reading.
Playboy
In The Road to Dallas we see the rare vindication of the lunatic fringe, as Kaiser--who teaches history at the Naval War College--puts forth the first serious historical study to confirm what we've long suspected: that JFK's killing was not the work of a lone madman. Comprehensive and well documented, The Road to Dallas connects the dots from the CIA to Carlos Marcello with convincing thoroughness. If you think you've had enough of grassy-knoll theories, this book will surprise you.
— Leopold Froehlich
Chicago Sun-Times
A thorough recounting of facts interspersed with interpretations and opinions that carry the weight of someone who knows how to analyze history... Kaiser isn't the first to suggest JFK was assassinated by a conspiracy of anti-Castro Cubans upset at Kennedy's failure to eliminate Fidel Castro and a Mafia enraged by the obsession of JFK's attorney general, his brother Robert Kennedy, to attack organized crime. But Kaiser may be the first to reach the depth of reporting the facts that support this theory...It would be hard to imagine anyone but Kennedy assassination scholars and historians not learning something new in Kaiser's book. For fans of Oliver Stone's movie JFK (1991) and JFK assassination junkies, the book is the latest--and perhaps best--view of the historic event.
— Roman Modrowski
Choice
Kaiser, a respected professional historian at the Naval War College, combed through mounds of previously classified documents to craft an interesting, well-written account of the days leading up to the assassination. Kaiser effectively places the events that transpired in Dallas within the context of contemporary politics. He masterfully tracks the administration's vendetta against organized crime and the numerous Kennedy-era assassination plots against Fidel Castro. The author lucidly argues that the assassination, although carried out by Lee Harvey Oswald, was the culmination of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's crusade against the mob. While this conspiracy theory is not new, the supporting documentation and the captivating account laid out by an established historian makes for some fascinating reading.
— J. B. Cook
Denver Post
Historian David Kaiser's meticulously researched new work, The Road to Dallas, about the shocking and clandestine maneuverings of our CIA and FBI under President John F. Kennedy, paints a disturbing portrait of what often goes undetected at the highest levels of government...Kaiser's investigation seems to put to rest the long-held notion put forth by the Warren Report that Oswald acted alone and was simply a nutty gunman. He examines new evidence that lays out Oswald's extensive entanglements with suspicious persons prior to the assassination...Kaiser's fine book destroys any romantic view of world politics we might wish to cling to--and shows us a much darker reality.
— Elaine Margolin
Irish Independent
We may yet one day discover a "smoking gun" that makes all other theories fall away. Until then, Kaiser's book may rise to be the most plausible explanation we are likely to read.
— Richard Delevan
Niagara Falls Reporter
A most interesting book on the JFK killing--much better than almost all the rest...It is 509 pages long, costs $35, and is well worth the time and money...[The] trove of official material has been sifted by some (not as many as one might expect) writers and historians in the intervening years, but by none exhibiting Kaiser‘s dogged approach, application of logic, clear writing style, understandable presentation and impressive analytical ability...This is a dynamite book--understandable, readable and as vivid as the best crime novels. Only this hit job happened. And it changed our world.
— John Hanchette
Publishers Weekly

While plenty of authors have argued that the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans were behind the assassination of President Kennedy, few have done so as convincingly as Naval War College history professor Kaiser (American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War). Kaiser bills this as "the first [Kennedy assassination book] written by a professional historian who has researched the available archives," and his attention to detail and use of recently released FBI and CIA files put this analysis ahead of many of its fellows. Kaiser focuses on the tantalizing testimony of Cuban exile Silvia Odio, who claimed to have met Lee Harvey Oswald in the company of Cuban activists, and on the U.S. government's efforts to kill Castro and Robert Kennedy's crusade against organized crime. By taking Oswald's guilt as a given and focusing on the people he crossed paths with and their motives and connections, Kaiser mostly succeeds in avoiding complex and narrative-derailing forensic discussions. This is a deeply disturbing look at a national tragedy, and Kaiser's sober tone and reasoned analysis may well convince some in the Oswald-was-a-lone-nut camp. 30 b&w illus. not seen by PW. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A historian takes us, once more, down the rabbit hole surrounding the events of November 22, 1963. After 45 years and countless books devoted to the subject-including last-word, authoritative treatments like Gerald Posner's Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (1993) and Vincent Bugliosi's recent Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (2007)-a surprisingly high percentage of the American public refuses to accept the Warren Commission's conclusion that a lone gunman killed JFK. Kaiser (History/Naval War Coll.; American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000, etc.) agrees that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered the president, but the author depicts him as the simultaneous pawn of organized crime, defending itself against relentless prosecution by Robert Kennedy's Justice Department, and of "the U.S. government-sponsored or tolerated anti-Castro movement," dedicated to overthrowing or killing the dictator. Both of Kaiser's plots center on formerly mob-friendly Cuba which, under Castro, became a communist thorn in the Kennedy administration's side. Relying on raw data available to the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, materials released pursuant to 1992's JFK Records Act, Soviet archives and the work of previous authors, Kaiser submits his professional historian credentials as a good reason to prefer his analysis over the investigations of his many predecessors. Why his qualifications trump those of, say, Posner or Bugliosi, attorneys well-accustomed to assembling and assessing evidence, Kaiser doesn't venture. Still, the narrative's level of detail, sober style, strict adherence to itsdouble-track theory and plausible argument make it worthy of consideration. Kaiser's scenario hangs together, but it depends on constructions-e.g., the veracity of anti-Castro activist and crucial witness Silvia Odio, the certainty that Oswald was a phony leftist-vigorously and just as reliably disputed elsewhere. In the seemingly neverending arms race between the lone-assassin and the conspiracy theorists, Kaiser adds a serious piece of scholarship to the arsenal of those who believe Americans have yet to learn the whole truth about the assassination of JFK. Agent: Michael Carlisle/Inkwell Management
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674034723
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2009
  • Pages: 536
  • Sales rank: 679,354
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Kaiser is an independent scholar.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I: Criminals, Cubans, Kennedys, and the CIA

1. Organized Crime in the 1950s

2. Castro Takes Power

3. The CIA Enlists the Mob

4. The Kennedys Take Over

5. Operation Mongoose

6. Crusaders and Gangsters

7 The Mob Enlists the CIA

Part II: Lee Harvey Oswald

8. A Defector Returns

9. The Big Easy

10. Oswald Exposed

11. The Odio Incident

12. Journey to Mexico

Part III: Converging Paths

13. Making Everyone Unhappy about Cuba

14. Turning Up the Heat

15. Countdown to Catastrophe

16. Three days in November

17. Keeping Secrets

Conclusion

Note on Sources

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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