Just in time for the 45th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy comes this intriguing, if not necessarily convincing, collection of pieces on the matter.
In 2007, famed Manson Family prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi published his 1,600-page tome Reclaiming History, which examined nearly every theory advanced on the Dallas killing, concluding that, yes, Lee Harvey Oswald did it alone. By Russell's (The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1992, etc.) account, Bugliosi "seems to have ended up with considerable egg on his face" given findings released in the last couple years. These include a putative pre-deathbed confession on the part of Watergate burglar and spook E. Howard Hunt asserting that he "was aware of a conspiracy involving Vice President Johnson, the CIA, Cuban exiles, and a ‘French gunman' on the grassy knoll," along with an Italian weapons test that supposedly proves the impossibility of Oswald's having fired three shots with an old carbine and a Texas A&M report indicating that the forensic evidence does not rule out the possibility of a second gunman. Gathering pieces he wrote in the '70s for the Village Voice and adding new material, Russell weaves several possibilities. Suffice it to say that anti-Castro Cuban counterrevolutionaries, rogue intelligence agents, the Soviets and various other actors—including Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele—somehow figure in. Less speculative is Russell's reporting on how the established media swiftly abandoned any pretense of investigation and instead accepted the Warren Commission report. Yet much of the argument is from silence, as when Russell urges that the images of Oswald after being arrested constitute some sort of proof of innocence:"In the midst of chaos at police headquarters, he possessed an almost uncanny calm, as if certain that this rather bizarre circumstance would soon be cleared up and the truth made known." Fair enough—but then Oswald could have been a grinning loony, too.
For assassination and conspiracy-theory buffs, a windfall. For everyone else, another exercise in guesswork.
Agent: Sarah Jane Freymann/Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency