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Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

3.8 38
by Vincent Bugliosi

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For fifty years the truth about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been obscured. This book releases us from a crippling distortion of American history.
At 1:00 p.m. on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead, the victim of a sniper attack during his motorcade through Dallas. That may be the only fact generally agreed


For fifty years the truth about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been obscured. This book releases us from a crippling distortion of American history.
At 1:00 p.m. on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead, the victim of a sniper attack during his motorcade through Dallas. That may be the only fact generally agreed upon in the vast literature spawned by the assassination. National polls reveal that an overwhelming majority of Americans (75%) believe that there was a high-level conspiracy behind Lee Harvey Oswald. Many even believe that Oswald was entirely innocent. In this continuously absorbing, powerful, ground-breaking book, Vincent Bugliosi shows how we have come to believe such lies about an event that changed the course of history.
The brilliant prosecutor of Charles Manson and the man who forged an iron-clad case of circumstantial guilt around O. J. Simpson in his best-selling Outrage Bugliosi is perhaps the only man in America capable of writing the definitive book on the Kennedy assassination. This is an achievement that has for years seemed beyond reach. No one imagined that such a book would ever be written: a single volume that once and for all resolves, beyond any reasonable doubt, every lingering question as to what happened in Dallas and who was responsible.
There have been hundreds of books about the assassination, but there has never been a book that covers the entire case, including addressing every piece of evidence and each and every conspiracy theory, and the facts, or alleged facts, on which they are based. In this monumental work, the author has raised scholarship on the assassination to a new and final level, one that far surpasses all other books on the subject. It adds resonance, depth, and closure to the admirable work of the Warren Commission.Reclaiming History is a narrative compendium of fact, forensic evidence, reexamination of key witnesses, and common sense. Every detail and nuance is accounted for, every conspiracy theory revealed as a fraud on the American public. Bugliosi's irresistible logic, command of the evidence, and ability to draw startling inferences shed fresh light on this American nightmare. At last it all makes sense.

Editorial Reviews

Scott Turow
“This is quite simply a book that will be read for centuries.”
Jim Newton - Los Angeles Times Book Review
“At last, someone has done it, put all the pieces together. With this work, Bugliosi has definitively explained the murder that recalibrated modern America. It is a book for the ages.”
Wall Street Journal
“This encyclopedic work is a bargain. Mr. Bugliosi’s verve for setting the record straight is unequaled and will probably never be surpassed…Unlike any other book on the assassination ever produced by a single author, Reclaiming History [should] probably be shelved along-side the two massive federal investigations of the assassination.”
Alan Wolfe - Washington Post
“Absent a trial proving [Oswald’s] guilt, Bugliosi has offered the next best thing: a prosecutor’s air-tight brief that leaves no reasonable doubt. Bugliosi is right that this case is, and ought to be, closed.”
Telegraph (London)
“Reclaiming History is the final word on the Kennedy assassination. It sets out to recapture the assassination from the conspiracy theorists, and succeeds so triumphantly that only the most demented reader could doubt its conclusions.”
Bryan Burrough - New York Times Book Review
“What Bugliosi has done is a public service. This book should be applauded….More than a critical analysis…[it] is the literary equivalent of World War I, a kind of trench warfare for the mind.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“Few books are as gripping in their narrative, or as telling in their fine detail. This is a book that will make you weep. Powerfully, Reclaiming History evokes the confusion and awful fatefulness, a feeling of the world ripped asunder, that gripped millions at the time.”
Boston Globe
“With indignation crackling on every page…Bugliosi aims to redress, once and for all, what he sees as an outrageous imbalance between the books that deal with the assassination responsibly and those that do not…. [Bugliosi’s] richly textured book is as engrossing as it is convincing.”
Alan Wolfe
To say that Bugliosi wants to strike a nail in the coffin of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists is putting it mildly; he wants to drive a tractor trailer through their ranks and scatter everyone in sight. Is such an effort really necessary? I am afraid it is, which is another way of saying that we ought to be grateful for Bugliosi's obsession.

Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed John F. Kennedy. Absent a trial proving his guilt, Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter, has offered the next best thing: a prosecutor's air-tight brief that leaves no reasonable doubt. A short review cannot possibly do justice to the case he assembles, so let me just offer a taste of Bugliosi's methods. The first thing he does is to describe, in exhaustive detail, everything that happened on the day Kennedy was shot. Then, in the second half of the book, Bugliosi takes each of the leading conspiracy theories -- that there was a second Oswald, that the mob plotted the assassination, that the CIA did it and so on -- and demolishes their claims.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Bugliosi, best known as Charles Manson's prosecutor, spent more than 20 years writing this defense of the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the slaying of President Kennedy, but his obsession has produced a massive tome that's likely to overwhelm most readers. At times, the author seems determined to present every detail his researches revealed, even if it doesn't add to the overall picture (like a footnote on Elvis sightings). Further, while Bugliosi says even serious conspiracy theorists don't claim the FBI or Secret Service were involved, he devotes chapters to each. The book's structure—it's organized by subject, such as theories about the role of the FBI, the KGB or anti-Castro Cubans—leads to needless repetition, and, for an author who excoriates conspiracy theorists, charging them with carelessness and making wild accusations, Bugliosi is not always temperate in his language; for example, twice he makes the nonsensical claim that some Warren Commission critics "were screaming the word conspiracy before the fatal bullet had come to rest." His decision to devote twice as many pages to critiquing Oliver Stone's movie JFK as to his chapter on organized crime (identified by the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassination as the likely conspirators) is a curious one, as is the choice to open the book with a dramatic re-creation of events surrounding the assassination rather than a straightforward chronology of the relevant facts. Moreover, Bugliosi does not always probe whether individuals who are the sole source for certain facts (for example, Oswald's widow, Marina) had any motive to lie. Bugliosi's voluminous endnotes areon an accompanying CD. Gerald Posner's 1993 Case Closed made most of the same points in a much more concise way. 32 pages of illus. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
In his consideration of Kennedy's assassination and the surrounding conspiracy theories, Charles Manson's prosecutor is nothing if not thoroughgoing (note the page count). Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Manson Family prosecutor Bugliosi (Helter Skelter, 1974, etc.) takes on the endless and various host of JFK conspiracy buffs in this ponderous tome. By the author's count, there are nearly 350 organizations and individuals who have been implicated in the conspiracy theories swirling around the president's murder on November 22, 1963. Most of the buffs advancing them, he growls, are "as kooky as a three-dollar bill in their beliefs and paranoia about the assassination," and he has a point; one multi-conspiracy advocate, reminded that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had not been named as a party in the assassination and cover-up, replied, "Give us time." The point of this metropolitan phone book-sized volume, it seems, is to dismantle those theories one by one, in sometimes tedious and overladen detail; but given the multiplicity of those theories and the evidence required to dispel them, it is hard to imagine that the book or approach could have been much different. Perhaps the most pervasive argument-apart from the overarching one that Lee Harvey Oswald could not, for various reasons, have acted alone-is that the Warren Commission deliberately acted to suppress evidence of conspiracy, to which one counsel tells Bugliosi, "The one thing I wanted to do was find a conspiracy . . . . If I could have found . . . that Oswald didn't do it, I'd have been the senator from Ohio, not John Glenn." In turn, Bugliosi examines and then dismisses theories concerning the so-called magic bullet found on Kennedy's stretcher, the audio reports of a second shooter, the alleged involvement of organized crime, the several charges that Fidel Castro or perhaps anti-Castro Cubans killed Kennedy and the omnibusinnuendoes of Oliver Stone's film JFK, which rolled several conspiracy theories into one. Bugliosi does himself and his argument no favors with his tone of flippancy and dismissiveness, as when he chides conspiracy buffs for failing to admit the possibility that "a nut like Oswald would flip out and commit the act." Still, this compendium is oddly fascinating, even if it probably won't change anyone's mind.

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 10.30(h) x 3.00(d)

Meet the Author

Vincent Bugliosi (1934—2015), was the prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter, Outrage, and other #1 bestselling books.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
August 14, 1934
Date of Death:
June 6, 2015
Place of Birth:
Hibbing, MN
Place of Death:
Los Angeles, CA
University of Miami (1956); UCLA Law School (1964)

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Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh brother! After that last review one can only sigh. I was an expert marksman in the Marines. I stood in the 6th floor window next to where Oswald fired. The range was less than 100 yards, which is practically point blank for a trained marksman. Oswald was a Marine Sharpshooter which means: well qualified. Plus it was established that he practiced with his Carcano rifle often. Conspiracy theorists will never let themselves be confused by facts. Bugliosi, one of our country's foremost prosecutors, lays out and summarizes the case exhaustively. One can come to only one conclusion - Oswald acted alone in firing three shots from the 6th floor of the schoolbook depository on that fateful day in Dallas which killed the president and wounded Governor Connolly. No conspiracy, no coverup. A lone nut with means and opportunity. We will never know his motive. He may not even have known himself why he was doing it. If he wanted to elevate his miserable and worthless existence to mythological status then he certainly succeeded. The evidence is overwhelming and the Warren Commission findings conclusive. As to Bugliosi's penchant for using ordinary everyday language to describe how ludicrous and absurd most of these consiracy theories are, well, how else do you say it? Some of these people are just plain nuts. And the rest are just opportunists cashing in on the conspiracy legacy, often taking the smallest shred of doubt about some piece of evidence or event 'or just nothing at all' and blowing it up into a 300 page book that proves nothing. Mere fiction with the Kennedy assassination as an excuse. If you want a definitive reference of the Kennedy assassination and a thorough debunking of the major consiracy theories then I highly recommend this book.
Library_Alexandria More than 1 year ago
Here's what scary to me, those who think that JFK wasn't shot by a single person, who was trained to use a rifle, at close range, in military terms and hit the target two out of three times. There have been dozens of TV shows (from 1968 CBS special that recreated the shooting to Discovery Channel specials) that have shown literally that the single bullet theory holds up, that one person can hit the target and do the damage it did, in the time span that was recorded. But what is more amazing is that Discovery showed (11/13/2008, JFK, Inside the Target Car) that a single round, shot from the same weapon that Lee used from the grassy knoll would have exploded the head right off the body, especially at that close of a range and just not taken a piece of the head off. VB has walked through the whole time line, minute by minute, detailing it with facts, not shadowy assumptions or half truths or distractions or even invalid statements by third party sources. I have actually read the WCR when I was in high school; the local library had a copy of it. It took me my four years in high school (1972-1976) to go through it, but one fact became clear as I was going through it. To have covered it all up, everyone would had to be very quiet about it and as VB has stated in the beginning of his book, the only secret that stays that way, especially if three people know about it, is if two of them are dead. Ockham's razor comes to mind as I was reading the book. "Lex Parsimoniae", the simplest explanation is more likely the correct one. As Joe Friday said many times stated, "Just the facts, Ma'am" and that's what those who don't believe the WCR are missing, hard cold facts, which can be backup with real hard core evidence. Thank Vincent for doing this World a true service, but shows that the light of truth will make the dark cockroaches of lies, run back into the shadows again. Like the WCR, if you haven't read it (or this VB's book), don't review it, because you can't judge it, because you are lacking the information and are therefore ignorant.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm 17 years old and always wanted to know the TRUTH about John Kennedy's death.Growing up I saw Oliver Stone's JFK selling to me that Lee Oswald didn't act alone,Which is what I always read in my history books.But now there is a book that is not bias or takes sides it simply lays out ALL the facts and lets the reader decide for themself.I think most people would agree that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kenndedy alone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have read many books about the assassination, but this is the final piece, the final say about the event and everything having to do with it. Bugliosi again proves, as did the Warren Report, that President Kennedy was killed by a single gunman, Lee Oswald, acting along. In the first place, Bugliosi puts this historical event in proper perspective it deserves. It was a very important event that personally affected millions of people. And he acknowledges that for many reasons, not the least of which was Ruby killing Oswald, conspiracy theories immediately rang out, which echo to this day. First Bugliosi relates, minute by minute the events of that weekend. Then he recounts all the known official evidence, and proves that even the most questioned part of the official version, the Single Bullet theory, is correct and butressed with layers of evidence, including atomic analysis of bullet fragments. He focuses on the evidence. He focuses on Oswald, his every known movement. The multi-layered approach is used throughout, especially as to whether Oswald fired the only shots that day and as to whether he acted alone. He proves everything conclusively many times over. As per pure evidence, this is his strong suit, proving things in layers. But he is only getting warmed up. Next he methodically dismantles each and every conspiracy theory, from 'Ruby was in the mob' to the 'Zapruder film was a fake' and every thing in between. Everthing. He saves his biggest wrecking ball for the O. Stone movie, proving it a complete farse. So, yes it took 1500 pages to do all this. But suprisingly, the writing style is pleasing and never forced, and it reads easily. Some parts of the book, such as how he exposes the more Martian conspiracy theories, are downright funny. But there's nothing funny about his theme overall. This is serious business. Our president was murdered and he never loses sight of that basic fact. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No matter what your opinion of the assassination, 'lone nut' or 'conspiracy', this will be the most detailed, engrossing, minute-by-minute account that you have ever read! For many years, I believed that Oswald acted entirely alone. I didn't change my mind on this until I read Barr McClellan's book, Blood, Money & Power - How LBJ Killed JFK. I was really disturbed after reading that book. I must say, that after reading the entire first third of Bugliosi's book, you will probably be convinced, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that Oswald killed J.D. Tippit. You will likely be convinced as well that Oswald alone fired the shots at Kennedy. You will also be convinced that it is absolutely preposterous to think that the Warren Commission intentionally deceived the American people. This cover-up would be exponentially harder to pull off or even contrive than the assassination itself. I am amazed at the number of people who will readily condemn members of the commission in preference to one little Marxist nobody. With that said, however, I must point out that I was curious when I received this book to see what Bugliosi had to say about Barr McClellan and his book. Mind you, Barr McClellan isn't just some assassination buff. He was one of Lyndon Johnson's personal attorneys, and believes strongly that the Clark law firm representing Johnson's interests was behind the assassination. In his book, McClellan tells of numerous seedy incidents involving Johnson and the firm. When I read Bugliosi's scathing comments regarding McClellan, I believed Bugliosi's inquest into the issues and was incensed, nearly enraged against McClellan that he would take readers on such an erroneous joyride in his book. I decided to look into this matter a little more, by looking at online sources of the Warren Commission's findings. There are many sites, many of them universities, that host the true materials themselves, not conspiracy buff garbage, but the entire published proceedings of the Warren Commission. I found one of these sites, looked into this issue, and want to point out the following: McClellan's main assertion is that Malcolm Wallace was present on the sixth floor of the depository at some time, and in being there at all, it implicates the law firm in the assassination. His main 'proof' is in a fingerprint that has been matched to Wallace by three sources, Nathan Darby, Interpol, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. 'DPS examiner recanted his match after learning its significance - perhaps afraid of losing his job? This by itself is possibly an indication of Johnson's supporters' ongoing influence in Austin.'Bugliosi only speaks of the 'match' made by Darby. Bugliosi says, on p. 922: 'On November 20, 2001, I spoke over the telephone with Darby. Eighty-seven at the time,... I told him that I had trouble with his finding a 'match' between prints found at the sniper's nest on the sixth floor and the fingerprint exemplar card of Malcolm Wallace. 'Why?' he asked. 'Because,' I pointed out, 'the unidentified latent print found on the sixth floor was a palm print, not a fingerprint, and unless you've come up with something new, I've never heard of anyone matching a palm print with a fingerprint.' Darby, sensing he had been taken, told me that he had been given 'two fingerprints, one from a card, the other a latent...Of course, you can't compare a palm print with a fingerprint.' Bugliosi then says, 'So much for Malcolm Wallace at the window and another desperate attempt by the conspiracy community to implicate anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald for Kennedy's murder.' This is a real injustice to McClellan 'and Nathan Darby - in this reader's mind, the implied assessment being: 'poor old fool'' and is totally without merit. Bugliosi seems to imply that since there was only one unknown print, a palm print, that McClellan must have fabricated a hoax on Darby, having him compare, in effect, the exemplar print to
Guest More than 1 year ago
As someone who read the main JFK conspiracy books in the 90s when interest in the case went up as Stone was doing his movie, and who was very skeptical of the 'official' version from the time I watched as a 9 year old with my mother, Jack Ruby kill Lee Oswald, I can say with confidence that Vince Bugliosi has indeed looked at the entire case, not just parts, and has cleared the air. The telling of the story is just superb. The research has seemingly been enormous, and his judgment as a prosecutor combined no doubt with skill developed from being around police and detectives solving all sorts of crimes, all this results in a book that should be required reading to undo the brainwash the conspiracy community aided by the crank Oliver Stone has put over on the American people. It is a page turner in spite of its size! Thanks VINCE!!! You have done a great service to the US.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best researched books I have ever read...and very readable too. Nothing will ever convince the hardcore conspiracy buffs, but for the averaage person who is willing to think objectively Bugliosi makes a convincing case.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bugliosi sets its straight. The book is large, but you can read sections out of order as to your curiosity's dictates. This is great for those who know a good amount about the case. It will show you that anyone who would recomend the Oliver Stone movie, JFK as a historical source is unreliable. Stone should be ashamed of his ignorant mischief. The study and its conclusions are convincing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On Monday November 25, 1963 the world watched in sadness as our beloved 35th President was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Since that terrible, fateful day, Friday November 22, 1963 our country and it's citizenry has been bantered, beleaguered and haunted by one central question: was there a conspiracy that brought about Kennedy's death? This book brilliantly provides the answer to that question...NO! Indeed, the truth has been before our very eyes from the very moment that Oswald fired off his first shot at the Kennedy limousine from the southeast window of the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza, but for some strange reason, a great majority of the American public has not embraced that fact. Maybe now, after 45 years of lingering doubts, we will. In this way it can be truly said that 'truth is stranger than fiction'. That Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and that he acted ALONE, should be as clear as a crystal sea. But I guess it took all this time for someone with real courage to take the time 'more than 20 years' and investigate ALL THE FACTS, AND REACH A FINAL CONCLUSION BASED only ON THOSE FACTS. In this exhaustive and compelling masterpiece, 'Reclaiming History', Vincent Bugliosi has in essence debunked nearly every conspiracy that has lingered for nearly a generation. That is much too long for the American public to not have final closure on this matter. There is an ancient scripture that says, 'Nothing is hidden that shall not be [eventually] revealed...' Yes, it may sometimes take a generation for the truth to surface, but lurking somewhere in the dark shadows of time lies the answer to each nagging question. Just as we laid JFK to rest on November 25, 1963, Mr. Bugliosi has once and far all laid to rest every plaguing question about who really murdered President Kennedy. It was Oswald all along!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This mammoth study of all the events and interpretations relating to the Kennedy assassination is a thorough, extraordinarily detailed, compellingly argued account of the events kicked off in 1963 and a devastating rebuttal of conspiracy theories. Gerald Posner's excellent book on the assassination was called Case Closed; in spite of its title, the controversies continued, but after this exhaustive prosecutor's examination of all, and I do mean all, of the evidence relating to the events, the case is really and definitively closed. It is a book to be sampled in pieces and over time. It could be edited and cut down, but if completeness is the standard of excellence, this book is it. No one will ever be able to say anything more that is meaningful about this historical event.
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chaser16 More than 1 year ago
This book should once and for all eliminate any serious consideration of the Kennedy Assassination as conspiracy. Bugliosi truly leaves no stone unturned in analyzing all aspects of the Kennedy case. His descriptions of events and interpretation of evidence is astounding. In addition to this, his commentary on the various theories of conspiracy, Oliver Stone's JFK and other issues is incredibly enlightening. About the only thing I can say critical of this version of the book is the absence of the entire endnote section and lack of visuals which were included in the print edition. While most people cruise by the footnotes, in this case they provide even more insight into events and interpretations. Of course, it's a long read. But if you really want to know how it went down, this is the book to get.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
In the latest poll, something like 80% of americans still believe that oswald had help- on a related note, 80% of all americans have read 5 or less books since leaving school. Open your mind and read this book, then read case closed by gerald posner. Then read the conspiracy nut books, just for a laugh. Lh oswald did it alone-jfk had enemies, sure-but there were no cubans or mafia or cia helping oswald that day.