It is the most famous home movie of all time, the most closely analyzed 26 seconds of film ever shot, the most disturbing visual record of what many have called "the crime of the century."
In 486 frames—a mere six feet of celluloid—Abraham Zapruder's iconic film captures from beginning to end the murder of President John F. Kennedy in broad daylight. An essential piece of evidence, the film has become nearly synonymous with the assassination itself and has generated decades of debate among conspiracy theorists and defenders of the Warren Commission's official report. Until now, however, no scholar has produced a comprehensive book-length study of the film and its relation to the tragic events of November 22, 1963.
David Wrone, one of our nation's foremost authorities on the assassination, re-examines Zapruder's film with a fresh eye and a deep knowledge of the forensic evidence. He traces the film's history from its creation on the "grassy knoll" by Dallas dressmaker Zapruder through its initial sale to Life magazine and early reproductions and its analysis by the Warren Commission and countless assassination researchers, licensing by the Zapruder family, legal battles over bootleg copies, and sale to the federal government for sixteen million dollars.
Wrone's major contribution, however, is to demonstrate how a close examination of the film itself necessarily refutes the Warren Commission's lone-gunman and single-bullet theories. The film, as he reminds us, provides a scientifically precise timeline of events, as well as crucial clues regarding the timing, number, origins, and impact of the shots fired that day. Analyzing the film frame-by-frame in relation to other evidence—including two key photos by Phil Willis and Ike Altgens—he builds a convincing case against the official findings.
Without fanfare, he concludes that more than three gunshots were fired from more than one direction and that most likely none were fired by alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. If true, then JFK's death was the result of a conspiracy, for the Commission's nonconspiracy conclusion requires a maximum of three shots and one gunman.
Wrone, however, does not speculate as to who actually shot JFK or why—or even if Oswald was a part of the conspiracy. In fact, he is no fan of conspiracy-think and is just as critical of the legion of conspiracy theorists as he is of the Warren Commission (which, he reveals, crushed dissent within its own ranks).
Doggedly pursuing the evidence wherever it leads, Wrone has produced a meticulous, clear-eyed, and provocative new reading of this remarkable cinematic Rosetta Stone.
|Publisher:||University Press of Kansas|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.24(w) x 9.76(h) x 1.33(d)|
About the Author
David R. Wrone is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Table of Contents
Part I. The Film
1. Abraham Zapruder Films the Assassination
2. Development and Sale of the Film
3. The Film
Part II. The Film and Private Ownership of American History
4. Ownership, Copyright, and the Zapruder Film, 1963-1975
5. Control and Profits, 1975-1997
Part III. The Film and the Struggle for Access
6. Profits First: Time Inc. Sues Bernard Geis Associates for Theft and Misuse of Its Zapruder Frams
7. A Student, a Scholar, and the Zapruder Film: Gerard A. Selby Jr. and Harold Weisberg versus Henry G. Zapruder et al.
Part IV. Theorists and the Zapruder Film
8. Prisoners of Preconception: Conspiracy Theorists, Warren Commission Defenders, and the Zapruder Film
9. Altered Evidence, Altered States: An Introduction to Those Who Claim the Film Was Altered
Part V. The Film and the Evidentiary Base
10. Official Federal Policy: Do Not Investigate
11. The Man in the Doorway
12. The Head Shot and Zapruder Frams 337 and 338
13. Photographic Proof of Conspiracy: Zapruder Frame 202
14. A Command Appearance: Jim Garrison, Zapruder, and Zapruder's Film
Part VI. The Film and the Single-Bullet Theory
15. Official Allegation: A Single Bullet Explains All Seven Nonfatal Wounds
16. Official Evidence: The Seven Nonfatal Wounds
Part Vii. The Struggle to Free the Film
17. Federal Purchase: The Government and the Zapruder Film, 1963-2000
Epilogue: The Zapruder Film and American History
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
extremely well researched book which states facts and refuses to get caught up in unprovable theories of CIA conspiracies, etc. Well-written and a joy to read. far superior to just about anything and conclusively proves that not only was jfk not shot from the book depository but that the zapruder film hasn't been altered
This is a book that shouldn't have to have been written. But due to the nonsensical, unethical works of self-proclaimed 'researchers' such as Fetzer, Lifton, White, Mantik, Marler, Schaeffer, Twyman - and many others - this book finally places the state of JFK assassination research back on track ... back before the 'Zapruder film alterationists' began diverting the search for the truth behind the assassination from reality to their delusions. Those who claim the Zapruder film was 'sinisterly altered' never completely address the chain of possession of the film and the three copies made in Dallas on November 22, 1963. No opportunity existed - the chain of custody is solidly documented - for anyone to alter the film as the alterationists describe. Furthermore, there isn't one single photograph nor other film footage taken that day (and there are hundreds of exposures taken in and around Dealey Plaza that afternoon) that the 'alterationists' can point to that disagrees with what is seen in the Zapruder camera original film. And contrary to the belief of the alterationists, federal officials in Dallas - as well as the FBI - initially showed little interest in the Zapruder film. Secret Service Agent Sorrels (who accompanied Zapruder to the Kodak developing plant) actualy left the Kodak plant before the processing was completed. Zapruder had to hunt Sorrels down later that evening to offer a copy of the film to him...and, after Sorrels was located at the Dallas PD station - Sorrels refused to take charge of the film, asking citizen Zapruder to deliver the film to Max Phillips at the Secret Service office on Ervay Street. The FBI was even less interested in the film. They had actually dismissed the film as having no evidentiary value. It was the media's growing interest in the film that alerted the FBI - and the Dallas office of the FBI borrowed a copy from the Secret Service. The CIA? There is no document, no legitimate witness, direct nor indirect credible source that can place the Zapruder film in the hands of the CIA on November 22 or the following two days. 'With such uncritical support for their untenable claims,' writes Wrone, ''alterationists' like Lifton and others have made a proper study of the assassination and its investigation much more difficult to pursue than it need be. In the process, they have helped discredit other much more reliable researchers who agree that there was indeed a conspiracy, but have been much more responsible in documenting their claims. 'To politicians and bureaucrats, to federal investigative officials and mainstream intellectuals, to press owners and television commentators who fiercely maintain the official findings of no conspiracy, the alterationists have been a godsend.' Clint Bradford
JFK's assassins undoubtedly thought that they had everything planned, down to the most miniscule detail. They could never have anticipated the likes of Mr. Abraham Zapruder, who almost didn't film the motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963. With the killing bullets whistling past him from behind, Mr. Zapruder, continued to stand upright, when all others around him dropped to the ground, and he continued to film the Kennedy car until it drove out of sight. With each bullet fired, Zapruder jerked slightly while filming, producing the evidence that JFK was not shot from the Texas Book Depository Building. The subsequent story of the journey of the actual reel of film, the developing, the copying, the handling, the printing, is professionally and meticulously written and sourced, by Mr. Wrone. Nothing could have been altered by anyone. While the author makes no reference to any probable suspects, it is not difficult to finger the assassins. Knowing the unvarnished history of the early 1960's and the years following the assassination(s), the conclusion is bitterly obvious.
The NPIC, a photogragh agency of the CIA did have possession of the Z film. The film was in the possession of the Agency days after the event in Dallas. Homer McMahon an employee former employee of the NPIC has testified to the ARRB about this fact. Mr. McMahon was ordered to make 40 enlarged prints of impacts on occupants in the limosine. During this process he had to watch the film at least 15 times that day. The prints he enlarged were very easy to identity; McMahon counted the flinches of JFK specifically and reported he must have been shot 6 to 8 times. I know that sounds ridiculous compared to the film we have seen. This is coming from an employee who saw the film 3 days after the event in Dallas. He also had no direct roll in changing or altering the film. His chief job at the NPIC consisted entirely but, not exclusively, of enlarging spy plane photos. He was ordered to enlarge the impact scenes and that was it. He was not interviewed until late 1996 by the ARRB. This proves conspiracy if the evidence is tampered with. The people have viewed a completely different film. Forget counting shooters in Dealey Plaza that's 1st grade material. Stick to what you can prove; the evidence is untrustworthy. We need to look at the real film, exhume the body, or look at the brain which vanished from the archives.