Recent JFK (and related) literature

by Anthony Frewin

From Lobster 31

BROWN, Walt. Referenced Index Guide to the Warren Commission. Wilmington (Delaware): Delmax, 1995. 303 pps.
An essential work of navigation for anyone sailing the seas of the Report and the Hearings and Exhibits. Supplements rather than replaces the search facilities on the Warren Commission CD-ROMs.

COLLOM, Mark, and SAMPLE , Glen. The Men on the Sixth Floor. Garden Grove (California): Sample Graphics, nd[1996]. 206 pps. Illustrated, index.
Loy Factor? Crazy name, crazy guy. He's a Chickasaw Indian who claims to have been on the sixth floor of the TSBD 'helping out' the assassins when JFK was hit. And who was behind the murder? Step forward LBJ. Collom and Sample take Factor at face value and attempt to bolster his claims. Belongs on the shelf next to Henry Hurt's championing of Easterling and the Robert Morrow'confessions'.

DAVY, William. Through the Looking Glass: The Mysterious World of Clay Shaw. Sherman Oaks (California): Citizens for the Truth about the Kennedy Assassination, 1995. xii + 58 pps. Notes, bibliography, index.
A fine bit of research with stacks of new information about Shaw. This guy, as many of us have suspected, was no Joe Sixpack who just happened to wander in 'off the street' and find himself part of history.

DELOACH, Cartha D. Hoover's FBI: The Inside Story by Hoover's Trusted Lieutenant. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 1995. 440 pps. Illustrated, bibliography, index.
Hoover's right-hand man offers up his apologia for Hoover and the Feds. Nonetheless, DeLoach admits some stains and blemishes on J. Edgar and doesn't gloss over them. Chapters on JFK, Jack Ruby, Martin Luther King, Cointelpro, and 'The Gay Director?' (special criticism reserved here for Tony Summers). Worth reading for its insights into Bureau procedure and Bureau-think.

DFW multimedia. The JFK Assassination: The Dallas Papers. Addison (Texas): TRG Systems/DFW Multimedia, nd[1995]. Two CD-ROM set.
Allegedly thousands of pages of documents and photographs from the Dallas PD, the FBI, Waggoner Carr's investigation and other official sources. I could only access about a dozen docs (all unreadable) and a few blurry photos. A message was posted on the Net saying a 3.5 disk would correct certain programming errors to unlock the treasures herein, just ask for one. I did. And that was over a month ago. And so far - nada.

DUFFY, James p. & RICCI, Vincent l. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: A Complete Book of Facts. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992. xix + 538 pps. Illustrated, bibliography.
Large type, generous leading and wide margins bulk out this work to twice its true size (and twice its true value - $14.95 instead of a more realistic $7.00). Potted biographies, summaries of issues and theories, and so on. I really don't know who this is aimed at....

GOLDFARB, Ronald. Perfect Villains, Imperfect Heroes: Robert F. Kennedy's War Against Organised Crime. New York: Random House, 1995. xxii + 35 7pps. Illustrated, notes, bibliography, index.
Goldfarb, a Washington attorney, worked under Bobby in the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Racketeeering Section and has here produced a fine memoir of his period fighting the Mob. Unlike a lot of main streamers, Goldfarb isn't afraid of confronting JFK's assassination and discussing its implications. He seems to favour a Jimmy Hoffa/Mafia origin to the plot, though he is open to other suggestions. Important and not-to-be-missed by organised crime chasers.

GRODEN, Robert J. The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald: A Comprehensive Photographic Record. New York: Penguin Studio, 1995. x + 262 pps. Illustrated, bibliography, index.
Virtually every photo of LHO ever taken, and some! Awesomely comprehensive. The ultimate Oswald iconography. Pity about the text. A companion volume to the author's earlier The Killing of a President.

HOSTY, James P., Jr. (with Thomas Hosty). Assignment: Oswald. New York: Arcade Publishing, 1996. viii + 328 pps. Illustrated, index.
Hosty, the Dallas FBI agent who destroyed a note from Lee Harvey Oswald on the orders of SAG Gordon Shanklin, here tells his story. Few surprises, good on FBI procedure and protocol and the hour-by-hour unfolding of the case; but are we really supposed to believe that Oswald's wallet was found at the Tippit slaying?

LA FONTAINE, Ray and Mary. Oswald Talked: The New Evidence in the JFK Assassination. Gretna (Louisiana): Pelican Publishing, 1996. 454pps. Illustrated, notes, bibliography, index.
The most important book on the case published in the last few years. A mass of new evidence - Oswald as FBI informant, Ruby's gun-running activities, intelligence agencies out of control, and more. Marred only by the La Fontaines' novelistic autobiographical interludes and the belief that the Anti-Castro Cuban groups could go for the Big Hit by themselves unnudged and unaided.

LEAMER, Lawrence. The Kennedy Women: The Triumph and Tragedy of America's First Family. London and New York: Bantam Books, 1995. 1182 pps. Illustrated, notes, bibliography, index.
More than you would ever want to know about all the Kennedy women. A monumental research job that limps along with all the excitement of an article in Reader's Digest.

LIVINGSTONE, Harrison Edward. Killing Kennedy and the Hoax of the Century. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1995. xix + 458 pps. Illustrated, notes, bibliography, index.
Confused about the medical evidence? Read this and you'll wish you've never heard of the medical evidence. Livingstone lost me years ago. His books should have a government health warning on the cover. Chapter 5, 'The Hoax of the Century: Faking the Zapruder Film' almost had me wondering whether the Zapruder film actually exists.

MOLDEA, Dan. The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigation of Motive, Means and Opportunity. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1995. 342 pps. Illustrated, index.
After all these years Moldea now says Sirhan Sirhan acted alone and there was no conspiracy, and those bullet holes in the doorway weren't bullet holes after all. I wish I could believe him.

PEPPER, William F. Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1995. xxxi + 537 pps. Illustrated, notes, index.
A highly detailed and well written inquiry by an attorney who worked closely with King prior to his death. Probably the best book to date on the murder and one that unravels many of the complexities and questions that surround the events in Memphis on 4 April 1968.

POUNDSTONE, William. Biggest Secrets: More Uncensored Truth About All Sorts of Stuff You Are Never Supposed to Know. New York: Quill/William Morrow, 1993. 272 pps. Index.
This is the third volume in Poundstone's explorations of trade and craft secrets, urban folklore and the like, and it's just as enjoyable as the others. Here he discusses the real age of certain celebrities, the ingredients of Play-Doh and Spam, Ingamar Bergman's soap commercials and, on pps 260-2,'JFK's Macabre Home Movie'. Poundstone believes that JFK did make a home movie, in September 1963, in which he enacted his assassination, but it was just a comedy and has now been suppressed.

(There's also a chapter on'Blue Movies of the Famous'. The results? Joan Davis didn't; Barbra Streisand probably did; and Sylvester Stallone certainly did, in A Party at Kitty and Stud's. Poundstone even tells you where you can get the video.)

SCOTT, Peter Dale. Deep Politics II: Essays on Oswald, Mexico and Cuba: The New Revelations in US Government Files, 1994-95. Skokie (Illinois): Green Archive Publications, 1995.[4pps] + 162 pps. Notes, index.
Thirteen new essays by one of the keenest minds ever to grace the critical community. Ignore this collection at your peril.

Note: unlike Deep Politics 1 this is not published by the University of California Press. Despite being that press's best seller, Scott has been dropped by them. Political pressure? You bet.

SIMON, Art. Dangerous Knowledge: The JFK Assassination in Art and Film. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996. xii +265 pps. Illustrated, notes, index.
Essays on the Zapruder film, Andy Warhol's silkscreens, the assassination in pop art, performance videos, mainstream Hollywood films, and related matters. Simon is informed and sympathetic to the critical community and has produced a volume largely free of that interminable critical 'exegesis' beloved of hacks from academia. A worthy addition to the JFK literature (and the handsomest example of book typography I've seen in several years).

SPROESSER, Louis. Lifetime of Lies - America Since the Death of John Kennedy [Volume 2]: The Garrison Investigation: A Chronology - November 1966 to March 1968. Enfield (Connecticut): The author, 1995. [6pps] +151pps + [8pps]. Illustrated, bibliography.
A big, detailed, almost day-by-day account of Garrison's investigation together with national reactions and events relating to it. An essential reference work for anyone seriously wishing to track the DA from New Orleans' case. Fully sourced. This doesn't cover the Clay Shaw trial - that is dealt with in Volume 4, Justice Denied.

Historians generally seem to shy away from the chronology these days, it's too much hard work (you know, digging out all those facts) and there's no call for interpretation or spin which is how you're going to make your name. Sproesser is a tireless toiler and demonstrates the value of chronology in spades.

I haven't seen Sproesser's other volumes (1963, including minute-by-minute logs of 22, 23 and 24 November, the Warren Commission, MLK and RFK, Watergate, etc), but if they are anything like this they are must-haves.

For further details write Louis Sproesser at 1415 Woodgate Circle, Enfield, CT 06082, USA.

TURNER, Patricia A. I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumour in African-American Culture. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994. xvi + 260 pps. Notes, bibliography, index.
Lobster readers might find of particular interest Chapters 3 and 4 dealing with 'conspiracy theories' in African-American neighbourhoods.

Turner, an Associate Professor of African-American and African Studies, knows how to give fertile material the old sociological 'wash-and-rinse', so you'll have to persevere through prose that reads at times like it was software-generated. Nonetheless, there are rewards here. Turner discusses the deaths of JFK, RFK and MLK and other conspiracy rumours such as the belief that Tropical Fantasy, a popular soft-drink promoted in the 'hoods, was manufactured by the Ku Klux Klan and contained a secret ingredient that sterilized black male drinkers.

Her discussion of black perceptions of JFK's assassination should be read by every white person in the critical community. We've almost forgotten about the Civil Rights struggle and the passions that aroused way back then - passions, indeed, that were murderous.


The above titles they can be obtained mail-order from Andy Winiarczyk at the Last Hurrah Bookshop, 937 Memorial Avenue, Williamsport, Pa 17701, USA (telephone: 717.327.9338). And if you contact him, ask too for his latest catalogue, No. 21 - 76 pps full of assassination and political conspiracy titles, new and secondhand.


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