Tuesday, 2 July 2013


My essay on the literature of John F. Kennedy's assassination was broadcast on Open Book Sunday, and will be repeated this Thursday, which ironically enough is the 4th of July. But it's already up on IPlayer, and will stay up on the Open Book page of the site. You can link to it here--my piece begins about nine minutes into the show.

It had to be edited from what I originally recorded, and some crucial things are missing. In particular a mention of Anthony Summers' 1980 compendium Conspiracy, which has been re-issued steadily (under different titles) but remains a good one-volume starting point, and more crucially, the non-fiction of the third wave. Ray and Mary LaFontaine's Oswald Talked does an excellent job of demonstrating what Oswald the federal informant might have thought he was doing in Dallas, and thus shows that, as Posner, Mailer and the like unwittingly established, he was a prime candidate to be set up as a patsy.

And James Douglass' 2008 JFK And The Unspeakable is to me the most impressive and convincing argument for a conspiracy, and for that conspiracy being part of an ongoing part of American life. You can link to my review of it via the 'Bullseyes' listing on the right of this page.

I also mentioned the dual dilemma faced by those who believe in the likelihood of a conspiracy--they can disprove the accepted, Warren Report version, but it is difficult to prove any of the alternatives. In fact, if the real assassins were to confess tomorrow, many researchers would dismiss the confessions. More frustrating, if you believe JFK was not killed by a lone, crazed assassin you are deemed to be responsible for any and all crackpot conspiracy theories out there, and not just about the assassination. Whereas those who accept the mainstream solution are never held responsible for governmental or official lies or malfesance, regardless of how many times it can be proven to occur.

I will post my script as originally recorded after the repeat has been broadcast. In the meantime, Open Book's always a good programme to listen to, and it's nice to get in ahead of the coming great wave of assassination literature as the fiftieth anniversary nears.


Unknown said...

Yet to come this November 6th is the Roger Stone book "The Man Who Killed Kennedy" which holds the promise of releasing the most accurate and extensive commentary ever written about the assassination. I preordered mine at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Man-Who-Killed-Kennedy/dp/1626363137/ref=sr_1_1?

Michael Carlson said...

I won't hold my breath waiting for something from the likes of Stone. LBJ theories have been rampant for years, and absent a positive ID of Mac Wallace's print in the depository, none of them make much sense--not to say LBJ's elevation to the presidency might not have been a consideration from some of those involved in the plot--but it was something done at a much lower level.

Debz Hobbs-Wyatt said...

Someone told me about your interview that I just listened to and shared the link on my Twitter page and Facebook page -- fascinating. My d├ębut novel While No One Was Watching will be published by Parthian Books this October. While the premise is a little girl who disappeared from the grassy knoll at the exact moment in time Kennedy was assassinated -- the question is why is she still missing 50 years on? What did she know? It's really a story about love and loss and family and is narrated by a reporter and a psychic but it really does tap into my own (and I hope the public's) sustained fascination in this moment in history. I allowed real people to brush up alongside my fictional characters, using real evidence from that day but this time looking for a little girl. I love the interplay between fact and fiction and in fact used this as my MA in Creative Writing dissertation a couple of years ago.I wasn't born when Kennedy was shot but it's a moment I still know well. I agree that fiction and in particular Oliver Stone's movie does a lot to change what people believe -- especially as we move into a generation that are too young to have a memory of the time. It's easy to believe in the fiction. And it seems with so many books on the subject it's hard to define what is fact and what is fiction. Love this. Thanks for interesting interview. Look out for my novel :) Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

Charline said...