John Fitzgerald Kennedy (107)

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In the second installment of this book review/essay, Jeff Carter focuses on questions of authenticity, alteration, and the NPIC analyses which occurred over the week-end of the assassination but which the CIA later tried to deflect and all but make disappear from the record.
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The first in a two-part installment in which Jeff Carter reviews a book that "reveals some new – albeit not earth-shattering – information", but is also "imbued with a certain partisanship, not limited to family interests, which dulls the author’s critical thinking in some key areas."
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If Shaw had restrained himself, or if he had had an editor to point out the problems with his design, then this would have been a good and valuable book about Dorothy Kilgallen:  who she really was, what we know and do not know about her death. But such was not the case.  I would actually recommend Sara Jordan’s informative and objective essay instead, concludes Jim DiEugenio.
Thursday, 24 November 2016 20:20

Bruce Riedel, JFK’s Forgotten Crisis

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  After reading [this book], I was able to understand what this was all about—at least in a fundamental way. Also, my respect for President John F. Kennedy, which was already estimable, increased a bit more, writes Jim DiEugenio.    
Saturday, 08 October 2016 23:24

Joan Mellen, Faustian Bargains

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  A book rich in information which debunks the claims that Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace planned the JFK assassination, and includes an expert review of the fingerprint evidence demonstrating they do not match Wallace's.    
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Presentation by Jim DiEugenio of an excerpt from Greg Poulgrain's book on the Indonesia coup.
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Jim DiEugenio calls this book "a provocative revisionist history of why the epochal coup in Indonesia happened as it did in 1965 ... [and which] has enlightened us on the crucial figures of Allen Dulles, Sukarno, Dag Hammarskjold and John Kennedy, how they played with and against each other and how this nexus led to a horrible tragedy."  
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If the reader is interested in knowledge about the inner workings of the radical right back in the fifties or sixties, then this is a useful book. But as far as relating that group to the murder of JFK, it is simply a dud. And a pretentious, bombastic, overlong and tedious dud at that. In this reviewer’s opinion, it is the worst book on the JFK case since Ultimate Sacrifice, concludes Jim DiEugenio.  
Saturday, 09 January 2016 14:10

John Newman, Where Angels Tread Lightly, Volume 1

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What the author is doing has three layers.  First, he is giving us a history of the Castro revolution.  At the same time he is showing how the USA reacted to that epochal turnover, stage by stage in its evolution. Third, he is tracing certain people and movements who will return to the stage in 1963, after Kennedy changes policy, and begins a détente attempt with Cuba.  Other authors have tried this before, but never on this scale or with this intricacy, writes Jim DiEugenio.
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 22:19

David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard

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A major achievement, its stark excavation of the evil [Allen Dulles] represented surpassing Kai Bird's biography of John McCloy, writes Jim DiEugenio.
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An excerpt from the second volume of Greg Parker's study of the historical context for Lee Harvey Oswald's intelligence-related activities.        
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 20:39

John T. Shaw, JFK in the Senate

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In light of the recent developments in our understanding of JFK's foreign policy vision, Jim DiEugenio writes: "In sum, this is not a bad book. And I think some of its faults can be explained by Shaw’s association with the Wall Street Journal and the Hoover Institute.  But in my opinion it could have been much better".
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Flip de Mey’s well written and entertaining book makes valuable contributions. But in the end it must be said it is far from completely satisfactory. However, there is great material in the book and students are encouraged to read it, and then decide for themselves, writes Gary Aguilar.    
Thursday, 25 June 2015 20:45

Ed Souza, Undeniable Truths

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About the first fifty pages of Undeniable Truths is pretty much undeniable. The next fifty pages are a decided mixture of truth and question marks. Most of the last 200 pages do not at all merit the title. In fact, that part is, in large measure, nothing more than conjecture. And much of that conjecture is ill-founded, concludes Jim DiEugenio.
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Martin Hay reviews an article published by Haag in AFTE, about which he concludes: "It is little wonder ... that Lucien Haag limited his defense of the 'Magic' Bullet Theory to a (misleading) discussion of Governor Connally's wounds. After all, no matter how impressive his credentials and extensive his experience, there are some problems that no man can make disappear."
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What could have been an important and sterling volume is seriously compromised with a lot of litter. Instead of being up there with Rakove and Muehlenbeck, it stands a couple of steps downward, with Thurston Clarke’s mixed bag of nuts, concludes Jim DiEugenio.    
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This book is really an entry level book for the novice, an overview of the assassination that tries to touch all of its aspects. ... Its major themes, like the shooting sequence and the identification of the conspirators are not well constructed and some of his conclusions are not supported by the latest findings. And his criticism of Jim Garrison was unfortunate and unjustifiable. After finishing the book you are left with the impression that it was probably written in the 90s and not in 2013, writes Vasilios Vazakas.
Friday, 22 August 2014 16:46

Michael Swanson, The War State

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A valuable Big Picture book, one with many new sources for study, which bring in much fascinating information. The light [Swanson] sheds on men like Nitze and Acheson show just what hollow clowns the so-called Wise Men of the media really were. [The book] also demonstrates just how powerful and dangerous the Military Industrial Complex has become. By showing Kennedy's opposition to it, he may have also shown why Kennedy was killed, concludes Jim DiEugenio.
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