Saturday, 22 March 2008 22:27

Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked

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Although there are some interesting and worthwhile aspects to this book, overall I found it really disappointing. It is ... unconvincing in its overall thesis, and uses questionable sources and witnesses to advance parts of its presentation, while leaving out more credible evidence that works against that particular presentation. It pains me to write like this, since I like Mr. Hancock and think he and his organization have done some good work, writes Jim DiEugenio.


I have spoken to Larry Hancock on several occasions. I like him and some of the Lancer Group people he is associated with, like Debra Conway. But Hancock's book Someone Would Have Talked is a decidedly mixed bag.

From the title, it tries to circumvent the notion that Warren Commission defenders always trot out. Namely: If there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, why has no one talked about such an enterprise before or since? The book enumerates several people who did do just that. But its real aim is to outline the actual conspiracy as he sees it. And he tries to tilt that conspiracy in a certain way. It's the way he tilts it that I have some major problems with.

The first chapter focuses on John Martino. Martino was involved with a Mafia-owned hotel in Cuba prior to Castro's revolution. He was then arrested and jailed by the revolutionaries. Once he was released in 1962 he began to speak out against Castro, joined up with some para-military types like Felipe Vidal Santiago and Gerry Hemming, and was also a speaker on the John Birch Society circuit. He died in 1975. But before he passed away he spoke about what he had heard of the plot to kill Kennedy to a couple of friends and to his wife. One of the friends, Fred Claasen, went to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. According to Hancock, the HSCA did only a perfunctory investigation of the claims. Later on, in Vanity Fair, (December of 1994) Anthony Summers fleshed out the story more fully. Hancock, on page 16, puts the Martino findings in synoptic form:

  1. Cuban exiles manipulated Oswald in advance of the plot and two of them were snipers in Dealey Plaza.
  2. Oswald was a U. S. government undercover operative who was approached by anti-Castro exiles representing themselves as pro-Castro.
  3. Oswald was supposed to meet an exile contact at the Texas Theater. Oswald thought he would help him escape the country, but the actual plan was to shoot him. Tippit's killing aborted this. Therefore the planners had to have Ruby murder Oswald.
  4. The motorcade route was known in advance, and the attack was planned thoroughly in advance.

It is interesting to note here that shortly after this, in Chapters 3 and 4, Hancock begins to summarize the story of Richard Case Nagell, another person who had knowledge of the assassination. I think to any knowledgeable and objective observer comparing the two stories, Nagell's is more compelling. For by 1975, when the Martino story first surfaced, all of the enumerated points above were realized as distinct possibilities or contingencies by most serious researchers. The one exception being the anti-Castro exiles presenting themselves to Oswald as pro-Castro. But this would be the most speculative part also, since the only people who could actually verify it would be Oswald and the Cubans who approached him. And since I have noted elsewhere, most of the Cubans in this milieu are notoriously unreliable, that would leave Oswald.

I said that by 1975 Martino's information was pretty well known to serious investigators. But really, as Hancock relates it, it was known earlier than that. For by the end of 1968, all of the points -- except as noted -- were working axioms of the New Orleans investigation by DA Jim Garrison. To use just one investigator's testimony, researcher Gary Schoener has said that Garrison was "obsessed" with the Cuban exile group Alpha 66. At one time, he thought they were the main sponsoring group manipulating Oswald, and that they had pulled off the actual assassination.

One avenue by which Garrison was led to believe this was through Nagell. And one thing I liked about the book was that it summarized a lot of Nagell's testimony in more complete, concise and digestible terms than previously presented (see pgs. 39-58). In the first edition of Dick Russell's book, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Nagell's story wandered and got lost in a 900-page mountain consisting of much extraneous and tangential elements. Although Hancock leaves out some rather important details -- which I will mention later -- he does a nice job in distilling and relating its basic outlines. Between the two, because of who he was, his first person testimony, and some evidence he had, I believe Nagell's story easily has more evidentiary value.

Consider: Nagell actually tried to inform the authorities in advance. When they did not respond, he got himself arrested. He was then railroaded -- along with Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden -- because of his attempt to talk. He then wrote letters describing his knowledge to friends while incarcerated (see Probe Vol. 3 No. 1). He then revealed to Garrison assistant William Martin his specific knowledge of two of the Cuban exiles who were manipulating Oswald. One he named as Sergio Arcacha Smith. The other who he only hinted at had a last name beginning with "Q". This could be Carlos Quiroga, or Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero. Since Smith and Quiroga were known associates in New Orleans, I lean toward Quiroga. Nagell actually revealed that he had recorded their incriminating talks with Oswald on tape. Since he -- as well as Garrison -- did not know that Martin was a double agent, it is not surprising that the FBI later broke into his belongings and absconded with the tape, among other things. (Strangely, or as we shall see later, perhaps not, Hancock leaves this intriguing episode out of his book.)

Now since Garrison was the first law enforcement authority Nagell confided in directly, and the first person to take him seriously, the DA was clearly interested in the Cuban exile aspect. Especially since Nagell's information was being reinforced to him from multiple angles. For instance, David Ferrie's close friend Raymond Broshears was also quite specific with Garrison as to the importance of Sergio Arcacha Smith. And when Garrison tried to get Smith extradited from Texas, the local authorities, under the influence of Bill Alexander and Hugh Aynesworth, refused to cooperate. (It is puzzling to me that Hancock, who is so interested in the Cuban groups, seems to try to minimize the importance of Smith.)

One thing Hancock makes clear is how Nagell originally got involved in the JFK case. Like many foreign intelligence operatives, one of Nagell's ports of call was Mexico City. As certified by his friend Arthur Greenstein and an FBI memorandum, Nagell was there in the fall of 1962. And at this time, he began acting as a triple agent: "He represented himself to a Soviet contact as a pro-Soviet double agent, while secretly retaining his loyalty to the United States." (p. 54) It was in this pose that he became known to the KGB. When they approached Nagell they asked him to monitor a Soviet defector and his wife. The second mission they had was to infiltrate a group of Cuban exiles. The Russians had discovered a group of them in Mexico City making threats against President Kennedy for his actions at the Bay of Pigs. The Russians had garnered that part of the scheme was to blame the plot on the Cubans and Russians. This is something that, in the wake of the Missile Crisis, the Russians were desperate to avoid. From here, Hancock summarizes the stories of both Vaughn Snipes and Garret Trapnell, people Nagell suspected as being considered as pro-Castro patsies by the Cuban group (pgs 56-58). And it was this trail that eventually led Nagell to New Orleans and Oswald.

II

It is probably a back-handed complement to Hancock to praise him for his neat and precise synopsis on the man who Garrison called the most important witness in the JFK case. For, as noted above, he seems much more preoccupied with Martino. And with that preoccupation, the middle section of the book uses Martino's more general information to explore what Hancock calls "persons of interest". But right before this the author makes a most curious statement. He writes, "Knowing that Martino was part of a conspiracy and was in communication with individuals in Texas on November 22... " (p. 61) Having read the book closely and written over 14 pages of notes on it, I fail to see how Hancock justifies this statement. As summarized above, the information Martino had could have been communicated to him through several of his Cuban exile friends. None of it connotes Martino being part of the plot. And Hancock advances no affirmative evidence to prove that point. (I should also add that the last part of the quoted phrase is ambiguous. It could mean that, after the fact, he was in contact with people who say they were in Dallas that day.)

It is statements like this that I think seriously mar the book. It is nothing if not an ambitious book. For instance, right after the above statement concerning Martino, Hancock tries to pinpoint the exact moment in time where Oswald began being manipulated by Cuban agents. He says it is while he was in New Orleans on 8/28/63. He marks this by a letter Oswald wrote to the FPCC about a planned move. He then adds that Dallas was not actually in the assassination plan at this time. He says that at the end of August, the hit was planned for Washington in September. This is based on nothing more than a letter Oswald wrote on September 1st mentioning a possible move to Baltimore which, of course, never occurred.

Now -- and this is important -- there are all kinds of things Oswald did in New Orleans that, retrospectively, could be seen as part of his frame-up. Too many to be listed here. And there are others, besides the Cuban exiles, who were involved with his manipulation e.g. Ed Butler, Guy Banister, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw in New Orleans. (Not to mention George DeMohrenschildt and the Paines in Dallas.) For instance, there is the absolutely remarkable journey Shaw, Ferrie, and Oswald took to the towns of Clinton and Jackson which occurred about a week before this letter was written. Also, the House Select Committee on Assassinations discovered that Banister either was thinking of, or actually did send, a dead rat to the White House that summer. These things seem to me to be at least as interesting as this letter for marking purposes. But again, the author does not note them. I mention them here just to indicate how difficult it is to make an extraordinary claim like he does, actually trying to pinpoint when Oswald began being manipulated. I really don't think this is possible. But, as we shall see, it is par for the course in this book.

From here Hancock begins to explore those "persons of interest" he mentioned earlier. Some of the people he chooses are interesting, some of them are not. A prime example of the latter is Victor Hernandez who he spends two meandering pages on (pgs 64-65). Some others, like Robert McKeown, seem to me to be more relevant. There is also a section entitled "Oswald in the School Book Depository" (p. 69). And in this section and the pages that follow, Hancock deals with the evidence that exculpates Oswald. He does a good job with the gunshot residue testing. He writes that there was nothing to connect either Oswald's cheek to the rifle or his hands to the pistol. And that upon hearing word of this, the FBI ordered agents not to make those facts available to anyone in order to "protect the Bureau." (p. 73) Further in this regard, he uses the work of Harold Weisberg to show that on seven occasions the FBI had fired the rifle with the result being the depositing of heavy powder on the subject's cheeks. (Ibid)

Hancock caps this section nicely. After proffering up all this probative evidence, he then quotes Cortland Cunningham's testimony to the Warren Commission. This testimony states in part, "No sir; I personally wouldn't expect to find any residues on a person's cheek after firing a rifle ... so by its very nature, I would not expect to find residue on the right cheek of a shooter." (Ibid)

Another interesting part of the book is how it deals with the experiences of the late Dallas detective Buddy Walthers. This is based on a rare manuscript about the man by author Eric Tagg. Walthers was part of at least three major evidentiary finds in Dallas. Through his wife, he discovered the meetings at the house on Harlendale Avenue by Alpha 66 in the fall of 1963. Second, he was with FBI agent Robert Barrett when he picked up what appears to be a bullet slug in the grass at Dealey Plaza. And third, something I was unaware of until the work of John Armstrong and is also in this book, Walthers was at the house of Ruth and Michael Paine when the Dallas Police searched it on Friday afternoon. Walthers told Tagg that they "found six or seven metal filing cabinets full of letters, maps, records and index cards with names of pro-Castro sympathizers." (Hancock places this statement in his footnotes on p. 552.) This is absolutely startling of course since, combined with the work of Carol Hewett, Steve Jones, and Barbara La Monica, it essentially cinches the case that the Paines were domestic surveillance agents in the Cold War against communism. (Hancock notes how the Warren Commission and Wesley Liebeler forced Walthers to backtrack on this point and then made it disappear in the "Speculation and Rumors" part of the report.)

III

Since Hancock is dealing in the Cuban exile milieu, he spends a lot of time on the infamous characters of Dave Morales and John Roselli. And this is where I need to mention a couple of volumes the author uses, books which I find unreliable.

One of them is Ultimate Sacrifice, which I have reviewed at length previously. I won't go through the myriad problems I have with that book. But as a result of that, I was surprised that Hancock seemed to actually take it seriously. Even its most questionable thesis, about a so-called second invasion of Cuba assembled by the Pentagon and CIA (see p. 200). Unfortunately, Hancock leaves out the fact that Director of Plans Richard Helms didn't seem to know about that invasion. And neither did Pentagon Chief Bob McNamara or National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy.

The other book relied upon here is All American Mafioso: The Johnny Roselli Story. This is by Charles Rappleye and Ed Becker. This book, like Ultimate Sacrifice, makes extravagant claims about Roselli that I find rather strained and poorly sourced, e.g. his alleged involvement in the death of Castillo-Armas in Guatemala. One of the sources for the Roselli book is Jimmy Fratianno, a noted Mafia informant. If one walks around Los Angeles (where I live) often enough, one will eventually meet someone who knew a friend of Fratianno's. And that person will tell you a tale Fratianno had not revealed in public before about Roselli's involvement in President Kennedy's assassination. I know this for a fact since it just happened to me about eight months ago. Unlike Rappleye and Becker I will not be writing about it. As Michael Beschloss has stated, there is no library with the declassified papers of Sam Giancana. Or in this case, John Roselli. So, in large part, one must rely on the word of people like Jimmy "the Weasel" Fratianno. And if you wish to aggrandize and sensationalize Roselli, then you will use a character like him. I would place the Becker/Rappleye effort somewhere on a par with John Davis' tome on Carlos Marcello. So it was not surprising to me that the authors of the gaseous Ultimate Sacrifice were eager to use both of these works. It did surprise me that Hancock used the Roselli book as much as he did. In fact, about half his chapter on Roselli is sourced to it. He even mentions an alleged meeting between Roselli and Ruby in the fall of 1963. Yet he then adds that this is based on FBI reports that no one can produce.

I had a similar problem with the following chapter on David Phillips. And it started right on the first page (159). Hancock writes, "Phillips was without a doubt a CIA general." If we consider that word in its normal sense, with normal examples e.g. Eisenhower, Schwarzkopf etc. then I don't understand it. At the time frame of the JFK assassination, Phillips was an operations officer. A man in the field supervising things getting done and done right. Not a guy behind the lines planning and approving the overall campaign. In his fine book A Death in Washington Don Freed quotes CIA Director Bill Colby (p. 81) as calling Phillips a great operations officer. So if we go by Colby's rather authoritative account, Phillips was really a Lt. Colonel at the time -- parallel to someone like Oliver North in the Iran/Contra scandal. Hancock then goes further. He applies this same spurious hierarchical title -- "general" -- to Dave Morales. Yet Morales was Chief of Staff to Ted Shackley at JM/WAVE during this period. I would not even apply the word "general" to Shackley at the time, let alone Morales. Or if I did, it would at most be Brigadier General, not a starred one. It was their superiors at Langley, e.g. James Angleton, who were the generals. People like Phillips and Morales were implementers. (Hancock devotes an entire chapter to Morales. Which is part and parcel of the hubbub that has attended the research community since Gaeton Fonzi introduced him in The Last Investigation. As I noted in my review of the documentary RFK Must Die this has reached the point of actually -- and unsuccessfully -- implicating him in the murder of Robert Kennedy.)

Hancock uses Philips' own autobiography The Night Watch for much of the background material on the man. He then uses one of his timelines to take us up to the famous Bishop/Phillips masquerade episode with Antonio Veciana. But surprisingly, he leaves out some of the most intriguing points about Phillips in Mexico City. Especially his work on the fraudulent tapes sent to Washington to implicate Oswald in the JFK case. For instance, Hancock does not even mention the role of Anne Goodpasture, Phillips' assistant in Mexico City. There is some extraordinary material on her in the HSCA's Lopez Report. Neither does he mention the utterly fascinating evidence that John Armstrong advances in his book Harvey and Lee. Namely that Phillips sent the dubiously transcribed Mexico City tapes of Oswald by pouch to himself at Langley under an assumed name. Why would he do such a thing? Well, maybe so that no officers but he and Goodpasture would have the tapes from their origin in Mexico City to their arrival at CIA HQ. This mini-conspiracy was blown in two ways. First, when FBI officials heard the tapes as part of their Kennedy murder investigation and concurred that they were not of Oswald. Second, when HSCA first counsel Richard Sprague showed the official transcripts of the tapes to the original Mexico City transcriber. The transcriber replied that what was on those transcripts was not what he recalled translating. It seems odd to me that these very important points would be left out of any contemporary discussion of Phillips. Even more so since Hancock goes into the Mexico City episode less than a hundred pages later (pgs 275-282)

IV

The above leads to a structural criticism of this book, namely its uneven organization. There is almost as much jumping around here as in Joan Mellen's A Farewell to Justice. But unlike with that book, the fault is not in the editing down of a longer work. It seems here to be part of the ambitious, gestalt-like approach. Hancock the theorist is handling many different threads, and assigning them equal weight. It's a wide grasp, and Hancock the writer isn't up to the task. The job of Hancock the writer was to at least try and mold all these separate strands into a clean, clear narrative frame that would keep the reader's attention and drive him forward to a convincing conclusion. To put it mildly, the book did not succeed on that level. It's a difficult read. It does not really have a chronological organization, or even a thematic one. Which is why Hancock probably uses all those cumbersome and unhelpful timelines. The thematic approach he attempts is also weak. The chapter titles are supposed to suggest a general framework of what to find. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not. For instance, he introduces the aforementioned Robert McKeown in Chapter 2. But then his story is not filled in until almost 200 pages later (pgs 189-191) Same with Jack Ruby. Details about him are filled in throughout the book. But they seem to me to be incomplete in themselves, and not completing an intellectual or narrative arc. This organizational problem is multiplied by other technical errors in the book's production. For example the proper rubric to give the introduction to a book is "Foreword," not "Forward". In the index, even though he is mentioned prominently, you will not find the name of Robert McKeown. Conversely, my name is mentioned in the index, but it does not appear on the pages listed.

The above production flaws accentuate the tilt in the book that I noted earlier. Although it's a bit difficult to discern, the conspiracy I see Hancock postulating here is a kind of rogue, loosely knit, willy-nilly operation. A set of Cubans is at the bottom committing the crime (he points toward Felipe Vidal Santiago). The supervisor of this plot is Roselli, who Hancock terms the "strategist". Since Roselli has connections to the CIA, the implication is this is where Phillips and Morales come in. To top the machinations as depicted by Hancock -- and in a rather original stroke -- he brings in Roselli's friend and super Washington lobbyist Fred Black. He says Black is the guy who saw President Johnson right after he took office and had some blackmail material on him and this is why LBJ went along with the cover-up.

Where does this information appear to come from? Newly declassified ARRB files perhaps? Nope. It's from another rather questionable book that the author uses. This is Wheeling and Dealing, by the infamous Bobby Baker. Now again, to go into all the problems with using a book like this and with someone like Baker would take a separate essay in itself. Suffice it to say, Baker had such a low reputation and was involved with so many unsavory characters and activities that RFK pressed then Vice-President Johnson to get rid of him before the 1964 election. The Attorney General was worried some of these activities would explode into the press and endanger the campaign. Liking the protection his position with Johnson gave him, Baker resisted. He then fought back. One of the ways he fought back was by planting rumors about President Kennedy and a woman named Ellen Rometsch. The resultant hubbub, with daggers and accusations flying about, is the kind of thing that authors like Seymour Hersh and Burton Hersh make hay of in their trashy books. (I didn't think it was possible, but Burton Hersh's book Bobby and J. Edgar is even more awful than The Dark Side of Camelot. It is such an atrocity, I couldn't even finish it.) Suffice it to say, Baker was forced out in October of 1963. Researcher Peter Vea has seen the original FBI reports commissioned by Hoover about Rometsch and he says there is nothing of substance in them about her and JFK. I am a bit surprised that Hancock would try and pin the JFK cover-up on information furnished by the likes of Baker and Black.

This is all the more surprising since the author includes material from John Newman's latest discoveries about Oswald, James Angleton, the CIA and Mexico City. To me this new ARRB released evidence provides a much more demonstrable and credible thesis as to just how and why Johnson decided to actively involve himself in the cover-up.

To make his Black/Baker theorem tenable on the page, Hancock leaves out or severely curtails some rather important and compelling evidence. In 1996, Probe published a milestone article by Professor Donald Gibson entitled "The Creation of the Warren Commission" (Vol. 3 No. 4 p. 8). It was, and still is, the definitive account of how the Warren Commission came into being. And it was used and sourced by Gerald McKnight in the best study of the Warren Commission we have to date, Breach of Trust, published in 2005. According to this evidence declassified by the ARRB, there were three men involved in pushing the concept of the Warren Commission onto the Johnson White House. They were Eugene Rostow, Dean Acheson, and Joseph Alsop. (There is a fourth person who Rostow alluded to but didn't name in his call to Bill Moyers on 11/24. Ibid p. 27) This trio sprung into action right after Oswald was shot by Ruby. And they began to instantly lobby Moyers, Walter Jenkins, Nick Katzenbach, and President Johnson to create what eventually became the Warren Commission. To say that Hancock gives short shrift to Gibson's seminal account is a huge understatement. He radically truncates the absolutely crucial and stunning phone call between LBJ and Alsop of 11/25. One has to read this transcript to understand just how important it is and just how intent and forceful Alsop is in getting Johnson to do what he wants him to. (The Assassinations pgs. 10-15.) By almost eviscerating it, Hancock leaves the impression that it is actually Johnson who was pushing for the creation of a blue ribbon national committee and not Alsop! (Hancock pgs 327-328) I don't see how any objective person can read the longer excerpts and come to that conclusion. So when Hancock states (p. 322) categorically that "President Johnson was the driving force in determining and controlling exactly how the murder of President Kennedy was investigated," I am utterly baffled at how and why he can write this. The sterling work of both Gibson and McKnight show that this is a wild and irresponsible exaggeration.

V

But this puzzling aspect of the work relates to other dubious but just as categorical statements that abound in it. On page 298, Hancock writes that the Oswald as Lone Nut story was created after the fact as a damage control device and was not part of the plot. If that is true then why did Shaw and Ferrie try to get Oswald a position at a mental hospital in Jackson, Louisiana in the summer of 1963? When Garrison studied this incident he concluded its goal was to get Oswald into such a hospital under any circumstances. And then announce after the assassination that he had been there as a patient. Presto! You have the officially deranged sociopath the Warren Commission tries to portray. Also, on and dovetailing with this, multi-millionaire Jock Whitney did a curious thing on 11/22/63. He went to work as a copy editor at the New York Herald Tribune -- a paper that he owned. One of the things he did was to approve an editorial that suggested that very Lone Nut scenario. (Probe Vol. 7 No. 1 p. 20) Right after making this unwarranted assumption, Hancock writes about how the plotters actually meant to portray the patsy: "The plotters were presenting Oswald as a paid Castro agent associating with Castro operatives." (Ibid) Two questions I have about this "presentation." First, who was paying him and how much? In other words, what happened to the money? Second, who were these pro-Castro operatives? I fail to see them in any study of Oswald. This seems to me to be, outside the fantasy world of Gus Russo, a vacuous and unsupportable concept.

On another occasion the omniscient Hancock states that the conspirators lacked "a Dallas intelligence network." (p. 379) Well, if your self-appointed plotters are people like Santiago and Roselli, this might be accurate. But if you unblinker your eyes, people like George DeMohrenschildt, CIA chief J. Walton Moore, Ruth and Michael Paine, and the rather large White Russian community -- who, among other things, counseled Marina Oswald on her New Orleans Grand Jury testimony -- these suspicious characters might serve just fine as an intelligence network.

Finally, in a rather revealing statement, Hancock writes that if the cover-up had been pre-planned, "there should not have been the glaring problems we now see in regard to the autopsy." (p. 299) Again, this is a real puzzler. The medical part of this case held quite strongly until the time of the HSCA. In other words for 15 years. When a strong critical movement arose against the Warren Commission in 1967, Warren Commission lawyer David Slawson -- then in the Justice Department -- started the move toward an official review of the autopsy. From the beginning, his intent -- which he actually wrote about -- was to stop the critical community in its tracks with an authoritative medical document supporting the Warren Commission verdict. Slawson's efforts ended up in the formation of the so-called Fischer Panel, an illustrious panel of forensic pathologists selected by Ramsey Clark. They issued their report in 1968 and it predictably certified that only one assassin was involved and all shots came from the rear. This report was then used to batter both the Warren Commission critics and DA Jim Garrison, who was pursuing his case against Clay Shaw at the time. How did it achieve this aim? Because of its Washington based sanction of secrecy. Only the result was announced. The material and methodology used to attain it was kept hidden. It was not until the HSCA report, and the second generation of books on the case which followed it, that this area of evidence began to be seriously addressed. And this was in the late 70's and early 1980's. And it was not until the nineties, with the Assassination Records Review Board releases, that so much was finally declassified that the medical aspect began to be sharply skewered from multiple angles. In other words, what went on at Bethesda -- a deliberately incomplete and deceptive autopsy conducted under military control -- was not fully revealed until three decades later. Which is quite enough time to keep the cover-up intact. From a conspiratorial standpoint, the only other solution to this problem -- disguising the true nature of the shots and the assassin -- would have been to actually have a sniper on the sixth floor and to have him perform what the Commission actually said he did. But this could not have been done since we know today that the feat is not possible. So what did happen, the federally sanctioned cover-up, was an operational necessity which did the trick.

These kinds of blanket yet porous statements occur quite often throughout this book. (There are many others I could have listed but, for reason of rhetorical overkill, I did not.) So although there are some interesting and worthwhile aspects to this book, overall I found it really disappointing. It is spotty, pretentious, unconvincing in its overall thesis, and uses questionable sources and witnesses to advance parts of its presentation, while leaving out more credible evidence that works against that particular presentation. It pains me to write like this, since I like Mr. Hancock and think he and his organization have done some good work. But I have to.


Also read the update to this review.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 22:43
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and Reclaiming Parkland (2013/2016), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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