I actually knew Hugh C. McDonald. In the early 70s, I worked for a talent manager, Bob Marcucci ("The Idolmaker"), who represented Mr. McDonald in the promotion of his books, "Appointment In Dallas" and "The Hour of the Blue Fox." When I met him, Hugh was retired from the CIA and was writing his books and working in security for a southern California racetrack (Hollywood Park, I think) and interfacing with the IRS and FBI on matters such as illegal gambling and racketeering. I had the good fortune to read the follow-up manuscript to "Appointment In Dallas" entitled, "The Kennedy Conspiracy," in which he not only released more details about the Kennedy murder, but he also named three men whom he said were directly involved in the conspiracy and, at the time he wrote the manuscript, were still living. By the time I read his manuscript, two of the three men mentioned were dead with Ralph DeMorenschild being the only one remaining alive. A couple of months after I read the manuscript, an article appeared in the L.A. Times (not in a prominent location) telling of the death of DeMorenschild. It stated that he had given an interview some place in Belgium in which he said that he was going to go public with what he knew about the Kennedy assassination. A few days after the interview, he was killed by a shotgun blast to the head in a hotel room in Belgium. The article stated that the wound was self-inflicted. The upshot of this is that Hugh tried for years to get "The Kennedy Conspiracy" published and no publisher would touch it. I've often wondered why.
Appointment in Dallas is an essential addition to the library of any serious scholar of the JFK murder. My background is criminology. Years ago, as a short term graduate student at USC, I sat through a four hour lecture by Hugh McDonald on crime scene investigation. He was then Chief of Detectives of the LA Police Department. He lectured on the "Starved Rock" murders in Chicago, a case that had stumped the Chicago authorities, and which he solved in a period of days. He lectured on concepts, rather than nuts and bolts, and it was evident to the class (all professional law enforcement officers) that he was one of the premier detective investigators in the country. You will see this for yourself when you read Appointment in Dallas. It's a meticulous look at the crime scene and the author's own investigation. In the early days following the release of the Warren Report, Hugh McDonald was treated somewhat cavalierly in the media for his belief in the existence of a second assassin. Time has certainly vindicated his judgment.
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There probably still exists an academic oriented website owned by a scholar who is a determined defender of the Warren Commission Report. It has a great deal of interesting material, and one of these is a paper written by another scholar, another WC apologist, who felt the need to answer the question of why the material from the President's head hit Dallas motorcycle policeman Bobby Hargis with such force that he, Hargis, thought he had been shot. Most people are aware that Hargis was riding IN BACK OF and TO THE LEFT OF the President's position in the limo. This would indicate the kill shot came from the front and to the right of the President, somewhere in the picket fence area of the Grassy Knoll. The scholar answered the question of why a shot from the rear landed with such force on Hargis that he thought he had been shot by stating that there was a breeze blowing in Dealey Plaza that afternoon, from west to east, and it was this breeze that blew the material from the President's head backwards with such force. He really wrote that. In his book McDonald is also a WC apologist, and his assassin named Saul fired all the shots from the rear, while Oswald was a patsy who was to be killed by Saul. Things didn't work out as planned, but Saul still did the job he was paid to perform. The only problem is, the bullet that killed the President, coming from the rear as postulated, would surely have covered the two Secret Service men in the front seats, as well as the windshield of the limo, as Saul was firing from ABOVE the position of the President, and the bullet would have had a downward projection. McDonald ignores all this, which appears to me a major flaw that makes his book not credible.
I first bought this book twenty five years ago or so. My copy is so worn out it has split down the middle. I was about to add a silver duct tape binding, when I discovered this reprint. If you haven't come across this little known book before do yourself a BIG favor and buy it. Hugh McDonald is not your typical conspiracy theorist. He was a on the "short list" when replacing the director of the FBI. This man has written many classic textbooks on interrogation techniques that are in use at police academies around the world. He invented the I-Denti-Kit, virtually eliminating the need for police sketch artists. In short, he is a master detective first. He makes a convincing argument on who killed JFK. (Interviewing the assassin makes for a pretty strong case.) He includes photos of the assassin and a complete timeline provided by the assassin on how he pulled of the crime of the century. If you want to know who hired the assassin you need to buy his sequel. "LBJ and the JFK Conspiracy"