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on January 11, 2000
I found Lifton's book both fascinating and enlightening. Never before have I found such dedicated and in-depth study of the actual documented evidence without hint of hysteria or paranoia. The trouble with films like 'JFK' based on the work of theorists life Grodin, is that, for all it's grassy-knoll witnesses and government sources, it simply is too lazy or credulous to look at the medical evidence. In one of his books, Grodin dimisses the pre-autopsy surgery theory out of hand. He would rather think that the autopsy doctors were all in on the conspiracy, so he doesn't have to explain certain discrepancies in his theory. Like the back wound. And the missing brain. Such "Dealey Plaza-based" reconstructions soon fall apart after investigation and bring ridicule on conspiracy believers. Not so Lifton's work. Every statement is backed up by substantiated and credible evidence. His clear, analytical thinking is one thing rare in many similar books which recycle old theories with their circular logic. Lifton's lifelong commitment to this subject shows through his exhaustive research.
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on November 30, 2003
Mr. Lifton's 15-year odyssey before Best Evidence was published in 1981 is an amazing story in itself. I read the paperback years ago and the depth of its research and analysis finally convinced me that there was much more to the public execution of JFK than the "Mafia did it" or "anti-Castro Cubans" etc. Even if one of those groups did "do it" they had to have help in Washington. The most important aspect of this case, pointing to the coverup of a conspiracy, is Fraud in the Evidence. Anyone who has bothered to read about the subject knows it certainly wasn't "a man in a building shooting a man in a car," despite what our media tries to shove down our throats every late November, this year being no exception.
Although its been 23 years since its publication, this book has held up well and is definitely in the top ten of this genre. I predict his next book will also be a blockbuster. Mr. Lifton in a recent interview stated that his next book should be released in the next few years. In the meantime check out his 117-page "Pig on a Leash" essay in Jim Fetzer's "Great Zapruder Film Hoax." (Yup, it appears the Z-Film may have been tampered with too, surprise surprise!) Mr. Lifton's piece is worth the price alone.
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on March 29, 2005
You're high if you think the whole JFK thing happened the way the Warren Report claimed it did. SO WHAT if exactly how it happened hasn't been substantiated down to the letter. How can you ignore dozens upon dozens of suspicious things in this case? LBJ gets the presidential limo cleaned (AND THE INTERIOR REPLACED) before it's inspected and photographed, and no one does ANYTHING??? He destroyed evidence in the murder of an American president, and NO ONE DOES ANYTHING!!! Hoover has the tree (the one between the sniper's nest and the exact location of the car when JFK was hit) cut down, and no one does anything. What, did Hoover have a lawn care business on the side? Why do the FBI agents in question (Sibert and O'Neill) need to be forensics experts, or, for that matter, medical doctors, to be able to recognize that surgery was done to JFK's head??? I don't have to be a certified auto mechanic to understand the difference between a problem with my alternator and a problem with my starter when my car doesn't start. I don't have to be an MI graduate to know the difference between someone who knows their instrument intimately and someone who only takes a casual interest in playing. (Then when re-questioned, the FBI agents said they HEARD one of the Bethesda doctors say that it appeared surgery had been done prior to the start of the 'official autopsy'. It's amazing how many people have back peddled and modified or, in some cases, outright denied, their testimony over the years.) Yes, a lot of people have turned this into a cottage industry. Yes, a lot of people have proposed some obscenely ridiculous theories. BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE JFK MURDER WASN'T A CONSPIRACY!!! Reading this book gave me an idea about what it's like to be a crack addict. I lost sleep, skipped meals, and got angry. I thank God for David Lifton. Why would he spend 15 years of his life just to write ONE BOOK? You Warren Report people are the same as us. You'll point to practically anything, say practically anything, and dig you're heels in when cornered just to hold on to what you believe. You'll dismiss, disregard, and ignore, all the while doing the same thing you criticize us for doing. Believe what you want to believe. We may not know the exact details, but we believe there is more than enough evidence that proves something other than what the Warren Commission concluded DID OCCUR. And I think that, eventually, even if it takes hundreds of years, more of what really happened will come to light. And, even though I'll be long dead, I say, in advance, "WE WERE RIGHT!!!"
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on October 21, 1999
They say truth is stranger than fiction. People often ask whether David Lifton is in touch with reality? Or is he intricately locked in a nightmare from which he never awoke? For my part, this is a genuine soul search. Lifton didn't gravitate in blind fury towards conspiracy. He didn't suspect vast numbers of people of deliberately hiding the truth. Whatever you think of his thesis, "Best Evidence" is saturated in analysis and held together by relentless logic. For me this makes his theory incredible. It also makes it impossible to dismiss. Suppose, if you will, that Oswald was the sole killer of JFK. In that case Lifton is totally wrong and his book is grotesque fiction. But it remains logical. His logic is just based on a false premise (to use his own language). For me the question is: are any of his crucial premises false? Lifton's conlusion is fantastic. But consider the alternative. For Lifton to be wrong, all the Parkland Hospital doctors and nurses, who originally attended Kennedy, collectively misperceived or falsely described what they saw. Or if they didn't, then all the Bethesda autopsy witnesses did. Lifton doesn't pull this testimony out of thin air. It's on the record. Lifton accounts for all of it in a way few other authors have done. Most critics on the subject rely on discrediting witnesses, usually on a large scale. The same problem applies to defenders of the Warren Report. The point about David Lifton is that he doesn't discredit. He explains. His explanation is outrageous, bizare and even absurd. Logic can be like that at times.
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on September 25, 2002
This exhaustive analysis of the JFK assassination, along with its introduction of a ghastly theory underlying the crime, is an extremely valuable book for anyone interested this tragic event. David Lifton's first-person account provides extensive information about the assassination, logical analysis of the evidence, and conclusions drawn from that evidence.
Lifton's thoroughness is evident. At one one point in my reading, I had a strong feeling that if I'd ever done something illegal, the last person in the world I would want investigating the crime would be David Lifton.
My one criticism of the book is the brevity of the final conclusion, which presented Lifton's view of "what" without very much "how" at all. His arguments are weak with regard to the mechanics of his theory, a conspiracy which would seem to involve an incredibly large number of individuals.
Very persuasive, however, was his discovery of anomalies and differences in personal accounts, along with his suggestion that various individuals were actually witnessing (without knowing it) little pieces of the conspiracy in progress. His suggestion that if a competentent conspiracy is carried out, no one will ever be aware that a conspiracy took place, also gave pause for thought.
One critique of this book stated that whether or not you agree with Lifton's version of events and his conclusion, EVERY piece of information with which he worked came from either government or public sources, all legitimately referenced and documented. Best Evidence is a fine study in the art of investigation and analysis, worth reading from that aspect alone.
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on July 29, 2007
.....of JFK assassination books. One of my troops told me about this book in the early 80's. Since then, I've worn out two hardbacks, given away a bunch of paperbacks to people who probably won't read them, and, over 20 years ago had one long phone conversation with the author. Since that conversation several key players have died, but nothing has come out to shake my belief that Mr. Lifton got it right.

Up front, I will say that reading this book will NOT tell you who killed President Kennedy, or why. It WILL tell you how the killers [plural] got away with it.

Everyone over a certain age can tell you where they were on November 22, 1963 [I was in Chemistry class]. Early on, many of us realized that the "Oswald did it" solution was just too simple. My Dad was a firearms expert who said that the [alleged] sixth floor shots would have been easy, UNTIL he saw Olwald's rifle; then he said that they would have been impossible. [Of course, "easy" for Daddy doesn't mean "easy", but hundreds of Military and Police shooters could make those shots WITH A DECENT RIFLE].

The gist of this book is that JFK's body as autopsied at Bethesda was in much different condition than it was when it left Parkland. Dr. Humes was not a liar; he was lied to. By all accounts, J.J. Humes was a fine man. Despite a 25 year career in Navy Medicine [the first years in Laboratory Medicine], I never met him. Several people I knew respected him greatly. Dr. Humes was presented, in the presence of numerous superior officers, with an altered body, and told to perform an autopsy. An impossible position.

When President Kennedy went to Dallas, the plot was in place. Had it worked as planned, much of the controversy of the past 44 years would have never come to light, but two things went wrong: [1] JFK arrived at Parkland still [barely] alive, and [2] John Connally got shot. The Parkland ER was to receive one victim, DOA. Instead, they got two live ones, one of whom could be saved. The doctors at Parkland included "sheep" and "goats", but they got hopelessly mixed up during the half hour attempt to save the President. They body had to be altered after leaving Parkland [somewhere], but mistakes got made, witness saw [parts of] things, and an eternity of controversy started.

The wound descriptions given by the Parkland doctors are totally different from those given by Dr. Humes in the autopsy protocol. Do I remember every detail of every patient I've ever treated in an ER? Preposterous. But some, I can never forget; I would absolutely remember every slightest detail of treating a President. Anyone would. In the end, there's simply too much evidence for the Grassy Knoll, and an altered body.

I disagree with Mr. Lifton about 1 or 2 minor points. He considers Oswald an innocent victim; I'm not so sure, though I agree that he fired no shots.

If I have to criticize this profoundly great book about anything, it's Mr. Lifton's assumption that the average reader possesses a level of medical knowledge that they really don't. [I made the very same critique of Cooper's biography of Jeff Davis, another President whose term was unjustly shortened by tragedy].

President Kennedy is dead. God rest his soul. I don't know who killed him, and David Lifton doesn't, either. Something of ALL of us died with him. That's true be you liberal Democrat, conservative Republican, or those like me who still use present tense in speaking of Jeff Davis. ALL of us are Americans who had our innocence stolen from us. Read this book. Make your OWN descisions, but be informed when you make them.
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on January 2, 2007
We all know what was supposed to have happened. Kennedy's body was taken to Love Field and flown to Andrews AFB accompanied by the widow. At Andrews, there was the sad scene where the body was put into an ambulance and driven to Bethesda Naval Hospital still accompanied by the grieving widow. How could anything have possibly happened to the body on that sad trip in 1963? Well, Lifton does a very thorough job of reseach and shows exactly what and how and who.

Lifton became interested in the Kennedy autopsy after noticing that the two FBI agents present at the autopsy had referred to pre-existing 'surgery of the head area' in their official report published with the Warren Commission report. What could they have been referring to? First, Lifton did a very thorough job of tracking down and interviewing many of the people who were present when the body was transported to Bethesda and autopsied. Then he visits the locations where events occurred to see what was possible and what was not. Then he puts everything together and shows exactly how Kennedy's body was moved around to give the conspirator's time before the official autopsy to remove bullets from the body and doctor up the wounds to incorrectly show that bullets struck Kennedy in the head from behind.

Some of the things that Lifton proved: Kennedy's wife escorted an empty casket. Kennedy's body arrived at Bethesda the first time in a military shipping casket and zipped up in a body bag. Kennedy's brain was missing when the body arrived. The military team escorting the casket chased after an ambulance containing an empty casket across the Bethesda grounds before losing it and returning to the hospital in their pickup truck to find another ambulance and another casket at the back door.

People often say things like 'how could anyone have done anything to the body with everyone watching?' Lifton shows exactly how. Lifton shows that everything happened at Bethesda and that everything there was observed by disinterested bystanders but they simply didn't know what they were seeing. Lifton gathers all of their stories, reviews all of the official documents and timelines, researchs the news reports, television broadcasts, and other accounts, and puts everything together to show what really happened. If it wasn't an assassination of the President of the United States, the final story that Lifton unearths would be hilarious and is certainly worthy of a movie.

The Warren Commission report is based on the medical evidence established at the autopsy. Lifton shows that the autopsy 'evidence' cannot be used to determine the nature of Kennedy's wounds because it is false. The only reliable evidence left to use then about the nature of Kennedy's wounds is the statements of the doctors who were present in the room when Kennedy arrived at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. That evidence shows that Kennedy had one entrance wound in the front of his neck and one exit wound in the back of his head. Period.
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on April 18, 2003
I sort of doubt anyone will get to the 26th review of this book, but in case some obsessive-compulsives like myself do so, let me add my two cents. This is, to me, the best documented, most clearly cited, and most interesting of the many Kennedy assassination books I've read since I became hooked on the topic a few years ago. Only recently (2003) have I heard on the news confirmation of one of Lifton's main points--that the body of the President stopped for some amount of time at the army hospital before it went on to Bethesda--whereas I'd always been under the impression it went from AFI to Bethesda by ambulance. It didn't. It went by helicopter. Which Lifton pointed out long ago.
It appears that revelations since the early nineties have supported the facts set out in Lifton's book, whether his ultimate conclusion is right or wrong. The guy did a yeoman's job in research (whoever said, "I wouldn't want him investigating my crime" had a good point). It is a fascinating read and becomes rather chilling in its discussion of the autopsy room.
Folks, we may never know what, but something went on . Heck, though I don't believe it, maybe Oswald WAS a lone gunman. But way too much strange stuff went on, completely unexplained officially, for anyone to believe there wasn't something going on. Its no wonder one of the first things Bill Clinton wanted to know when he became president was , "Who killed JFK?" I suppose he found out, but he'd have to kill us if he told us.
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on January 7, 2002
This book was not easy to read, because there was so much information in it. Every source or clue Mr. Lifton followed was referenced, cross-indexed, checked and re-checked again for accuracy. His entire search for the true nature of the evidence is documented. No stone is left unturned that can be turned. There is almost too much to digest, but it's worth the attempt. There are theories about how many shooters there were and where they were, and who they might be, but not too many of them use the wounds on the President's body as a place to start tracing them back to the dogs that were responsible [with apologies to our canine friends.] When you start looking at the wounds [and there are many gorey pictures of the President's shattered head] and remember what an entrance wound [smallish hole] and an exit wound [much bigger hole]looks like, it becomes clear that the the body was tampered with. The doctors in Texas say that the President's skull had heavy damage to the back of it, in the occipital and parietal skull plate areas. There was a much smaller hole in the front of his head. But if you read the autopsy report excerpts, it describes heavy damage to the front of the President's skull and less damage towards the back of it. The McGruder film clearly shows almost the whole side and rear of the President's head being blown to bits, which is consistent with being shot from the front and not from the back. The autopsy photos show the poor President's skull being so heavily damaged that it's being clipped together to keep it from falling to pieces altogether. That is one of the saddest pictures in the book. It also demonstrates pretty indisputably that after the President has been put into a casket for transport back to Washington, and before the jet arrived, someone went in and destroyed the true evidence of the exact nature of the President's wounds in order to support a cover story. The President's brain, which should have been preserved as evidence, is "lost" and now we shall never really know what the damage was. There surely was a coverup of some kind, and Mr. Lifton, in examining the testimony of the doctors, doing experiments on cadavers and other objects and in carefully looking at photos, proves it in this book. While again not easy or pleasant to read, it's worth your time to look at if you're trying to form your own conclusions about what happened. The fact that Mr. Lifton stays away from politics and concentrates on physics, anatomy, pherensics and ballistics is refreshing. I recommend it as a first-class examination of how the President died and why it's important that we know.
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on October 9, 2002
Back in 1980, Mr. Lifton, in my opinion, set the bar at the highest level, as far as beginning to unravel the JFK assassination conspiracy. By making a startling discovery in a FBI report, following it up with eyewitness accounts from the autopsy personel, as well as the publication of some of the photos and x-rays, the realty of how deep the conspiracy is begins to take shape. If you are new to finding out information about the assassnation, the book is well planned and is easy to follow. If you are advanced in your knowledge, then this book will fill in alot of the gaps in the medical aspect of the assassination. I've worn out my first copy and came to this sight to get a new version.
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