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Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 28, 2008

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Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder + Live By The Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death ofJFK
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596915323
  • ASIN: B005MWPZH4
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,247,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The recent release of a treasure trove of documents from the National Archives and a German TV network’s underwriting of new international research form the backbone for this reopening of a lingering question surrounding the Kennedy assassination: Was Castro behind Lee Harvey Oswald’s act? The research is exhaustive (with extensive notes and bibliography), but the writing is pointed and suspenseful. In reassessing the lead-up to and aftermath of the Dallas tragedy, the authors focus on two sets of remarkable contemporary brothers—Fidel and Raul Castro and John and Bobby Kennedy. This is a powerful piece of historical investigative reporting, accessible both to those familiar with the Kennedy assassination and those less involved with the conspiracy theory. Russo has worked as an investigative reporter for PBS’ Frontline and other networks. Molton is a novelist and film writer. Together, they’ve produced a solidly researched piece of journalism that reads like a thriller. --Connie Fletcher


“Relying on past histories and innumerable interviews, the authors vividly reconstruct the Cold War atmosphere of the ’60s… A serious, intriguing look at the blood feud whose horrible consequences continue to reverberate.” —Kirkus
“Gus Russo and Stephen Molton have fashioned heroic investigative reporting into a Shakespearean reckoning, lush with psychological and historical nuance, of the fateful symmetry between the personal and the political. Brothers in Arms is the wisest explanation I've seen of the Kennedy assassination. It is certainly the most tragic.” —Diane McWhorter, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Carry Me Home


Brothers in Arms has the pace of a page-turning thriller as it reveals the truth about an era of assassinations that influenced the course of history among the United States, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. Each chapter peels off another layer of the subterfuge and cover-ups that have hidden the facts about Robert Kennedy’s determination to assassinate Castro and Castro’s involvement in the assassination of President John Kennedy. What Robert Kennedy (to protect his family’s legacy) and Lyndon Johnson (to protect the national security) kept secret from the Warren Commission is at last available to the American people and the world.” —Joseph A Califano, Jr., Chairman and president, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, and former Special Assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Special Assistant for Domestic Affairs to President Lyndon Johnson


"This astonishing book sheds new light on the assassination of President Kennedy and the role of its many players, including the Castros. It reads not only like a thriller, but like a movie scenario." --Daniel Schorr, NPR commentator and author of Come to Think of It: Notes on the Turn of the Millennium


"Gus Russo is as skilled at researching the facts as anyone I know--brilliant"—Seymour M. Hersh, regarding Live by the Sword

"Compelling, exhaustively researched and even-handed" —New York Times Book Review, regarding Live by the Sword

"An exhaustive look at [Korshak’s] exploits… Russo does a masterful job… The amount of research in the book is staggering" —Chicago Sun-Times, regarding Supermob

"I have never read a better, or more exhaustive, account of how these men built their empires and how they lost them... one of the essential works on the subject of organized crime" —Los Angeles Times, regarding The Outfit

More About the Author

For over twenty years, Gus Russo has been an investigative reporter, author of six non-fiction books, and writer and/or producer of many national and international documentaries for major networks. His books have received Book of the Month Club and History Book Club Featured Selections, three have been optioned for films, and one, "The Outfit," was a Pulitzer nominee. His October 2008 book, "Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder," was named Winner of the 2008 History Prize by the New York Book Festival. April 2011 will see the publication of his memoir, "Boomer Days."

Russo has worked an investigative reporter for PBS' Frontline series, as well as ABC News Special Reports with Peter Jennings (Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years, and JFK: Beyond Conspiracy), Dan Rather's CBS Reports, and Jack Anderson Specials; he has been a consultant for programs such as Sixty Minutes, Sixty Minutes II, and Eye To Eye with Connie Chung; as well as documentary productions based in England, France, Germany, Japan, and Mexico. Russo has appeared on countless radio and TV programs, including NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!, The History Channel (numerous shows), A&E's Biography (Jack Ruby), Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC's Nachman, and Dan Rather's 1993 special Who Killed JFK? Russo has been a research consultant to numerous writers, including Seymour Hersh, Gerald Posner, Anthony Summers, and Laurence Leamer, and has written for The Baltimore Sun, The Nation, The Washington Post, Book Forum, American Heritage, The Huffington Post, and for two years was a regular contributor to the health-related website Russo recently produced and co-wrote a documentary feature film, "Generation 9-11," for Germany's WDR and Academy Award-winning director Nigel Nobel.

In another life, Russo was a professional musician, composer, bandleader, and private instructor. In that incarnation, he played with, or in tandem with, many well-known acts including John Phillips, The New Mamas and Papas, Phoebe Snow, Michael Murphy, The Byrds, Livingston Taylor, Poco, Mary Travers (Peter, Paul and Mary), Commander Cody, and Firefall (w/ Rick Roberts). Russo the musician also wrote commercial jingles and low-budget film scores ("Basket Case," "Brain Damage," etc.)

He currently feeds his musical passions as leader of the Baltimore-based sextet, "String Theory," which features ditties by Django Reinhardt, Johnny Mercer, Dan Hicks, and Nat King Cole.

Customer Reviews

President Kennedy did not enter the White House until January 1961.
Martin Hay
Moreover, their book represents the first believable, unified conspiracy theory written about the Kennedy assassination to date.
Dale K. Myers
If you're interested in the subject, you simply have to read this book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Dale K. Myers on October 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a jaw dropper.

From Cuban intelligence agent Maria Luisa Calderon's intercepted telephone conversation (tape recorded just ninety minutes after the shots in Dallas and best appreciated in its original audio form) to multiple reports of Cuban agents stationed at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City packing up and blowing town shortly after the Kennedy murder, "Brothers In Arms" doesn't just light a powder keg under the question of Cuban complicity in the Kennedy assassination, it sets off a nuclear explosion.

If anyone else had authored this book, I might have had considerable doubts about the veracity of the remarkable new information presented. The material presented in "Brothers In Arms," however, comes largely from the work of investigative journalist Gus Russo, who I've known and admired for many years and who has had far more face-to-face time with officers of the Dallas Police, FBI, CIA, and Secret Service, as well as presidential advisers, U.S. congressional investigators, and numerous foreign intelligence service officers than anyone I know.

In some paranoid corners of the so-called "JFK assassination research community," Russo's contacts and connections make him the enemy. The reality, of course, is that Russo's connections give him unprecedented access to perhaps the only people who can still shed light on the questions surrounding Oswald's horrific deed.

One person who proved central to Russo's research was German documentary filmmaker and investigative reporter Wilfried "Willi" Huismann, who persuaded the German television network WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln) to underwrite new research into the labyrinth of foreign intrigue surrounding the Kennedy case.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Murray M. Gilkeson III on November 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I can highly recommend this book to be of compelling interest to any researcher on JFK. It's thesis is well-laid out and even though well-documented, you still have to take a certain amount of it on faith, as the story it reveals was meant to stay covered-up so we dont see a smoking gun, just as lot of things that are meant to dove-tail. Nevertheless, taken as gospel, or just to take a different angle, this is one of the most interesting and well-written books on the assassination. You will not be disappointed if you have an open mind. The authors write with great style and and grab your attention all the way through. Now if only we could verify every last morsel of "evidence." No, it will not be the last book on the assassination no matter what other reviewers may say. By the way, the logic for this type of conspiracy via Cuba "is that it is so outrageous as to be all the more unbelievable and therefore feasible" to paraphrase one conversation in the book. Was Castro so desperate to defend himself against CIA plots that he would use someone who had FPCC advertized all over himself and would lead right back to Havana? That is why people look for a conspiracy over on the right.
Would a real conspiracy have so many witnesses? But go ahead, feed your head with a good read and reach your own conclusions. No book I have read over the past thirty years has been free of loose ends. This one
definitely, has a fresh perspective and will be worth your time.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Siemers on November 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
With Brothers In Arms, Russo and Molton have taken the principle of Occam's Razor and deftly applied it to the chimera of Kennedy assassination theory. Presented is the thesis of the lone gunman, rifle in hand, in an era of hyper-political anxiety, global ideological battlegrounds, and the reality of revolution and nuclear war. The Castro brothers and the Kennedy brothers become the primary players in this political drama, as well as the embodiments of the forces that work to pull Oswald apart and fashion him an assassin. The prose of the book is nimble, the scope and the research is expansive. Oswald's erratic behavior in the years leading up to the assassination; his army record, his defection to the U.S.S.R., his time in Dallas and New Orleans, and his flirtation with Castro's intelligence service is thoroughly analyzed. The psychology of the killer is described as not that of an adept agent of greater powers maneuvering through various intelligence apparatus, or a mere pawn of the same entities, but more so a man hollowed out by his personal history, the anxieties of the age, and an overwhelming need for recognition and inclusion in the selective club of those who make history. With such limited skill and power at his disposal, Oswald turns to murder; the "wannabe" seeks to be initiated, and the president dies.

Meanwhile the Kennedys and the Castros; whose very names have become iconic, are revealed as mere men, at times stumbling through history, trudging along in their own self-made morass, and caught up in a 20th century Hatfield and McCoy blood feud that would be the Kennedys undoing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M Leslie on August 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wading through so much detail almost made this a four star for me but the crux of the matter was so valuable that I gave it a five anyway. Having just read Lies My Teacher Told Me this made a great supplemental text.
I was especially struck by the complexities of the characters and how different aspects of their personalities came out, especially RFK, LBJ, and Raul Castro. As Lies... points out, our heroes are not without fault and neither are our demons without good qualities.
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