2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2015
I trust John McAdams.
His website is an excellent resource for the objective and open minded JFK assassination researcher.
Predictably, the conspiracy advocates have trumpeted their dismissal of this book simply because it doesn't conform to their predetermined conclusion that the assassination of JFK was a conspiracy.
I am a former conspiracy believer, I've questioned the credibility of the pro-conspiracy authors, speakers and film makers who have invented an avalanche of contradictory and disconnected conspiracy theories over the past half century.
Ask nearly any pro-conspiracy believer to identify THE correct conspiracy that was behind the assassination of the president and you'll be on the receiving end of the most bizarre, confused and convoluted reasoning, it would leave Socrates stupefied.
I trust John McAdams to present a clear, rational and fact based perspective on how to think about claims of conspiracy.
The key words in the title of his book are "logic" and "think". These words are a welcome relief to those who genuinely studied this important moment in American history and concur with the findings of the Warren Commission.
Undoubtedly, these same words will confuse, irritate and infuriate the pro conspiracy advocates who have never applied the principles of logic and thinking to their fractionalized and bewildering conclusions.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2015
I am an assassination buff and have been so for quite some time. I ran the gambit from being a confirmed conspiracy advocate to being a true believer in the fact that Is sold acted alone. This work lays out all of the various far fetched theories and lays them to rest. Conspiracy nuts will hate it but it is the hard evidence explained in a concise and understandable manner.
40 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
This is an excellent introduction to conspiracy theories. John McAdams is a noted debunker of JFK assassination conspiracy theories. He explains critical-thinking problems endemic to the conspiracy-theory community, especially a tendency to look at evidence discretely, and not think through the full implications of their opinion on a single piece of evidence.
It's a shame this book had to be written, and it's pretty good. It's readable, logical and informative. I would recommend it, as well as Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History, to anyone seeking to learn more about the JFK assassination.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2014
The title and its premise seem a bit presumptuous but the book is clearly written and the author presents his views well. This is a lot more than can be said for most books in this genre. There is more bias than the author will admit, however, and his style is often condescending toward those who are open to other than "lone nut" explanations of the assassination. An example: he uses the adverb "cheerfully" several times when describing how certain researchers and writers accept testimony and other evidence that he finds dubious (as if all such researchers are of a kind-- paranoid, simplistic, and very easily duped). Mr. McAdams skims over some of the more difficult parts of a Warren Commission explanation: What was Oswald's motive? How did the "magic bullet" remain largely undamaged, while another of the bullets reacted as if frangible? Why did Oswald return to his rooming house, rearm, and set out for a theater? When arrested, why did he coolly deny a role in either killing (assuming his motive involved showing the world he was not a "nobody")? And on and on. The author does make some good points throughout his book, though, and for those who've read a few conspiracy-leaning JFK titles his work makes a reasonable counterpoint.
8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2014
McAdams has run a JFK assassination website for many years. His grasp of the evidence is very broad. But neither he nor anyone else will ever convince the conspiracy buffs.
If you are undecided about the JFK assassination, this is the 'lone gunman' book you should read.
28 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2011
John McAdams is one of my heroes. His website is chock full of materials that debunk all sorts of nonsense on the JFK assassination [note: one of my articles is on his website]. Now, he has written a book that is important in two ways: first, he continues to debunk tons of junk; and secondly, he gives us a primer on how to think about the evidence. And, that makes it a book that anybody can use to think about a variety of controversies. So, my advice to anybody getting into the JFK assassination: Buy and read this book first. It may save you from going down the conspiracy path and wasting many years of your life. And, if you know somebody who is into the JFK killing - buy this book as a gift. This is essential reading - and it makes a great gift, too.
23 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2012
If you're like most people, you've seen some of the movies or documentaries that have been made about the JFK assassination, you've read some articles and perhaps a book or two (or three, or four...) about the subject, and you're perhaps a little bewildered about the variety of claims being made and theories being argued.
One book says Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone; another says this is impossible -- it had to have been a conspiracy. One book says it was the Mafia; a second says it was the CIA; a third says it was Lyndon Johnson; a fourth says it was the Military-Industrial Complex; a fifth says it was all of the above. All of the books have evidence of some sort or another to back up what they say. How can you tell which arguments are most credible? Is it true what some people say, that we can never really know what happened?
Give this book a shot; it's different. It doesn't tell you what to think about the assassination; it explains why there are so many conflicts in the evidence, what the most persistent reasons for confusion are, and how to use simple logic to determine what evidence is most reliable and what arguments are most credible.
16 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2011
Just one example of the details McAdams must ignore to write his book and to do what he does on his website.:
(The Warten Commission never disclosed that Virginia Hale was the wife of a former FBI agent whose son had been married to John Connally's daughter, and the FBI did not disclose that in 1962, that same son was observed burglarizing the apartment of JFK's alleged mistress. Since all of the Hale family related "coincidences" were concealed by the FBI and Warren Commission, McAdams must ignore this. I.B. Hale was employed by Henry Crown,
After you read about Mr. Crown and about the Hales, make your own decision about the POV McAdams is promoting.)
Robert Allen Hale was the son of I. B. Hale and Virginia Kingsbery Hale of Fortune Road, Fort Worth, TX.  Warren Commission exhibit CE 1891 states that Mrs. Virginia Hale of Fortune Road, employed in the Fort Worth office of the Texas Employment Commission, sent Lee Harvey Oswald out on the job to the Leslie Welding Company in July, 1962.
In April, 1959, Robert Allen Hale was cleared by a Florida Coroner's Jury of responsibility related to the shooting death of his teenaged wife of only 44 days, Kathleen Connally Hale, the daughter of the future Texas Governor, John Connally. Kathleen was already pregnant and they eloped to Oklahoma. They moved to Florida and lived in a small apartment for a month when Kathleen was killed by a shotgun blast below her right ear. Kathleen's family family blamed Hale, but John Connally himself thought it might have been a suicide pact that Hale backed out of.
On November 22, 1963, John Connally was in the seat in front of President John F. Kennedy when he was shot and killed in their open-air limousine in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald, according to the Warren Commission.
Prior to living in Alaska, Hale had been involved in another notable incident with the law, also linked to President John F. Kennedy. On August 7, 1962, Hale and his twin brother William were observed by an F.B.I. agent, as they burglarized the Los Angeles apartment of one of John Kennedy's alleged mistresses, Judith Exner. .....
53 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2011
John McAdams has been peddling insults and lies about credentialed JFK researchers for years. Now this flimsy, selectively documented book presumes to tell the rest of us peons "how to think." A recurring example of his intellectual dishonesty is to toss all conspiracy theories into the same leaky boat. His chain of logic goes like this: Some people believe theories about the moon landing or 9/11 that are preposterous; therefore, all theories about the JFK assassination are preposterous--except his own, of course.
McAdams knows that his own position is the hardest to defend--it's virtually impossible to prove a negative such as "No one except Oswald was involved in the murder of JFK"--so he doesn't dare participate in an an honest debate about the facts of the Kennedy assassination. Like Vincent Bugliosi in his despicable book "Reclaiming History" McAdams impugns the intelligence, character and sanity of serious investigators whose peer-reviewed evidence he can't refute.
Here are just a few of the inconvenient truths about the Kennedy plot that Prof. McAdams expects his students to shrug off:
--Lee Harvey Oswald was no ordinary Marine. He studied Russian at the corp's elite spy school and had a high security clearance.
--While Oswald was in the USSR, someone in U.S. used the name "Lee Oswald" to buy a fleet of vehicles for anti-Castro rebels.
--When Oswald returned from his USSR "defection," he was not prosecuted and did not lose his top-secret clearance.
--Oswald's income tax returns are still classified as secret documents. (Speculation: He was a paid informant for the FBI, handled by agent James Hosty.)
--Oswald, who is branded as a Marxist by lone-nut propagandists like McAdams, had no known left-wing pals in Dallas or New Orleans. His closest friend in Dallas was George DeMorhenshildt, a wealthy right-wing oilman and associate of George Bush Sr. (Quite an impressive contact for a sociopathic loser!)
--There are three, not two, backyard photos of "Oswald," each with identical shadows and expressions, despite the body's different poses.
--Days before Oswald's arrest, an ex-Marine named Thomas Arthur Vallee was arrested with a rifle on a high-rise parade route in Chicago. Another patsy? Look it up and judge for yourself.
--At least seven Secret Service agents were out drinking until 5 a.m. on the morning of the Kennedy assasination, in abject violation of their rules None were reprimanded.
--Future presidents Richard Nixon and George Bush Sr. were both in Dallas' Dealey Plaza on the morning of the assassination, but they left shortly beforehand. (So was LBJ, of course. And future president Gerald Ford, who was tearfully eulogized by Bush Sr., functioned as J. Edgar Hoover's informant on the Warren Commission.)
--Dallas cops did not announce to the hungry press corps that Oswald's fingerprints were found on the rifle until Nov. 26--after FBI agents visited the murdered Oswald's corpse with a long bag and an ink pad.
--Oswald had no traces of gunpowder residue on his cheek to indicate that he had fired a rifle.
--The most decorated marksman in U.S. history, marine Carlos Hathcock, declared that Oswald's supposed shooting feat--hitting two out of three moving targets in six seconds on a windy day, using a 30-year-old Italian rifle with a badly misaligned scope--was impossible; and no one has ever duplicated it.
--The army's top ballistics-and-wounds expert, Dr. Joseph Dolce, said no bullet could cause seven wounds and emerge as pristine as CE #399, the so-called magic bullet.
--More than a dozen experienced emergency-room personnel from Parkland Hospital--doctors and nurses who dealt with gunshot wounds every day--said that JFK's throat wound was caused by a shot from the front.
--Oswald was interrogated by Dallas police for more than 12 hours, yet nothing he said was recorded or even transcribed. Dallas cops claimed that there was not enough space in the interrogation room for a tape recorder or a secretary--for the most important murder investigation in American history!
--Oswald's assassin, Jack Ruby, was demonstratably an anti-Castro gun runner and a longtime mobster who was involved in a murder for Al Capone in 1939.
--Jack Ruby talked to reporter/acquaintance Seth Kantor at Parkland Hospital on Nov. 22, the day the bullet known as CE #399 was found on an unrelated stretcher. (Ruby was also filmed at Dallas PD headquarters that night, where he knew--somehow--and blurted out during a press conference that an obscure fellow named Lee Harvey Oswald was the one-and-only local member of something called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
--The bullet found on a hospital stretcher had no trace of either John Kennedy or John Connally's blood or clothing fibers on it.
--The president's body was illegally whisked from Dallas, at gunpoint, and his autopsy was performed at Bethesda (Md.) Naval Hospital, at gunpoint, by a first-time pathologist--who burned all his notes afterward.
--The president's brain, which would show the entry and exit points of the bullet(s), is missing from the National Archives.
--CIA agent E. Howard Hunt confessed to his son in a deathbed recording that there was a conspiracy to murder JFK.
--And finally: It is the OFFICIAL position of the US government that JFK was killed by a conspiracy, as per the House investigation of 1979, whose report supersedes the shoddy Warren Report.
McAdam's modus operandi--and that of the surrogates who eerily rush to his defense as soon as his name is mentioned--is to pounce on his critics and to sidetrack the conversation into minutia. So now we can expect his minions to say things like "Marina Oswald swore to the Warren Commission that she snapped the backyard photos!" (even though she barely spoke English, was extensively coached and faced being deported if she didn't cooperate) or "Dallas police Lt. J.C. Day claimed that he found Oswald's palmprint on Nov, 22!" (even though the press wasn't alerted for another week and Day didn't photograph the print) and "Several of those Parkland doctors eventually changed their testimony! (even though heroes like Dr. Robert McClelland went to their graves saying that JFK was shot from the front, while chief surgeon Dr. Perry only changed his story after some late-night arm-twisting from numerous feds, including Secret Service agent Elmer Moore.
I could list literally hundreds more facts that don't fit McAdams' thesis. He and his doting defenders might produce seemingly logical answers for, oh, two or three of these questions, and those are the questions on which they will dwell, to the exclusion of the many, many others. They hack at flimsy trees to distract us from a very obvious forest.
But here is the question that McAdams' shoddy, shameful book about "critical thinking" does not address: How much doubt is necessary before a public that's hungry for answers can call their doubt reasonable?
38 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2012
My detailed and negative review is at [...]
A brief quote is attached below.
David Mantik, MD, PhD
"I was seriously disappointed by this book, not merely because I disagreed with it on so many fundamental issues, but even more so because it fell so far short of its announced goals (of explaining and promoting critical thinking). I was also disenchanted that it so often merely regurgitated second hand data; McAdams appears to have done little research of his own--and none at all at the National Archives and apparently none at the Sixth Floor Museum. Chiefly, however, I was astonished by the central issues that he frequently overlooked. Moreover, not every one of his oversights is easily explained by random chance, and that inevitably raises the ugly specter of evidence suppression. After all, if some of these omissions were deliberate, that is radically different from merely overlooking critical problems."