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LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination Paperback – July 23, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Researcher / Author of "Bloody Treason," Noel Twman on LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination: "This book is very comprehensive about Lyndon Johnson as related to the JFK assassination.  It is a well written book, easy to read, and exhaustive in its summations of the scores of other writers on this profoundly disturbing time in history.  I strongly recommend this book. Nelson explains why so many of us held back and gave LBJ the benefit of the doubt when we knew in our hearts how bad he was."

James Fetzer* on LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination: "LBJ-The Mastermind is a "Masterpiece. . . beautifully written. . . Brilliant and pivotal, bringing coherence to our understanding . . . From first chapter to last, this is a beautifully written, intellectually captivating, and ultimately persuasive account of the role of LBJ in the assassination of JFK."
*James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., author/editor of three major works on the JFK assassination: Assassination Science (1997), Murder in Dealey Plaza  (2000), and The Great Zapruder Film Hoax  (2003).

Publisher's Weekly (12/05/2011)
Nelson reviews a massive amount of secondary sources to support his own hypothesis that the mastermind behind the assassination was then-VP Lyndon Johnson. LBJ's position as Kennedy's successor and "narcissistic/sociopathic personality," combined with his fear of a Kennedy plan to remove him from the upcoming 1964 ticket, form the basis of Nelson's conjecture. He dismisses the Warren Commission review of the evidence as a cover-up, stating that "it has become more and more apparent that much of the evidence originally put forward ... was invented or modified."

Booklist Review - David Pitt
"Keen-eyed readers will notice that the author's argument ultimately rests on a simple assertion: LBJ was the only person who could possibly arrange JFK's assassination, so therefore. axiomatically. he did it. If you buy that, the rest of the author's arguments flow (mostly) logically; if you don't, well, the book is still a fascinating read, full of some very clever creative thinking. Nelson definitely hasn't proven LBJ's guilt, but he's built an intriguing and thought-provoking case."

A masterpiece . . . beautifully written. --Jim Fetzer, "The Real Deal" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Author

I remember reading the Life magazine articles on the weekend of the assassination, about Lyndon Johnson's connections with Bobby Baker, and the latter's extensive involvement with a number of shady characters.  And I began wondering about just who this guy was.  The more I read, the more I came to distrust this fellow who liked to portray himself as a glad-handing, back-slapping, "regular guy."   And I came to find out he was anything but those caricatures.
As a result of the failure of the "Fourth Estate" to perform their constitutional function, Lyndon Johnson is now ranked generally #9-12 in the various rankings of "greatest presidents" by academics and historians.  There are a number of contemporary books by his biographers and "historians" (a misnomer, as it applies to those who have avoided the truth about Johnson) who laud him for his wonderful efforts in the area of Civil Rights, but many of them ignore the facts that:
-        Johnson was in fact very racist in his views of black Americans and latinos;
-        The 1964 Civil Rights Act is the same legislation that Johnson had suppressed while he was vice president and chairman of the EEO Committee under JFK.
-        The act was passed on the back of JFK and Johnson had kept it stalled until he became president, then immediately pushed Congress to adopt it.

These, and many other truths about Lyndon Johnson are revealed in my book, "LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination."

We identify numerous cases where the "benefit of the doubt" was given to Lyndon Johnson throughout his life.  We start by looking back into Johnson's past, from the time he was a boy in Texas.  We follow the development of his character traits throughout his school days, through college and as a young congressional apprentice in Washington.

The essential themes of the book relate to how Johnson's mental issues and criminal associations drove him to commit more brazen criminal acts, including, according to specific named sources, the ordering of multiple murders of people who "got in his way."  Ultimately, the ever increasing stakes and his increasingly heinous criminal acts steeled his resolve to enlist the help of other key military and intelligence men to effect Johnson's "Executive Action" plan to assassinate John F. Kennedy.

There are many loose strings which connect all of this together and reveal the existence of a widely based conspiracy, with connections to the military and CIA networks, even though nothing was ever written by the plotters to allow direct tracing to their organizations.  But there are many other traces which have become known over time:  

  --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 730 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris, Corp. (July 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453503013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453503010
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,526,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An interview with the author by John Valeri of the Hartford Examiner, November 17, 2010:

1). You were a college student when Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency. Can you tell us how your initial reservations about his character resulted in the research and publication of LBJ: THE MASTERMIND OF JFK'S ASSASSINATION nearly fifty years later? Was there one particular moment that solidified your suspicions or was it an overall consideration of facts?

I have very vivid memories of 1962-63, mostly about my own experiences as a recent high school graduate in Indiana just beginning to shake off my adolescent ways and become a little more cognizant of things larger than myself. One of those was my newly found political awareness, which led me to read the weekly magazines that happened to be reporting on such things as the breaking Billie Sol Estes scandal; it was his hazy connections to Vice President Lyndon Johnson which caught my eye initially, though back then I didn't have any reason to suspect that the depth of his criminal activities was quite as great as we've learned since then. Then, in 1963, the Bobby Baker scandals started being reported in the late summer, leading into autumn. Life magazine published a major front cover expose, ironically under the date of November 22, 1963, which contained many allusions to his association with Johnson. No one knew then, as we do now, that Bobby Kennedy was behind the release of much of the dirt on Lyndon Johnson in order to force him off the 1964 ticket.

All during that horrible but memorable weekend, I remember reading Life magazine between breaks while watching the live television coverage. Naturally, in the process of reading about the latest scandal involving this person who had just assumed the highest office in the nation, I began wondering whether he was a man to be trusted. But I still had not given a passing thought as to the possibility of his involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. At that time, a possible coup was simply an "unthinkable thought," too abhorrent to even try to contemplate (which, I submit, is the same phenomenon that causes many people to continue denying, to this day, the truth of what happened).

That didn't really start until a year or two later. By then, questions had started to mount about not only the mysteries related to the assassination (.e.g. the incredible "magic bullet"), but about the character and veracity of the new president. The rationale for heavy military build-up in Vietnam and the growing casualties began to make less and less sense; his growing "credibility gap" on this folly caused my suspicions about his character to grow. I don't know that there was ever one specific moment at which the idea first sprang forth in my mind; it was more of a decades-long epiphany which developed incrementally the more I studied the matter; it has obviously become the only possible explanation that makes any sense to me, given the complexities of the real story.

2). How do you see LBJ's culpability as fitting in with other conspiracy theories that have been put forth? Who do you believe were his accomplices? And how has the truth remained shrouded in mystery for nearly five decades?

My theories closely parallel those of several notable authors who were referenced extensively in the book. The "main plot-line" includes reference to body, photo and film alterations advanced by David Lifton, Douglas Horne and Noel Twyman. Along with the suborning of witness testimony, or the ignoring of credible witnesses whose stories were not congruent with the "official line," and the fabricated, lost or destroyed evidence, there is a mountain of irrefutable facts which render the official verdict to be the "official lie."

His accomplices included men at the highest levels of the CIA, men such as James Jesus Angleton, William K. (Bill) Harvey, David Atlee Phillips, David Sanchez Morales. There were participants from the Mafia (Carlos Marcello, Johnny Rosseli), the Texas oilmen (H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison) and, I believe, even J. Edgar Hoover, who was at the very least clearly involved in the post-assassination cover-up.

The reason I devoted so much of the book (nearly half of it) to setting the context--the domestic political situation, the cold-war international antagonisms, the rabid anti-Communist agenda shared by both left and right-wing zealots, were all part of the mix--was because it is necessary to understand how this background related to the assassination. To comprehend why the truth has been "shrouded in mystery for nearly five decades," one must first understand all of that, which is explained in the first 300 pages of the book. But the last two chapters return to that point as well, because they detail just how Lyndon Johnson was able, as president, to obtain the ultimate "benefit of the doubt" by becoming president. He used the automatic deference accorded all presidents to remake his image from a conniving, narcissistic megalomaniac--someone not above the use of criminal conduct to achieve his goals, as he had done throughout his political career--to that of a consensus-seeking "good ol' boy" and magnanimous liberal politician.

The coupe de grace was his successful management of the Warren Commission in reaching a "verdict" that even he later acknowledged was not correct. But it took the matter off the table for at least a dozen years, which was helped by his edict that all evidence be locked away for 75 years. It wasn't until 1975 that the public even saw a purloined copy of the Zapruder film, two years after Johnson died. He calculated that proof of his complicity would automatically die with him and the matter would never really be solved after that, which is why he apparently willed his own early death, as explained in the book.

Lyndon Johnson was a genius at leading, and misleading, people. One simple example of this from the book came from a man who worked for Johnson's radio station KTBC, when he said that "he learned more about the art of deception from Lyndon than he had ever learned from anyone, including his own father, a magician known as "the Great Blackstone." He said, "I worked quite some time for Lyndon Johnson as broadcast personnel, and I think I learned more about the art of deception from him than I did from my father . . . he was a man who understood the art of misdirection--of making the eye watch 'A' when the dirty work was going on at 'B.'"

His ability to ingratiate himself with the right people--in this case, a number of credulous journalists or future historians like Doris Kearns, Merle Miller, Ronnie Dugger, and sycophants like Jack Valenti and Bill Moyers--enabled him to remake his image and therefore his historical record. He isn't remembered, for example, for stalling and impeding civil rights legislation for over twenty five years (even supporting such things as the "poll tax" used in Southern states to inhibit minority voting) and continuing to block Kennedy's agenda on this; instead, he is given credit for its eventual passage in the aftermath of the assassination (though the New York Times gave the lion's share of the credit for its passage to Republican Everett Dirksen, the minority leader). I believe his real accomplishment was purposely stalling it all during Kennedy's presidency; he did it for the purpose of saving it for his own legacy and to use it to win the support of a lot of people for his 1964 election.

3) What do you hope that your book contributes to the historical record? What lessons can be learned for future generations?

More than anything else, I think that a cleansing of the national consciousness, one that finally acknowledges real history, and not the fiction that was presented in 1964, is essential. It has always amazed me that over 75% of the population, according to polls, do not believe the Warren Report; in fact, "we" still don't know what to believe about this watershed event.

It is time that the truth of the assassination and the truth of Lyndon Johnson's lifetime of crimes leading to his involvement in the "Crime of the Century" is revealed. There are still many secrets buried by our own federal government--and they acknowledge it, and they vow to keep them secret, as noted in the book--and until such time as they are revealed and the matter dealt with honestly, we as a nation cannot fully recover from the trauma which has caused us unquantifiable harm.

The real Lyndon Johnson continues to be revered by the very historians who should know better. History is supposed to be about true and actual events and people, not contrived and deceitful stories meant to sugar-coat the facts; it seems to me that most "historians" have been asleep at the switch for nearly fifty years.. Edward Albee, despite his brilliance in the "Theater of the Absurd," couldn't have made this up.

4) There is a true literary lexicon devoted to this case. What books would you recommend as essential reading for serious students of the assassination?

Other than my own, of course, I recommend the following books:
I. General Subject:
JFK and the Unspeakable -James Douglass
Bloody Treason - Noel Tywman
Murder in Dealey Plaza - James Fetzer, Ed.
Someone Would Have Talked - Larry Hancock
Crossfire - Jim Marrs
II. Truths about Lyndon Johnson:
The Years of Lyndon B. Johnson - Three part biographies by Robert Caro
Power Beyond Reason: The Mental Collapse of Lyndon Johnson -
D. Jablow Hershman
A Texan Looks at Lyndon - J. Evetts Haley
III. Post Assassination Cover-up
Inside the ARRB - Doug Horne
Best Evidence - David Lifton
Breach of Trust--How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation
Gerald McKnight

5). How do you think the course of history would have been altered had JFK lived to serve out his presidency?

Without question, the United States' involvement in Vietnam would have been wound down in 1964 and over by 1965; JFK had already decided that, as detailed in my book and many others. The CIA, which had grown out of control under Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, would have been dismantled and the intelligence function would have been assigned to the newly formed and more tightly managed DIA. Probably one of the things JFK did to seal his fate was his promise to "Tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." It wasn't hard for Johnson to find willing accomplices in the CIA through his "back channel" to them and to renegade high level military officers to carry out the assassination.

Without Vietnam, there would have not been the thunderous backlash which resulted from it. The nation would have been spared the eventual double catharsis which resulted from JFK's assassination and the ensuing war purposely designed and run by Johnson, who thought of himself as an omnipotent deity and above the hand-wringing and second-guessing of those who questioned the merits of his war. It is unlikely that the 1960's counter-revolution would have occurred in mid-decade and the violent aspects of it - the Weathermen, the Chicago Seven and all the others - would have not had their "fifteen minutes of fame." Doesn't it follow that everything else that occurred due to the 1960's cultural revolution either would not have happened, or would have at least turned out differently?

The misallocation of precious resources to Vietnam was a tremendous waste of national treasure. It did make many people very wealthy, not the least of whom was Lyndon B. Johnson (though his rapid accumulation of wealth, despite having started out with virtually no net worth, is given virtually no scrutiny by most of his biographers and apologists). Another man who profited from the war was the Chicago financier and mob-connected Henry Crown, who was a major stockholder in General Dynamics, the nearly bankrupt Texas-based company at the heart of the TFX scandal. Johnson went to great lengths to help save this company from bankruptcy in 1961-62 and it is yet another example of his corruption. Crown's wealth grew even more because of the additional number of fighter jets required for Johnson's war (unfortunately for his heir, his son Lester, the family lost $1 Billion during the 2008-09 economic crash; their net worth now stands at only $4 Billion (Forbes magazine: The Forbes 400, October 19, 2009 p. 124).

The United States would have probably grown and prospered even more than was the case with Kennedy's successors, starting with Johnson. Imagine if none of those 60 thousand soldiers, sailors and airmen had been killed there and their lives had instead been devoted to the positive and productive things they wanted to accomplish, rather than the quite meaningless war which Johnson committed them to. Yes, life would have turned out much different for them, of that we can be certain; the rest of us would have, at the very least, been spared the insanity of those times. I cannot begin to list all of the repercussions that these traumas have inflicted on us as a nation.

Customer Reviews

I'm afraid most people will never hear about this book, let alone read it.
This book reads well, is hard to put down, and is one of the many books making a very strong argument against LBJ-- quite convincingly, sad to say.
Pat H.
Please Read "LBJ The Mastermind of The JFK Assassination" by Phillip F. Nelson.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

241 of 264 people found the following review helpful By James H. Fetzer on October 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From first chapter to last, this is a beautifully written, intellectually captivating, and ultimately persuasive account of the role of LBJ in the assassination of JFK. I had more than 100 conversations with Madeleine Duncan Brown, one of his many mistresses but the only one who bore him a son. She, too, became convinced that Lyndon was profoundly involved in the death of his predecessor. On New Year's Eve, six weeks after the assassination, they had a rendezvous at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, where she confronted him with rumors, rampant in Dallas at the time, that he had been involved, since no one stood more to gain. He blew up at her and told her that the CIA and the oil boys had decided that JFK had to be taken out. She wrote about it in her book, TEXAS IN THE MORNING. Her account has been reinforced by Billy Sol Estes, the Texas wheeler-dealer who made mountains of money for Lyndon, Connally, and their buddies, who explains in his book, A TEXAS LEGEND, how he became convinced that Cliff Carter, LBJ's chief administrative assistant, and Malcolm "Mac" Wallace, his personal assassin (by whom Lyndon had a dozen or more persons terminated, including one of his sisters), had been personally involved. E. Howard Hunt, in his "Last Confessions" in ROLLING STONE, explained to his son, St. John, that LBJ, Cord Meyer, William Harvey, David Sanchez Morales, and others in the CIA had been involved in the assassination. For an overview, enter "John F. Kennedy: History, Memory, Legacy", and download Chapter 30. Or visit [...], "Reclaiming History: A Closed Mind Perpetrating a Fraud on the Public", and you will understand the context within which it took place. For a short course, try "Reasoning about Assassinantions" via google. I also recommend James Douglass, JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE. Both make profound contributions to the case.
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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Vince Palamara on October 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am truly impressed with Phillip Nelson's outstanding book "LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination", now in an EXPANDED and UPDATED format on the very same publishing house as major best-selling authors Mark Lane and Jesse Ventura! While there are quite a few "honorable mentions", I feel strongly, based on reading hundreds of books and decades of research, that Nelson's book, along with Mark Lane's "Last Word", Doug Horne's "Inside The ARRB" 5-volume works, Jim Douglass "JFK & The Unspeakable", and Barry Ernest's "The Girl On The Stairs", is among THE very best books written on the JFK murder to date. Nelson finishes the work started by such authors as Craig Zirbel and Barr McClellan, yet greatly expands and improves on what came before. Nelson, Lane, Horne, Douglass, and Ernest: their works are absolutely essential to all students and scholars on the case.
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108 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Deidre B. Shelden on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Before you conclude from the title there is no way LBJ could have masterminded the JFK assassination, read the facts in this book. This account brings all the last pieces together of what connected the CIA, FBI, Mob and Oswald and what could have pushed all these elements and players over the line into the horrible, an assault on the entire nation. They did not just happen to all act alone at the same time. I've read a good many of the books investigating the facts of the case and the cover up.

What remains a concern for me is how to get the government to release all the remaining FBI and CIA documents that were to be released 20 years ago, as this author points out. As one who can remember the assassination, I believe that the nation and the effects this catastrophic event had on it needs the healing of the truth of what happened.

This new edition of the author's work eliminates the redundancies and streamline the narrative of the first edition. The total number of pages has been reduced by 10%, even with a considerable amount of new material added to support the many assertions of Lyndon Johnson's complicity in a number of criminal acts leading to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By R. Ryckoff on December 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a profoundly important book. And an overdue book -- for reasons the author delineates in his work. In the US, it's called "American exceptionalism," propoganda, disinformation and societal wide denial. (Interestingly, it is said that after the assassination many Europeans looked at LBJ as being the perpetrator since they did not wear the historical and ideological blinders of most in the US.)
I read "A Texan Looks at Lyndon" when it came out in 1964 (I was 14 and interested in politics and philosophy). I read "Best Evidence" when it first came out 30 years ago and dozens of books and 100's of research papers on the assassination. I have long known that LBJ was deeply involved (as clearly indicated by his behavior before, during and after the event) - despite hardly any significant researchers willing to even go that far. James Douglass' "JFK and the Unspeakable" is a ground breaking book in its synthesis of all the "national security state" strands that went into the assassination.
However, I was stunned by the depth of Nelson's research and especially by the breadth of his integration of all the evidence together into a completely logical and inescapable conclusion. As Vincent Salandria, Mae Brussell, Dave Emory, John Judge, David Lifton, Jim Marrs, Oliver Stone (JFK), Noel Twyman and James Douglass (and others) moved the case forward with their discoveries, research and radical conclusions, so "LBJ, The Mastermind" takes us over the final hurdle to essentially reach the truth and the overall picture. Is it the final word? Of course not -- more information, details, etc. will continue to emerge over time with the work of courageous private researchers.
But we now have an accurate overview for the first time of the who, what and why of this monstrous crime.
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