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The Last Investigation: A Former Federal Investigator Reveals the Man Behind the Conspiracy to Kill JFK Hardcover – November, 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fonzi, an investigative journalist who acted as an investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977-1979, casts two significant lights on the continuing mystery of the Kennedy assassination and its aftermath. The first is a wealth of inside information about the workings of the committee, and how at almost every turn it was frustrated by political infighting, budget constraints and a determination not to upset "national security" by questioning the CIA too closely about its knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald. The second is his detailed account of the story told him by anti-Castro underground leader Antonio Veciana: that he once saw Oswald together with Veciana's own CIA "control," a mysterious figure called Maurice Bishop. Fonzi remains convinced that Bishop was an alias for David Atlee Phillips, a career CIA officer--now five years dead--who at the time of the assassination was a key figure at the Mexico City CIA post and therefore responsible for the continued obfuscation of Oswald's alleged visit there. The book is too long for its content, and is occasionally naive in its dramatization of Fonzi's personal sense of outrage at the apathy that seems to have developed over the responsibility for the assassination. But he is a lively and convincing writer, and much of the book, with its confrontations and dramatic (and sometimes even farcical) twists, has the tension of a good spy novel. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Fonzi was a federal investigator for the congressional committees that issued reports in the 1970s questioning some aspects of the Warren Commission Report. While he doesn't know the names of the people responsible for JFK's murder, he believes that Lee Harvey Oswald worked secretly for the CIA and that there was a conspiracy involving the intelligence agency. In detailed and lively prose, he describes his far-flung investigation into the possibility that Oswald met with CIA agents before the assassination, especially David Atlee Phillips, a fervent anti-Castro agent who later became head of the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division. Like other conspiracy proponents, Fonzi also argues that the "single bullet" theory is refuted by medical evidence. He accuses the congressional committees for which he worked of backing off from the evidence they uncovered that implicated the CIA in a political murder. Amidst the hundreds of conspiracy books published in the last 30 years, this is one of the most believable, although it only offers circumstantial evidence and educated speculation. See also Harrison Edward Livingstone's Killing the Truth , reviewed below.
- Jack Forman, Mesa Coll. Lib., San Diego
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press; 1st edition (November 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560250526
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560250524
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,298,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I cannot agree less with the other reviewer who says this is a disjointed and difficult book to read. I have read numerous books on the subject of the JFK assassination and this is one of the best, by a writer who had a front row seat as an investigator for two Congressional investigations related to the JFK case. This book, in addition to the work of Anthony Summers, did more to convince me of the CIA's likely complicity in the assassination than any other work. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
As with other reviewers, I completely disagree with the mixed review elsewhere on this page of Gaeton Fonzi's landmark book THE LAST INVESTIGATION. (The various five-star reviews present on Amazon under the older paperback edition of this book are possibly more instructive). I am currently in the midst of slogging through a dozen or more previously-released or brand-new JFK assassination volumes in the final weeks leading up to the 50th anniversary. Upon first reading, and throughout a subsequent (very welcome) re-reading, I've become convinced that Fonzi's record of his time in the late 70's as an investigator with the abortive and controversial House Select Committee on Assassinations is one of the most compelling and convincing studies of the assassination in the entire canon. It's an exciting book, written in a fluid, highly readable style, and while Fonzi's accomplished writing is a tremendous asset, it's just the beginning of THE LAST INVESTIGATION's virtues. Other books on the assassination (including a majority of the brand new releases timed for the current anniversary) only seem to rehash and re-analyse decades-old information, but Fonzi was able to bring a keen eye to the case when most of the players were still alive. Care of his position with the HSCA, Fonzi was able to interview and confront figures like Frank Sturgis, Ted Shackley and (unforgettably) David Atlee Phillips with evidence that increasingly put them and others on the defensive as the HSCA approached the end of its life.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The “last investigation” is not that of the Warren Commission; it is an investigation by the House of Representatives thirteen years after the fact. In 1975, Gaeton Fonzi, was hired by Senator Richard Schweiker to assist in a senate subcommittee’s review the role of federal agencies in investigating the assassination of President Kennedy. The Schweiker Subcommittee’s main concern was the CIA, which had failed to disclose significant information to the Warren Commission. When the subcommittee finished its work, Fonzi joined a “Select Committee” established by the House of Representatives to conduct what the author calls “the last investigation.” The Select Committee concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald and other unknown individuals probably killed the president. Fonzi wrote this book to show what the Select Committee might have discovered had it more diligently pursued evidence of links between Lee Harvey Oswald and the CIA.

The book reflects the background of its author as a magazine reporter. The chapters are short, like magazine articles. There are repetitive reminders, informing the reader of the status of persons previously identified in earlier chapters. There are frequent adjectival characterizations of the potential significance of certain facts as “explosive” or “devastating.” In many respects, the book is a diary, written in the first person and presenting the substance of the story through the words of persons being interviewed.

Fonzi begins by describing the Warren Commission’s “single bullet” theory, i.e., that one high-velocity rifle bullet floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee through the bodies of both Kennedy and Governor Connally who was seated in front of JFK.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The "Last Investigation" - recently re-released - published posthumously - contains little revision from its original version, sans the author's wife's introduction.

As an avid reader of more JFK Assassination books than I care to admit - from the government standpoint, to the best researched, to the most thrilling - this book was a necessary, but difficult process.

The book admits to its purpose honestly. The writer was an experienced investigative journalist. His time frame, mostly covers the post-WaterGate congressional committees, from the opening of the CIA's role with the Mafia (as always impossible to separate, but unknown to Americans in the 1970s) attempts and fulfillment of political assassinations- since the beginning of the Cold War- to the "Last Investigation" - the House Select Subcommittee on Assassinations.

He was not only an experienced investigative journalist, but he was involved, and had a bird's eye view, as a paid member of all of the highly politicized 1970's congressional investigations.

The Bad - the author fails to write an interesting and sequential narrative. He instead is providing the reader his journalistic crib-notes. He can seem to be writing - showing deference to editorial professionalism - a repeating chapter-after-chapter, redundant dates, witnesses and conversations; seemingly only to show how zealously he accepts a small percentage of leads, information and conclusions.

The Good - this writer cared. The reader will be able to better understand why the House Select Subcommittee on Assassinations - while it teased with its conclusion that JFK was "probably" killed as part of a conspiracy - did not lead to further Justice Department/Congressional action. Simply there is no benefit it in it.
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