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The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Hardcover – March 31, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. While plenty of authors have argued that the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans were behind the assassination of President Kennedy, few have done so as convincingly as Naval War College history professor Kaiser (American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War). Kaiser bills this as the first [Kennedy assassination book] written by a professional historian who has researched the available archives, and his attention to detail and use of recently released FBI and CIA files put this analysis ahead of many of its fellows. Kaiser focuses on the tantalizing testimony of Cuban exile Silvia Odio, who claimed to have met Lee Harvey Oswald in the company of Cuban activists, and on the U.S. government's efforts to kill Castro and Robert Kennedy's crusade against organized crime. By taking Oswald's guilt as a given and focusing on the people he crossed paths with and their motives and connections, Kaiser mostly succeeds in avoiding complex and narrative-derailing forensic discussions. This is a deeply disturbing look at a national tragedy, and Kaiser's sober tone and reasoned analysis may well convince some in the Oswald-was-a-lone-nut camp. 30 b&w illus. not seen by PW. (Mar.)
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Review

While plenty of authors have argued that the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans were behind the assassination of President Kennedy, few have done so as convincingly as Naval War College history professor Kaiser...His attention to detail and use of recently released FBI and CIA files put this analysis ahead of many of its fellows...This is a deeply disturbing look at a national tragedy, and Kaiser's sober tone and reasoned analysis may well convince some in the Oswald-was-a-lone-nut camp. (Publishers Weekly (starred review) 2007-11-26)

In the seemingly neverending arms race between the lone-assassin and the conspiracy theorists, Kaiser adds a serious piece of scholarship to the arsenal of those who believe Americans have yet to learn the whole truth about the assassination of JFK. (Kirkus Reviews 2008-01-01)

A scrupulously researched account, which may be one of the best books yet on the assassination...Kaiser posits that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman although he did not act alone: the murder plot was hatched by Mafia bosses Santo Trafficante, John Roselli, and Sam Giancana as revenge for Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's relentless pursuit of the mob and for the vast sums of money they lost when Castro closed Cuba's mob-controlled casinos. Other startling revelations are that Oswald might have been a CIA agent, even though he was promised a large sum of money by the mob to kill Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby killed Oswald on orders from the Mafia, to which Ruby was connected. This detailed, often chilling account stands out among the overwhelming number of assassination books. (Karl Helicher Library Journal (starred review) 2008-02-01)

A thorough recounting of facts interspersed with interpretations and opinions that carry the weight of someone who knows how to analyze history... Kaiser isn't the first to suggest JFK was assassinated by a conspiracy of anti-Castro Cubans upset at Kennedy's failure to eliminate Fidel Castro and a Mafia enraged by the obsession of JFK's attorney general, his brother Robert Kennedy, to attack organized crime. But Kaiser may be the first to reach the depth of reporting the facts that support this theory...It would be hard to imagine anyone but Kennedy assassination scholars and historians not learning something new in Kaiser's book. For fans of Oliver Stone's movie JFK (1991) and JFK assassination junkies, the book is the latest--and perhaps best--view of the historic event. (Roman Modrowski Chicago Sun-Times 2008-03-23)

In The Road to Dallas we see the rare vindication of the lunatic fringe, as Kaiser--who teaches history at the Naval War College--puts forth the first serious historical study to confirm what we've long suspected: that JFK's killing was not the work of a lone madman. Comprehensive and well documented, The Road to Dallas connects the dots from the CIA to Carlos Marcello with convincing thoroughness. If you think you've had enough of grassy-knoll theories, this book will surprise you. (Leopold Froehlich Playboy 2008-04-01)

Historian David Kaiser's meticulously researched new work, The Road to Dallas, about the shocking and clandestine maneuverings of our CIA and FBI under President John F. Kennedy, paints a disturbing portrait of what often goes undetected at the highest levels of government...Kaiser's investigation seems to put to rest the long-held notion put forth by the Warren Report that Oswald acted alone and was simply a nutty gunman. He examines new evidence that lays out Oswald's extensive entanglements with suspicious persons prior to the assassination...Kaiser's fine book destroys any romantic view of world politics we might wish to cling to--and shows us a much darker reality. (Elaine Margolin Denver Post 2008-04-04)

A most interesting book on the JFK killing--much better than almost all the rest...It is 509 pages long, costs $35, and is well worth the time and money...[The] trove of official material has been sifted by some (not as many as one might expect) writers and historians in the intervening years, but by none exhibiting Kaiser‘s dogged approach, application of logic, clear writing style, understandable presentation and impressive analytical ability...This is a dynamite book--understandable, readable and as vivid as the best crime novels. Only this hit job happened. And it changed our world. (John Hanchette Niagara Falls Reporter 2008-07-01)

We may yet one day discover a "smoking gun" that makes all other theories fall away. Until then, Kaiser's book may rise to be the most plausible explanation we are likely to read. (Richard Delevan Irish Independent 2008-06-28)

Kaiser, a respected professional historian at the Naval War College, combed through mounds of previously classified documents to craft an interesting, well-written account of the days leading up to the assassination. Kaiser effectively places the events that transpired in Dallas within the context of contemporary politics. He masterfully tracks the administration's vendetta against organized crime and the numerous Kennedy-era assassination plots against Fidel Castro. The author lucidly argues that the assassination, although carried out by Lee Harvey Oswald, was the culmination of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's crusade against the mob. While this conspiracy theory is not new, the supporting documentation and the captivating account laid out by an established historian makes for some fascinating reading. (J. B. Cook Choice 2009-02-01)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; First Edition edition (March 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674027663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674027664
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Eric Lund on May 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I decided to take this book with me on a long 9 hour flight to Hawaii. Big mistake. I don't profess to be an expert but I have read at least 50 books on the assasination and this one ranks among those that were quite unsatisfying. My frustration stemmed from the author going page after page with good reserach and then seemingly summing up an assumed conclusion in a sentence or two, to which I'm saying to myself "that doesn't make any sense". In fact I'm not sure what exactly the point of the entire book is. He seems to imply that LH Oswald was the lone gunman but he didn't act alone.

From my perspective, he never persuades me on this point. In fact from the evidence set out in this book, one more likely would come to the conclusion that Oswald was being manipulaed by others to be "the patsy". No one who sets out to prove the "conspiracy but lone shooter scenerio" ever seems to ever have an answer for the question of why you would choose as your shooter...an unstable, unreliable poor shot...and arm him with a joke of a rifle. It simply does not make any sense.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful By MT57 on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I haven't read that many books on the subject but have always tended to believe it was a setup of some kind involving the mob and someone else. Principal reasons being Ruby's killing Oswald, and the murders of prime Mob suspects in 1975 during the Congressional investigation.

Now the review:

This book is painstakingly researched. The accumulation of detail makes for a difficult read for a while. It could have used an editor in the early chapters. For example, the minor figure Irving Davidson is introduced three times by his full name with a brief biographic sentence.

Toward the end, it really picks up speed. The week of the assassination reads quite well and conveys many convincing details.

The author - who teaches at the Naval War College - has apparently picked up the work of certain investigators on the 1970's Congressional investigation and I imagine they provided some direction to his efforts. They are cited in the book from time to time. The data in this volume, however, is not a pure rehash. It includes some recently declassified CIA documents. The evidence is utterly circumstantial, and there is of course no smoking gun or the book would have a lot more publicity. Every once in a while the author's speculation went past my threshold of credulity. I think he fails to recognize the healthy possibility that in the hysteria of the aftermath of the assassination there were many people who, like Catholics who convince themselves of apparitions of the Blessed Mother, convinced themselves of having seen Oswald or Ruby or that they heard someone make a veiled reference to plans for the assassination.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Boyce Hart on June 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is lopsided. Some highly questionable conclusions are just accepted wholesale without any discussion of contradictory evidence. Other parts about relations between the CIA and Mafia do provide fresh insight, but there attempts to put these insights into context seem arbitrary, and based on a fixed idea that the mob done it.
Unconvincing.

A much better book is James W. Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. This one is not only a game-changer; if enough people read it it could prove a world changer. This is the best answer yet, to
left-liberal critics at the Nation Magazine who argue that JFK was just another Cold Warrior. It ansers this critique so thoroughly because it meets it head onJFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Frank McGeachy on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Kaiser did a scholarly, though at times jumbled, job of tracing the development of the anti-Castro activity of the Mafia, Cuban exiles, and the CIA in the years immediately prior to November 22, 1963. This makes the book a worthwhile acquisition. It's a shame he sloughed over the assassination itself. He is blissfully unaware of the underlying physics issues of the best evidence. His work will remain frustratingly incomplete until these issues are addressed adequately.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Labamigo on December 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book let me down. It is obvious the author spent considerable time researching the topic. He spends well over 100 pages detailing the CIA/MOB plots to take out Castro, something which has been generally known and accepted for 30 years or more. He evidences no curiosity about the many loose ends of the Warren Report. For example, he accepts at face value the 3 stories which cirulated in Dallas immediately after the assassination about Oswald: the rifle range story, the car salesman story and the furniture store story. Even the Warren Commission thought these were all cases of mistaken identity and that the real LHO was not a participant in any of those occurrences. The WC dismissed the stories. On the other hand, some researchers think the incidents happened, and since the evidence places LHO at other locations on those days, those researchers speculate that the person was an Oswald imposter. The author of this book swallows them whole. The only thing of real interest here, and which is barely mentioned in passing, is the speculation that a DPD detective, a good friend of Ruby's, was invovled in the LHO killing. Now THAT would make a good book.
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