124 of 133 people found the following review helpful
A force to be reckoned with, but some hyperbole,
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This review is from: Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK (Hardcover)
I have always respected Mark Lane and his writing. He is very good at what he does, and his JFK books are nothing short of awesome. This one is no exception. People have said other things, so I'll do 3 good, 3 bad observations. Make no mistake, EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. But go in with eyes open. First, the really good:
1) This is a book for every level of JFK assassination knowledge, from total novice to full-on conspiracy theorist. Clearly written, fun, not bogged down with too many footnotes, it is an easier read than most JFK assassination books. Yet, it has some new information, like Mr. Lane's relationship with forming the House Select Committee on Assassinations and how the HSCA blew its mandate and screwed up.
2) The MK/ULTRA stuff was not weighty and seemed appropriate and necessary for the discussion of how the CIA killed JFK. It was also done quickly enough that it didn't get bogged down, yet it contributed greatly to his points.
3) He cites to a number of other works, all good, that further the discussion, and expands on the clear deficiencies of the Warren Report, which he seems to have memorized. The first half of the book is well footnoted, yet not too much to bog it down.
Now the not so good:
1) Those wonderful footnotes disappear halfway through the book. He makes a number of assertions that, although I know them to be documented elsewhere and easily proven (though requiring some discussion and citations), that have zero footnotes. He also cites to woefully too few other fine books out there that prove his points. It leaves the impression that Mark Lane has not read some of the better books from the last 20 years, which might be the case. This hurts his credibility when he complains, correctly, about Bugliosi's deceitful footnotes in Rewriting (sic) History. This also gives readers new to the genre the impression that he is hiding something, which he isn't.
2) Why didn't the great Mark Lane even MENTION the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB)? I have a guess - he is old, he disengaged quite a bit after his civil trial, where he defended the Liberty Lobby, the precursor to American Spectator magazine (Bane of Bill Clinton in the 1990's - politics makes starnge bedfellows, doesn't it?) in a defamation suit for claiming that E. Howard Hunt was one of JFK's killers. In that suit Lane essentially proved that E. Howard Hunt was a liar, and was quite possibly one of JFK's assassins, and was able to actually depose witnesses, call witnesses at trial, and have them testify under oath. Witnesses testifying under oath, called by someone trying to prove that JFK was killed by someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald, is something that the JFK case has seen too little of, and hadn't happened since the Clay Shaw trial. Mr. Lane documented this trial very well in his last book, Plausible Denial, which us actually a little better than this book. But writers like James Di Eugenio, William Davy, Joan Mellon, and many others have done a great job of integrating what the ARRB added to the field. Likewise the ARRB removed redactions from thousands of documents that had been examined by the Warren Commission, as well as the HSCA. In particular, a LOT of HSCA still remained classified prior to the ARRB - the ARRB released plenty of these documents, and removed many, many redactions from previously released documents. Yes, Mark Lane got his own treasure trove of documents through countless contested Freedom of Information Act requests. But the ARRB got a lot if stuff as well, especially otherwise secret stuff that the Warren Commission AND the HSCA hid or screwed up simply ignored.
3) His arrogance is palpable throughout the book. Yes, he was the first publisher of Warren criticism. Yes, he was the first Warren critic of importance, and he even testified before the Warren Commission. He has earned his place in history. But it wears thin at times, and his Pollyanna idealism gets in the way of a better product. The sense of moral outrage is real, but it gets a little heavy at times.
I cannot recommend thus book strongly enough. It is an excellent and concise summary of the case with an excellent integration of what has happened since. It is also very personal, detailing how the CIA tried, unsuccessfully, to silence him. His clarion call to action will hopefully find a new audience with the 99% movement.
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Showing 1-10 of 40 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 10, 2011 9:24:45 AM PST
Dale Thorn says:
Thanks for a good alternative to the usual laudatory-only review. This gives me a much clearer picture of the book and the author.
Posted on Jan 3, 2012 11:09:21 AM PST
Shelton F. Lankford says:
This is an honest review. I commend Mr. Wilkins for including a critical appraisal that I personally believe to err on the side of hyper-criticality, but it's a matter of taste. I found this work more of a personal statement than a scholarly treatise. I imagine Lane to be a bit weary of repeatedly footnoting things he has been carrying around in his head for four decades. I enjoyed the conversational style of the book and the willingness to call a spade what it is. Mark Lane comes through the pages of this book as a decent human being who can still show deep emotion about a horrendous crime against everything held dear by patriotic Americans. It makes an excellent companion to "JFK and the Unspeakable", which is of equal quality but focused more on the why factor than the who and how. We are still paying the price for our failure to hold our government to account for the murder of JFK, and we are making a similar mistake currently by letting the crimes of 9/11 and its aftermath go unchallenged and unpunished. Our children and theirs will pay the price for that one.
Posted on May 15, 2012 7:24:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2012 7:27:29 AM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 8:00:33 AM PDT
Dale Thorn says:
I'm intimately familiar with the John Judge/Mae Brussell milieu - they did some great work, no doubt about it. But to dismiss Lane's victory over the CIA in a real trial in the USA as inconsequential, or that the CIA deliberately outed itself as Kennedy's murderer in that trial is at best missing the point. Given that Marina was a close relative of a high-ranking KGB officer and that Oswald was duly processed through the Soviet bureaucracy when he was returning to the U.S., it makes absolutely no sense that the Soviets would simply stand by and "allow" her to be rescued. The only explanation for Oswald on both sides of the Iron Curtain is that he provided an important service to both sides, and Marina was just one token of appreciation for his work. As to Nazis, Mark Lane being the liberal Jew that he really is(!) - I don't think he missed even one of those little rats no matter where they hid. And lastly, the Nazi influence doesn't start from the bottom up in this case anyway, it starts with guys like John J. McCloy and Averell Harriman, Rockefeller and Dulles, etc. I'm frankly amazed that Lane got a few of those CIA guys to testify anywhere, in trial or even by deposition. Now you didn't really expect Lane to get McCloy or Dulles on the stand, did you?
In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 8:39:21 AM PDT
Posted on Jun 28, 2012 11:55:12 AM PDT
Ralph Yates says:
Those criticisms are trivial, gratuitous and unnecessary in my opinion.
Posted on Jul 10, 2012 3:41:21 PM PDT
Carl R. Weis says:
This reviewer should proofread his own critique. Typos are many and grammar is awful.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 3:49:14 PM PDT
Yes, so therfore there iz none cospraci :-)
Posted on Nov 26, 2012 4:32:54 PM PST
A. Behrends says:
Arrogance? Maybe, but I think it more likely a kind of fatigue at having to repeat himself so often and deal with questions and challenges long ago dealt with. I've not read this particular book, but have 3 other books by Lane and have never thought him the arrogant type. I've been waiting for reviews of this book and it is, of course, a must-read. Thanks for the review!
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 11:06:11 AM PST
Alexander J. Marciniszyn says:
Thank you for a thoughtful review. Despite the missing footnotes, anyone who wishes to go a little further in the JFK assassination, like myself, should be encouraged that Mr. Lane is still keeping an issue of great importance to most Americans in the front and center, and exposing misleading authors.