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Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation And Why Hardcover – October 4, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This meticulous but tendentious dissection of the official JFK assassination probe commits the very sins it condemns. Historian McKnight (The Last Crusade: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the FBI and the Poor People's Campaign) argues that the commission embraced the politically safe lone-gunman theory from the outset and therefore slanted its investigation, ignored crucial leads and discounted contradictory evidence and witnesses. Examining mountains of documents, McKnight presents a well-researched, if dense and disjointed, indictment of a biased and sloppy commission and an obstructionist FBI. He interprets the errors and irregularities as the cover-up of a conspiracy, as he revisits such conspiracist touchstones as the Zapruder film, the position of Kennedy's neck wound, the single-bullet theory and the "false Oswald" reports. Insisting on Oswald's innocence, he floats the far-fetched conjecture that "CIA hardliners" killed Kennedy and implicated Fidel Castro in the murder as a pretext for war against Cuba. By restricting his discussion largely to Warren Commission findings, McKnight sidesteps later research supporting the Oswald-acted-alone scenario, particularly Gerald Posner's 1993 study Case Closed, which answered most of his objections and remains the best account of the assassination. 21 b&w photos.
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Important and scrupulously researched. . . . Provides a chilling and convincing rebuttal to Gerald Posner's lone gunman, no conspiracy account. -- Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (October 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700613900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700613908
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. W. LeCloux on October 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In his preface McKnight thanks Harold Weisberg, the dean of assassination critics who passed on in 2002. McKnight's volume presents many of the approaches to the evidence established in Weisberg's writings dating back to 1965.
McKnight essentially relies on Warren Commission evidence to devastate the claim---by the Warren Commission---that only LHO was involved in the JFK assassination. In this sense his work is similar to Professor David R. Wrone, Howard Roffman and Sylvia Meagher. All of these authors use mainly the official findings to disprove the official conclusions. For the most part this small group of critics has been ignored by the mainstream media and defenders of the official fiction.
They maintain that there were two conspiracies. One killed Kennedy and the other failed to properly investigate the crime.
There are dozens of gems in this book which destroy the official findings. Most of them are ignored by defenders of the official theory.
Here, I'll list just six:

1. The results of the tests on LHO's cheek and hands are that he fired no rifle on November 22. McKnight takes the reader through all of the available official documentation to support this fact. Those who continue to support the Warren Commission findings must ignore alot of evidence to claim Oswald fired the Mannlicher Carcano.
2. The time reconstructions of Oswald's movements along with the eyewitness evidence shows that LHO cannot have been the shooter and been where we know he was shortly after the assassination. McKnight cites the witnesses who did not see---but should have seen LHO---coming down the stairwell if he was the shooter. Oswald's alibi was first carefully laid out in full detail by Howard Roffman in his excellent Presumed Guilty volume of 1975.
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Format: Hardcover
Too many books on the JFK assassination get sidetracked by the many false leads there to tempt sober analysis. This remarkable addition to the literature is unique for its restraint, refusal to indulge in speculation, and careful focus on what can be documented, and no more. There were really two conspiracies, that of the Warren commision, and the conspiracy they stumbled on half-consciously but refused to pursue. Since their agenda was fixed in advance, making the 'lone nut' interpretation a foregone conclusion, the whole investigation was bogus. Many previous writers have gotten this far and confused this with the indirect, but very strong evidence of the other conspiracy. But as the author notes there is no smoking gun, only the many discrepancies in the evidence, and the transparnt deceptions in the way the initial investigation was carried out. The author's slow but steady pursuit of the basic deception of the Commission is convincing and manages to avoid the traps that have claimed too many previous efforts in this field. Everytime you think this field has reached its limits another book reopens the whole can of worms. Well done.
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Format: Hardcover
This book roots in a majesterial examination of the documentary records of the Warren Commission and the FBI, a product of careful, hard work conducted over the decades of the type seldom met with in most histories today and rarely in the JFK inquiry. In addition it is well written. The results are devatating to the coverup inflicted upon the American people by the Warren Commission. It should be noted that four of the members of the Warren commission did not believe their own Report, nor did LBJ, the District Attorney of Dallas, the Police Chief of DAllas and even the FBI and the Secret Service--as the documentary record shows beyond cavil. Russell and Cooper, members of the WC, did not believe the SBT, for example, and left records to the fact. Further, interviews with the head of the Secret Service and Warren Commission records prove the Commission and its staff saw the X-rays and medical photographs, some as early as December 1963. It is unquestionable that the WC and its chief counsel Rankin early on [January, 1964] worked with this knowledge, e.g. Jan. 22 executive session of the WC. To argue otherwise is blindly to accept and faithfully to reiterate the political devices employed by investigators as they realized late in their investigation that they had to coverup their nefarious actions and leave a pious paper file that to scholars is further affirmation of their failure. Breach of Trust's objective and scholarly presentation will assist the reader to understand the workings of the WC and lead an inquiring mind to the light. McKNight's unique book ought to become the standard reference to the crime for decades to come.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A much-needed addition to the JFK Assassination litterature, and the kind of book that should be required reading for all those who still cling to the "Lone-Nut" theory.

Now this is not your average conspiracy book.You won't find here any confession by an alledged participant in the crime, or any sensational claim by untill-then unknown witness.

The author's specific focus is the Warren Commission, its inner working and its relations with the investigative agencies (mainly the FBI and the Secret Service)and representatives of the Government.

Only in the last 5 pages does the author give us his own interpretation of the wealth of data that he has presented in the book, which focuses exclusively on reconstructing complicated paper trail of apparently innocuous documents and establishing decision making timelines.

And if you think (like I did) that this must make for some quite unexciting read, be prepared for a real surprise...

Though serious researchers will probably not find anything new in the book as far as information is concerned, the specific angle of the author's research has the immense merit to bring new shine to old data. And the facts, as they say, are stubborn.

The political bias that subverted the WC working is dully detailled and exposed. The ominous poker game between the FBI, the CIA and the Commission regarding crucial elements of the assassination record is irrefutably documented and takes on even more sinister undertones.

And the "Journal de Bord" of the day-to-day progress of the investigation does make for interesting reading.

Hard-core Lone Nuttists (yes, everybody can play that game...
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