Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
Everything that you, or anyone else, ever wanted to know about Lee Harvey Oswald
on June 24, 2012
This book's contribution appears to be that it compiles almost everything that is known outside of Russia and Cuba about Lee Harvey Oswald. There has always been something screwy about the fact that the man who shot John F. Kennedy was an American who had defected to Russia. This is obviously a spectacularly rare kind of person, and this fact has spawned an infinite number of conspiracy theories.
While this book occasionally bogs down in tedious detail about Oswald's life, it is insightful in a very subtle way -- it gives the reader some idea what Oswald was actually like. This in turn allows the reader to make his or her own judgment as to whether Oswald was acting under the control of an external power or agency, or was acting on his own. Spoiler alert -- I will give my own opinion in the next portion of this review. While I do not think that these comments will spoil the book for anyone, my review policy generally is to eschew spoilers.
In my opinion, the evidence in this book makes it almost certain that Oswald, at one time or another, was intended by the Soviets to be a tool for Soviet espionage against the United States. This explains the somewhat lavish lifestyle that it allowed Oswald while he lived in Russia, as well as the relative ease with which Oswald returned to the USA and the fact that the Russians allowed his new Russian wife to return with him. (It was notorious that the Russians rarely allowed Soviet spouses of Westerners to leave Russia.) Oswald had associations with probable Soviet agents once he returned to America, and he and his wife lived a strange, lie-infested lifestyle that was frankly bizarre. The reader will lose track of how many times the Oswalds tried to inflict Marina Oswald on some hapless friend or other as a semi-permanent houseguest on pretexts that were straight lies.
This book sets forth facts that suggest to me that Oswald did not remain under Soviet control once he returned to the United States. He appears to have "gone rogue" and committed numerous acts which cannot have been at the direction of the Soviets. One spectacular example is the fairly well-documented fact that Oswald tried to shoot right-wing extremist General Walker. On the other hand, the possibility exists that Oswald was acting under Cuban direction to shoot President Kennedy, although my own opinion is that he did this on his own in the belief that this was what the Cubans wanted, as revenge for the US government's attempts at assassinating Fidel Castro. If this is true, then the Warren Commission's conclusion is essentially correct.
Quite appropriately in my view, the book concludes by focusing on the Yuri Nosenko affair. Nosenko was ostensibly a defector to the CIA from the Soviet KGB. He adamantly reported that the KGB had no connection with Oswald or involvement in the Kennedy assassination. For a very long time the CIA believed Nosenko was a false defector and Soviet disinformation agent. Later the CIA and FBI did an abrupt about-face and concluded that Nosenko was genuine. Today, most experts seem to believe that Nosenko was in fact a fake defector and Soviet disinformation agent. This book reaches that conclusion with which I concur. This does not mean that the Soviets were controlling Oswald at the time he assassinated the President. It does suggest that the Soviets were morbidly (and rationally) afraid of being tarred with the brush of their own previous involvement with Oswald.
Overall, this is a pretty readable book that probably will satisfy most anyone's curiosity about the bizarre life of Lee Harvey Oswald. It does not answer all questions about the Kennedy Assassination, but nothing seems likely to ever do that. I will say that this book does a better job than most in supporting the ultimate conclusions of the Warren Commission. Recommended. RJB.