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The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Hardcover – March 31, 2008
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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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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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One of the other things I really didn't like about the book was that it was so wishy-washy. In one sentence he would basically say that the evidence shows there is no way something could have happened, but in the next sentence, he would say that he thought the opposite. It was just a little confusing to read some many contradictions.
I can't say that I would recommend reading this book. There are a few good points that were made, but there were too many negatives for me to think this was a book worth reading.
aware of. Please inform me when a book is published
regarding the death of Bobby Kennedy.
Kaiser makes many fantastic claims, such as Oswald's involvement with anti-Castro Cubans indicating "that he had been recruited to travel to Cuba and assassinate Fidel Castro..." He claims that Kennedy never accepted Castro's regime in Cuba and was determined to remove it, and downplays the back-channel talks going on with Havana in the last months of his life. Kaiser also does his best to avoid bringing the CIA into the story at any point in Oswald's life and activities. Kaiser thinks that all of the Oswald impersonations in the months before the assassination were actually Oswald, despite the evidence that Oswald was known to be elsewhere on those occasions. He relies on the now-discredited neutron activation tests done by the government to "prove" Oswald's guilt, as well as the work of the HSCA's Thomas Canning without revealing that he had to move the back wound up into the neck (after the medical panel had moved it down into the back) to "prove" the single bullet theory.
Anna Kasten Nelson of the Assassination Records Review Board "has also been an enthusiastic supporter of this project [Kaiser's book]." Nelson is an establishment historian, like Kaiser, so not surprisingly they can't accept the paradigm that Oswald was set up to look like the gunman, but did not actually fire the shots.
Kaiser appears in a new documentary by Shane O'Sullivan, KILLING OSWALD. I do agree with some of his views - particularly that Oswald was engaged in some kind of COINTELPRO work in New Orleans, and that the plotters wanted Oswald to disappear so he could appear to be hiding in Cuba and thus force the new President to invade the country.