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Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK Paperback – September 27, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. There has been a long hiatus in significant books on the JFK assassination since Gerald Posner's Case Closed argued in 1993 that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Posner took the CIA's lack of involvement for granted, and that, according to this mammoth and painstakingly researched account, was a big mistake. It is Waldron and Hartmann's (The Edison Gene) contention—bolstered by access to many previously unavailable files, and interviews with little-known as well as prominent figures—that the CIA knew a great deal about the assassination. But the agency couldn't admit what it knew because that could uncover the existence of a U.S. plan for a coup in Cuba, run by JFK's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The assassination, say the authors, was carried out by hired gunmen on the orders of three noted Mafia dons whose lives were being made miserable by RFK's ruthless pursuit—and these Mafia men knew about the planned invasion because they had worked with the CIA on previous efforts to topple Castro. Oswald, long a hidden CIA agent, was set up as the patsy, and it had always been Jack Ruby's job to eliminate him if he wasn't killed at the scene of Kennedy's shooting. How do the authors make their case? With a relentless accumulation of detail, a very thorough knowledge of every political and forensic detail and the broad perspective of historians rather than assassination theorists. They spend perhaps too much time with people they admire, like the late Enrique Ruiz Williams, who was a crucial early source for them. They also cannot resist chasing stories of only marginal relevance to their principal one, like what really happened to Che Guevara in Cuba. But no future historian of that tormented period in American history will be able to ignore their very convincing presentation, even if a lay reader may feel overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the evidence. B&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lamar Waldron's groundbreaking research has been cited in media outlets ranging from Vanity Fair and The New Republic to the History Channel and USA Today. His work has been acknowledged by authors such as Anthony Summers and Gus Russo, historians like Dr. John Newman and John H. Davis, and former goverment investigators Gaeton Fonzi and FBI veteran WIlliam Turner. Waldron received both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Georgia State University and lives in Atlanta.

Thon Hartmann is the award-winning, best-selling author of fourteen books currently in print in over a dozen languages. An internationally known speaker, his most recent books are The Edison Gene, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Unequal Protection, We the People: A Call to take Back America, and What Would Jefferson Do? His nationally syndicated radio show is currently on Air America and Sirius Satellite Radio.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf; Updated edition (September 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786718323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786718320
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,058,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Im not a conspiracy buff my any means but a few things about the JFK assassination have always bothered me. First, why did the Secret Service simply take the day off? Second, I don't buy the scenairo where a 24-year-old loser with a bolt action el cheapo rifle and no marksmanship ability hits a moving target at better than 50 yards. It takes skill to do that. Third, Oswald couldn't drive and did not own a car, so how was he the man taking potshots at General Edwin Walker? If you are looking for information about those kinds of things, you won't find it in this book. "Ultimate Sacrifice" is a thoroughly researched and well-documented book which details the planning inside the White House to assassinate Fidel Castro. It is the best work on the Kennedy assassination's Cuban/Mafia connection to date. It is lengthy and there are alot of names and dates to keep straight, so it's not an easy read by any means. If you have been interested in the assasination for some time, this book will provide a few "a-has". This book will not reveal who the men in the shadows were that day, but it does shed some light on why they were there.
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Format: Hardcover
This book presents, logically and with excellent documentation, a great deal of new and relevant material in the JFK case, making this book well worth while. Rather than elaborating on that point, however, I'd like to lay out a few problems with its basic conclusion--that the mafia was responsible for JFK's death. The problems include the following:

1. The discussion of individuals like Banister, Martino, and Morales provides a lot of good information about them and their activities. But, all were involved with various organizations other than the mafia. So why conclude that they were acting on behalf of the mafia?

2. There is a lot of interesting information about David Atlee Phillips and his activities, but to fit the mafia conclusion, it is stated that Phillips' activities were somehow (not clear how) manipulated by the mafia. Seems unlikely.

3. Oswald is said to have been in Mexico City seeking a visa to Cuba as part of a US government plot to kill Castro, with Oswald having some undefined role in that plot. The evidence, documented in Norman Mailer's non-fiction work, Oswald's Tale, that months before that Oswald was seriously considering hijacking a plane to get to Cuba, is ignored in this book. That prior indication of Oswald's desperation to go to Cuba, for personal reasons since no US government mission would attempt to get him to Cuba via a hijacking, would seem to refute the notion of Oswald's motivation provided here. A simple personal motivation would also better explain Oswald's behavior documented by Nechiporenko in Passport to Assassination.

4. I don't really understand the reasoning that the US government covered up the JFK case because mafia figures knew about the planned operations against Cuba.
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Format: Hardcover
"Ultimate Sacrifice"'s authors Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann should be commended with a Pulitzer Prie for his amazing work. After all these many years we finally have the definitive story, backed with facts (not fiction or theories or crapola), about how and why JFK died that terrible day in Dallas. This book also briliantly tells the story of the Kennedy brothers involvement in C-Day, the coup to oust Castro in the fall/ winter of 1963 (it is ironic that Castro is still alive, but I digress). My shelves are bulging with books on this subject that I now have half a mind to just throw away (or sell on here haha)-"Ultimate Sacrifice" tells all and answers all regarding 11/22/63 and the brothers Kennedy (and their obsession with Castro/ Cuba). To say that this book is a must-have is an understatement. I am now in the process of rereading it-it gets even better all the time.

A very satisfied reader

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

(a Browns fan all the way haha)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ultimate Sacrifice is a quantum leap toward uncovering what happened prior to and on Nov. 22, 1963. The reasearch done by Waldron over the last 17 years, especially after the release of documents precipitated by the movie JFK in 1992, is thorough and convincing. Waldron interviewed many of the participants and spent days pouring over newspaper microfiche in his effort to uncover the truth.

Waldron presents information in easy to follow pieces, developing a clear and convincing argument for involvement of the CIA with the Mafia in a program that Bobby Kennedy, representing JFK, had ordered stopped. I am left with the awareness of a renegade CIA refusing to follow orders from the President himself.

What impressed me is the message I perceived from Waldron's nonjudgmental reporting, that the Kennedy brothers truly cared about what happened to the Cubans and wanted them to have a fair and democratic government.

Ultimate Sacrifice is well documented and well indexed. I appreciate the attention to detail that went into its production.

I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a close look at the inner workings of government and a clear understanding of how things can go wrong even with the motive is pure.
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