Assassinations / General

Blumenthal, Sid and Yazijian, Harvey, eds. Government by Gunplay: Assassinations Conspiracy Theories from Dallas to Today. Introduction by Philip Agee. New York: Signet Books, 1976. 266 pages.

This anthology contains the following essays: "A New Look at the Zapruder Film" by Robert Groden (pages 3-9); "Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald" by Bob Katz (pages 10-27); "Who Killed Robert Kennedy" by Allard Lowenstein (pages 28-37); "The Assassination of Martin Luther King" by Jeff Cohen (pages 38-56); "The Shooting of George Wallace" by William W. Turner (pages 57-67); "Cointelpro: How the FBI Tried to Destroy the Black Panthers" by Sid Blumenthal (pages 68-92); "Some Unsolved Break-ins, 1970- 1974" by Robert Fink (pages 93-110); "From Dallas to Watergate" by Peter Dale Scott (pages 113-129); "Richard M. Nixon and Organized Crime" by Jeff Gerth (pages 130-151); "The Death of Kennedy and the Vietnam War" by Peter Dale Scott (pages 152-187); "Presidential Assassinations and the Closing of the Frontier" by Carl Oglesby (pages 188-207); "The Second Dallas Casualty: The Media and the Assassination of Truth" by Jerry Policoff (pages 208-230); "The Origins of Clandestinism and the CIA" by L. Fletcher Prouty (pages 231-242); "The Rockefeller Commission" by Sid Blumenthal (pages 243-249); and "Assassination Information Bureau Position Paper" (pages 253-262), by a group whose efforts helped lead to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976.

DiEugenio, James and Pease, Lisa, eds. The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X. Los Angeles: Feral House, 2003. 677 pages.

The only surprise when Oliver Stone's "JFK" movie appeared in December 1991, was that the media began bashing it in unison six months earlier -- before anyone had seen the movie! Major media are supposed to feign objectivity, because it makes their unsuspecting audience feel better. But in this case their marching orders were clear and they couldn't contain themselves. Despite this, Stone's movie revitalized interest in research for a time. New evidence emerged, partly because Congress passed a law that declassified many additional documents. By now, of course, the major media lost interest -- they had already declared that Oliver Stone was the man with the tin-foil hat.

The journal Probe, put out by the editors of this book, was one of the better efforts during the 1990s. Unfortunately, it was also obscure. This is a collection of essays, most of which were written for Probe, on the four major assassinations. It's the best overview of the current state of research on these topics to appear in the last ten years. In particular, the essay by James W. Douglas titled "The Murder and Martyrdom of Malcolm X" is notable because this assassination has not been covered as well as JFK, RFK, and MLK. All together, this volume is important because it pulls together information that is becoming increasingly difficult to collect.

Oglesby, Carl. The Yankee and Cowboy War: Conspiracies from Dallas to Watergate. Kansas City: Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1976. 355 pages.

Two books in NameBase, "Yankee and Cowboy War" by Carl Oglesby and "Power Shift" by Kirkpatrick Sale, are based on a single premise -- that there has been a more-or-less conscious shift in the source of American ruling-class power during the postwar period. The Southern Rim (roughly the states or portions of states south of a line drawn across the country from North Carolina to just north of San Francisco) is challenging the traditional control of the Eastern Establishment (Chicago, New York, Boston, and points between). Sale uses this hook to analyze economic and electoral changes, while Oglesby develops a rough handle to link the JFK assassination and Watergate. Both books are solid and valuable, although this pet premise isn't necessary to either.

Oglesby is perhaps the most capable theorist and prose stylist to emerge out of the New Left. Though I agree that Dallas and Watergate involved conspiracy and cover-up at some level, I'm not convinced that the conspirators are agents of a conscious struggle between Yankees and Cowboys. The book is essential despite this, and offers excellent commentary on Reinhard Gehlen, the Bay of Pigs, the Howard Hughes connection, the plane crash that killed Dorothy Hunt, and James McCord as a probable double agent. -- D.Brandt

Scott, Peter Dale; Hoch, Paul L.; and Stetler, Russell. The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond -- A Guide to Cover-ups and Investigations. New York: Vintage Books, 1976. 556 pages.

This collection of 40 essays includes many of the major writers on assassinations. Mark Lane, Sylvia Meagher, James Lesar, David Lifton, Cyril H. Wecht, William Turner, and David W. Belin cover various aspects of the JFK assassination, from the physical evidence to eyewitnesses, and from the murder of Tippet to the Garrison investigation. Peter Dale Scott contributes a 40-page study of Kennedy's intention to pull out of Vietnam, as well as another essay on the connections between Dallas and Watergate. George O'Toole and Bernard Fensterwald look at the "second Oswald" with an eye on the CIA and ONI, while Paul L. Hoch monitors the CIA's relationship with the Warren Commission.

Wayne Chastain and Harold Weisberg weigh in on the Martin Luther King assassination, and Robert Blair Kaiser, Betsy Langman, and Alexander Cockburn discuss Robert Kennedy and Sirhan's gun. Gore Vidal is suspicious of the attempt against George Wallace.

A final section reprints the chapter from the 1975 Rockefeller Commission report that treated and dismissed some of the CIA connections with the JFK assassination. This is followed by criticisms from Paul Hoch.

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