Have you read The Road to Dallas, Bigun? I have it and started it, but I've been so distracted with work I haven't really gotten into it yet.......... but in line with your comments:http://www.amazon.com/Road-Dallas-Assassination-John-Kennedy/dp/0674034724
Publication Date: November 30, 2009
Neither a random event nor the act of a lone madman—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was an appalling and grisly conspiracy. This is the unvarnished story.
With deft investigative skill, David Kaiser shows that the events of November 22, 1963, cannot be understood without fully grasping the two larger stories of which they were a part: the U.S. government’s campaign against organized crime, which began in the late 1950s and accelerated dramatically under Robert Kennedy; and the furtive quest of two administrations—along with a cadre of private interest groups—to eliminate Fidel Castro.
The seeds of conspiracy go back to the Eisenhower administration, which recruited top mobsters in a series of plots to assassinate the Cuban leader. The CIA created a secretive environment in which illicit networks were allowed to expand in dangerous directions. The agency’s links with the Mafia continued in the Kennedy administration, although the President and his closest advisors—engaged in their own efforts to overthrow Castro—thought this skullduggery had ended. Meanwhile, Cuban exiles, right-wing businessmen, and hard-line anti-Communists established ties with virtually anyone deemed capable of taking out the Cuban premier. Inevitably those ties included the mob.
The conspiracy to kill JFK took shape in response to Robert Kennedy’s relentless attacks on organized crime—legal vendettas that often went well beyond the normal practices of law enforcement. Pushed to the wall, mob leaders merely had to look to the networks already in place for a solution. They found it in Lee Harvey Oswald—the ideal character to enact their desperate revenge against the Kennedys.
Comprehensive, detailed, and informed by original sources, The Road to Dallas adds surprising new material to every aspect of the case. It brings to light the complete, frequently shocking, story of the JFK assassination and its aftermath.
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.)
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.
Finally a historian, without preconceptions, has looked at the voluminous, once secret documents produced by the CIA, the FBI, and other government agencies in response to the JFK Assassination Records Act of 1992. Kaiser's nuanced conclusions on Oswald's guilt and the ominous issue of conspiracy will command respect from even those who disagree with them. Comprehensive, beautifully crafted, and well-reasoned. An essential addition to the JFK corpus.
--G. Robert Blakey, Notre Dame Law School, and former Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations
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) 20071126)
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 20080101)
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) 20080201)
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 20080323)
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 20080401)
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 20080404)
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 20080701)
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 20080628)
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 20090201)
Thorough, best is at the end April 13, 2008
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Full disclosure: I haven't read that many books on the subject but have always tended to believe it was a setup of some kind involving the mob and someone else. Principal reasons being Ruby's killing Oswald, and the murders of prime Mob suspects in 1975 during the Congressional investigation.
Now the review:
This book is painstakingly researched. The accumulation of detail makes for a difficult read for a while. It could have used an editor in the early chapters. For example, the minor figure Irving Davidson is introduced three times by his full name with a brief biographic sentence.
Toward the end, it really picks up speed. The week of the assassination reads quite well and conveys many convincing details.
The author - who teaches at the Naval War College - has apparently picked up the work of certain investigators on the 1970's Congressional investigation and I imagine they provided some direction to his efforts. They are cited in the book from time to time. The data in this volume, however, is not a pure rehash. It includes some recently declassified CIA documents. The evidence is utterly circumstantial, and there is of course no smoking gun or the book would have a lot more publicity. Every once in a while the author's speculation went past my threshold of credulity. I think he fails to recognize the healthy possibility that in the hysteria of the aftermath of the assassination there were many people who, like Catholics who convince themselves of apparitions of the Blessed Mother, convinced themselves of having seen Oswald or Ruby or that they heard someone make a veiled reference to plans for the assassination.
Midway through the book, I was losing confidence in my own beliefs as it didn't seem the details were adding up to anything at all. The author speculates Oswald may have been a double agent for the CIA - his pro-Castro public persona is suggested to be a cover for an attempt by someone, presumably the CIA, to introduce him into Cuba to shoot Castro. I didn't find that all that compelling as there is no rational explanation how he then goes off and shoots JFK.
Still, the details that come from more reliable sources, like telephone records, and so forth, eventually become compelling. And once Oswald goes to Mexico to attempt to obtain a visa for Cuba, the story picks up some traction. Oswald comes off as a totally unstable person. As one mob figure is quoted years later, Oswald didn't know if he was working for a pro-Castro or an anti-Castro organization. And the book definitely convinces in relation to that. For a while, I was thinking to myself, this is proving the nutty lone gunman theory. Then I realized, just because the guy is a nut, doesn't mean he wasn't being used by somebody. And when you read about Ruby's and a few other low-level mob figures' actions around the day of the assassination, and that Oswald had an uncle in Marcello's crime family, it becomes hard to doubt that the somebody was the mob.
The thesis of the book is that Oswald was the instrument of a somewhat improvised alliance - conspiracy may be too organized - between anti-Castro Cubans, right-wing Americans down south, a couple of strange Europeans, and the Mafia. The contours of this alliance are unclear. Certain Mafia figures are named, particularly Marcello and Trafficante, but also the 1975 murder victims, Giancana, Hoffa and Roselli. One mob figure is specifically identified as having carried messages between two of those names, relative to the intent to kill JFK, but it is long before Dallas and there is no tie to Ruby or Oswald in the message. There is no one as notorious from the other groups tied as closely to the murder, although there are a couple of low-level anti-Castro names in Dallas near the relevant time and a couple gun dealers/runners as well. The motives for the murder are mixed: was it designed to provoke a US invasion of Cuba? Or was it just elimination of the Kennedys from the executive branch, to turn down the heat on the mob? Maybe both. The author lays them all out there but has little hard evidence of the motives.
Anyway, although most of the relevant witnesses are dead, and probably not a lot of documentary evidence remains unexamined, and so the full details will never be fully proved, I thank the author for doing a terrific job, for history's sake, of compiling what evidence there is of the forces that were likely behind Oswald.