Jump to content
The Education Forum

Bugliosi vs. Talbot


Recommended Posts

David Talbot and Vincent Bugliosi – Parting Shots –

Whether it was a coincidence or a conspiracy that David Talbot's book Brothers was released almost simultaneously with Vincent Bugliosi's History Reclaimed, it couldn't have been better timing for those who want to figure out or at least better understand the assassination of President Kennedy.

A joint review of both books and the authors celebrated but all too brief appearance together on Chris Matthews' Hardball [see: MSNBC Hardball, May 25] cemented their fundamental differences and has brought the most significant issues into a more clear focus.

David Talbot's book Brothers is an easy read, and gives you an accurate portrayal of what it was like within the administration of President John F. Kennedy (1961-63), and views the aftermath of his assassination from the perspective of his brother Robert, concluding that whatever happened in Dallas, the murder was a high level coup.

Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History – The Assassination of President Kennedy, examines the events of Dallas and the murder of President Kennedy in minute detail, concluding the deranged lone nut Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy for his own perverted psychological reasons.

While they both can't be right, there's not much to be done with Bugliosi's long dead lone-nut, killed while in the custody of the Dallas police, but if Bugliosi is wrong, and Talbot is right, the consequences are enormous.

While Talbot is an easy read, with a quick, flowing style, Bugliosi's bible size tome is more like a dictionary that you can't just read from beginning to end, but must go to the table of contents or index first and cut directly to the areas of interest.

Since I read Talbot first and am reading Bugliosi backwards, I've already got the ending and conclusions of both books and thought I would share the jist of their parting thoughts, as it goes a long way in explaining their different motives, goals and plans for the future.

Under Acknowledgements Bugliosi says:

"….I can tell those who have not seriously studied the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that it is a bottomless pit. With every project that we take on in our lives, we intuitively know, without even giving it a thought, that if we work long and hard enough we will reach the bottom of the pile. But I found, as others have also have, that there is no bottom to the pile in the pile in the Kennedy case. It is endless, and I say this not in a casual turn of phrase. At the very moment I am writing these words on my yellow legal pad, I'm aware that there are at least a hundred people in the United States alone who are dedicating their lives to this case, examining every word and paragraph in every document they can find (the millions of pages on the case at the National Archives would take a lifetime to read) to come up with some inconsistency, discrepancy, or hint of a conspiracy in the assassination. And when there are a hundred or more intelligent minds working almost full-time on something (and in the Kennedy case, thousands of others working part-time), they can create a lot of mischief. For many years during the writing of this book, I've been responding to their findings. But alas, most things, good and bad, come to an end in life, and at least for me, this book will be the end of my immersion in the Kennedy case, as I must go on to other endeavors. For me to continue to address the mostly imaginary issues of this case would be to sacrifice the rest of my life inasmuch as the allegations are, and will continue to be, without end."

[ VB credits : Starling Lawrence at W.W. Norton, secretary Rosemary Newton, Dale Myers – the Emmy award winning computer animator, Patrick Martin – photo graphics, Dr. Michael Baden - the great pathologist, Dallas prosecutor Bill Alexander, Baden's counter-part Dr. Cyril Wecht, Dallas sheriff James C. Bowles, Steve D. Tilley at the NARA, document men Jack Duffy of Fort Worth, David Phinney of LA, Jim Agnew of Chicago and Bill Drenas of Mass., Gary Mack, debunker David Perry, John H. Slate of Dallas Municipal Archives, Jerry Rose for Decade, Jim DiEugenio (Probe) and Walt Brown (JFK/DPQ) for keeping him abreast of conspiracy theories. ]

"Although I have done far, far more work on this book than any other I've ever written, I can honestly say I enjoyed my labor, because apart from the terrible tragedy of Kennedy's death (other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?), the case, as any long time assassination researcher will tell you, is endlessly intriguing and fascinating. Only one section, Oswald's biography, was pure pain for me to write. One reason is that I am a non-fiction, true-crime writer normally working with trial transcripts, police and autopsy reports, witness statements, et cetera, and writing someone's biography is not my cup of tea. Secondly, I was dealing with a subject (Oswald) who moved no fewer than seventeen times in a sixteen year period before joining the Marines, and had been in the military and in Russia. Nearly every day while I was writing this section I spent a good part of it with a magnifying glass looking at sketchy, faint, and often difficult-to-decipher grade school, military, and other records, and trying to reconcile conflicting memories of chronological events with documentary evidence that just didn't seem to fit. So it was an unpleasant task, but I had no choice but to 'bite the bullet' and do it. I questioned when it would ever end, at one point envisioning a large, empty tub that I knew one would one day be full of water, but only because of my putting one drop of water into it at a time. I took to telling people I was on a 'lead' diet (biting the bullet) and working 'eight days a week,' because it was the only section of the book I wrote in which almost without exception, I worked on the case throughout the night in my dreams. I thought the 'eight-days-a-week' line was original and clever and so did those I used it on until one day someone reminded me, 'Hey, that's a Beatles' song,' and it rang a distant bell to me. It was a great relief to finally finish this section and return to the luxury of working only seven days a week."

"….For whatever reason, I always seemed to be immune to the deprivations of hard work. But I had never encountered the Kennedy assassination before. Although I feel I can still get up and run around the block without any problem, for the first time in my life I feel (I'm not sure and certainly hope it's not true) that the research and writing of this book may have taken a toll on me. And one reason is that, as I've indicated, there simply is no end to the case, and more than once I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew."

David Talbot on the other hand, ends Brothers with quotes from an interview with former HSCA counsel and former prosecutor G. Robert Blakey and a screening of a 1968 interview with Bobby Kennedy on the campaign trail in San Francisco.

"…Near the end of the interview Blakey told me that the Kennedys no longer seemed important, at least not to those born after JFK was shot…. 'The Kennedys are not part of this generation,' he said. 'I teach this generation, [the assassination] is not a big deal for them. They grew up in a different world."

"So how will history resolve the Kenendy mystery? 'My guess is that the Warren Commission will carry the day,' said the man whose congressional investigation offered the - first and last – official challenge to the Warren Report. The lone gunman theory has the virtue of simplicity, Blakey explained. It was a dreary place to circle back to, after forty long years of exploration."

"….I found myself at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills, sitting in a quiet cubicle and reeling through Bobby Kennedy's life in video….The last reel I looked at was Bobby in 1968, and it included his appearance on a San Francisco public TV talk show called Kaleidoscope as he geared up for his final campaign. The interviewer asked pointed but polite questions,....but Bobby seemed pained and the interview took on the strained intensity of a psychodrama. In close-ups, the camera captured his raw, weather-ravaged face and scabbed lips. The country was angry and demoralized, the interviewer observed. He could also have pointed out that he was suffering a kind of moral rot and vacancy of the soul because of the ugly, no-exit war that had begun seeping into every corner of American life. In these brutal circumstances, why would he commit himself to the political arena? Kennedy was asked. Working for the public good was 'no sacrifice,' Bobby replied. 'The most unhappy people in the world are those who are involved in just themselves.'"

"But, even though he was on the eve of the political adventure of his life, Bobby did not seem happy. There was never a mask with Bobby. On camera that day, he was quiet, wistful, ironic. He was constitutionally incapable of the cheerful artifice and empty bravado that is required of American politicians. And yet, he really did believe in America – he simply refused to give in to what it was becoming."

"After a long discussion of the country's woes, the interviewer asked Bobby, 'But you are an optimist?' Kennedy nodded and smiled his weary eyed smile. 'Just because you can't live any other way, can you?' he replied. He was America's first and last existential leader."

"We live in a dark age of clashing fundamentalisms. The country is ruled by an administration that had made a cult of secrecy and obedience. We are caught up in another endless war, this time on 'terror' – or perhaps it's a struggle with fear itself. But in this bleakest of times, Bobby Kennedy's message seems more compelling than ever. We can't go on, we must go on. Do Americans still want the truth - starting with Dallas and going all the way to Guantanamo? Do they want to take back their country? I don't know for certain. But I have to be optimistic. Just because there really is no other way, is there?

Now Bugliosi can move on to his next true-life crime project, while the rest of us continue to try to optomistically answer the remaining unanswered questions without him, though for some reason I have a feeling he's not going to leave the game. It's just a ploy to get them to give him more money. Maybe he'll get a Anthony CIA Lucas foundation grant.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Gary Loughran

My copy of Talbot's book has just been despatched from Amazon, so hopefully I'll be able to add to the ongoing debates shortly.

Bill,

I admire your work and that of the many many people who dedicate their lives to researching the truth in this case. However, unlike Bug (or is Boo) who states that you are all just here to "create a lot of mischief" - I know it is he.

...and for the author of Helter Skelter to need reminded Eight days a week was a The Beatles song and to steal it as his own..hah!

Let's steal it back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spot on, Myra. Note too that Talbot's book currently having a bigger impact than Bug's with the general public (based on Amazon and similar bookseller lists) is possibly due to many, many people having just witnessed first-hand the consequences of the 'me first/screw everyone else' attitude in political life pushed to its ultimate conclusion in recent years, and probably feeling that perhaps enough is enough. I'd link this back to Bush Sr's snappy denunciation of those pesky conspiracy theorists at Ford's funeral, given that much of the public has had evidence of conspiracy upon government conspiracy rammed down their throats for the past several years, but with the mainstream media still shrugging and grinning like Alfred E.Newman and doing little to counter it. The message of Bug's book is, go back to sleep, America. Talbot's book is an urge for everyone to wake up. I suspect Talbot's book will have the greatest impact for those very reasons. Loved your Amazon review, BTW.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My copy of Talbot's book has just been despatched from Amazon, so hopefully I'll be able to add to the ongoing debates shortly.

Bill,

I admire your work and that of the many many people who dedicate their lives to researching the truth in this case. However, unlike Bug (or is Boo) who states that you are all just here to "create a lot of mischief" - I know it is he.

...and for the author of Helter Skelter to need reminded Eight days a week was a The Beatles song and to steal it as his own..hah!

Let's steal it back.

Ya sure, he thought "Eight days a weeks" was original? He is simply a pathological xxxx,imho.

Dawn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have little to add of any true significance to this excellent thread. Just a couple of off the wall personal observations and beliefs, which have so deeply imbedded themselves within me that they have become my bed partner.

I must mention an area that grates my senses almost to the extent of someone running their finger nails across a chalk board.

I don't know whether to finger this as a natural result of capitalism, or the human desire to win.

I won't enter any detail, as I have previously done so on several ocassions. To even further confuse myself, I am an avid proponent of both however!

Any reasonable insight into our captitalistic system; along with all of the wonderful and admirable rewards which it brings to us....we must realize that it, by its very ultra competitive nature, insists that for one to succeed and advance, one must WIN! Thus my problem ! The attitude of "MUST WIN" actually wreaks havoc with , at least "my theory", of Justice. I am not posting this as another attack on the legal profession, in which many very high minded and honorable people may be found throughout. But there is an area within this system that in my opinion is extremely suspect. That area is that aspect of this system which deals with the prosecution of a defendant.

In all areas of our society, as well as in societies that are not considered as "free": success is measured by accomplishment. The will to succeed in our respective fields is what motivates one to forge ahead, and it is only thru success in our endeavors, are we able to truly achieve both personal as well as social and usually monetary satisfaction.

In order to advance in their field, particularly the prosecutory field, ONE MUST "WIN" at any cost.

It is possible for some attorneys, tho not prosecutors, to win only one case in a hundred and yet earn enough money to retire. A government prosecutor, like an athlete, in order to achieve any degree of success, must win.....not necessarily "serve justice"....but only WIN. Many quite honest defendants have paid the "ultimate price"!

Vince Bugliosi, as a result of his excellent winning record, "earned" a berth in the legal "Super Bowl".....and he WON. As a perceived "World Champ", he became financially rewarded by a great many different sources, to the extent that he could retire from the active legal profession while only in his early forties. This "retirement" did not result from his salary as a government prosecutor.

His advancement had little to do with the seeking of justice; BUT much to do with winning...particularly the "BIG ONE".

I truly mean this only as an observation and not a criticism...but Mr. B., throughout his career, sought to be and was in fact, a "winner". He chose to pursue "winning", as perhaps might my competitive nature demand of me, rather than "justice"!

I see nothing more in keeping with that original decision than his latest, and perhaps final, major undertaking. Why should anyone find this strange or uncharacteristic? Please believe me that I am not averse to agressively pursuing wealth. But I feel that we "are all" responsible to at least recognize it in its uncamouflaged form.

Some probably question the "Price in Honor" of such a pursuit, in which one strives to prove that which he truly cannot believe. To a great many however, the ends most always justify the means.

Probably some deeper thinkers may question or dispute the definition of "success", generally accepted by our and many societies.

I myself am unable to define it, and am therefore not in a position to criticise. Societal hierarchies impose some demanding criteria for the judgement of "success".

Mr. Bugliosi's book, in my opinion, should not be considered as anything but a continuation of his much earlier decision!

I did hope however,before reading this monstrosity,

that he would have been able to do "A Much Better Job"! But then when thinking more seriously, he was limited by the HORRIBLE TRUTH from which there is no escape ! There will never be "The Proper Job" as we are limited by the truth and fact of CONSPIRACY!

Charles Black

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spot on, Myra. Note too that Talbot's book currently having a bigger impact than Bug's with the general public (based on Amazon and similar bookseller lists) is possibly due to many, many people having just witnessed first-hand the consequences of the 'me first/screw everyone else' attitude in political life pushed to its ultimate conclusion in recent years, and probably feeling that perhaps enough is enough. I'd link this back to Bush Sr's snappy denunciation of those pesky conspiracy theorists at Ford's funeral, given that much of the public has had evidence of conspiracy upon government conspiracy rammed down their throats for the past several years, but with the mainstream media still shrugging and grinning like Alfred E.Newman and doing little to counter it. The message of Bug's book is, go back to sleep, America. Talbot's book is an urge for everyone to wake up. I suspect Talbot's book will have the greatest impact for those very reasons. Loved your Amazon review, BTW.

Thanks Anthony.

...

Hey, how do you know which one is mine? I don't use my real name on Amazon.

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have little to add of any true significance to this excellent thread. Just a couple of off the wall personal observations and beliefs, which have so deeply imbedded themselves within me that they have become my bed partner.

I must mention an area that grates my senses almost to the extent of someone running their finger nails across a chalk board.

I don't know whether to finger this as a natural result of capitalism, or the human desire to win.

I won't enter any detail, as I have previously done so on several ocassions. To even further confuse myself, I am an avid proponent of both however!

Any reasonable insight into our captitalistic system; along with all of the wonderful and admirable rewards which it brings to us....we must realize that it, by its very ultra competitive nature, insists that for one to succeed and advance, one must WIN! Thus my problem ! The attitude of "MUST WIN" actually wreaks havoc with , at least "my theory", of Justice. I am not posting this as another attack on the legal profession, in which many very high minded and honorable people may be found throughout. But there is an area within this system that in my opinion is extremely suspect. That area is that aspect of this system which deals with the prosecution of a defendant.

In all areas of our society, as well as in societies that are not considered as "free": success is measured by accomplishment. The will to succeed in our respective fields is what motivates one to forge ahead, and it is only thru success in our endeavors, are we able to truly achieve both personal as well as social and usually monetary satisfaction.

In order to advance in their field, particularly the prosecutory field, ONE MUST "WIN" at any cost.

It is possible for some attorneys, tho not prosecutors, to win only one case in a hundred and yet earn enough money to retire. A government prosecutor, like an athlete, in order to achieve any degree of success, must win.....not necessarily "serve justice"....but only WIN. Many quite honest defendants have paid the "ultimate price"!

Vince Bugliosi, as a result of his excellent winning record, "earned" a berth in the legal "Super Bowl".....and he WON. As a perceived "World Champ", he became financially rewarded by a great many different sources, to the extent that he could retire from the active legal profession while only in his early forties. This "retirement" did not result from his salary as a government prosecutor.

His advancement had little to do with the seeking of justice; BUT much to do with winning...particularly the "BIG ONE".

I truly mean this only as an observation and not a criticism...but Mr. B., throughout his career, sought to be and was in fact, a "winner". He chose to pursue "winning", as perhaps might my competitive nature demand of me, rather than "justice"!

I see nothing more in keeping with that original decision than his latest, and perhaps final, major undertaking. Why should anyone find this strange or uncharacteristic? Please believe me that I am not averse to agressively pursuing wealth. But I feel that we "are all" responsible to at least recognize it in its uncamouflaged form.

Some probably question the "Price in Honor" of such a pursuit, in which one strives to prove that which he truly cannot believe. To a great many however, the ends most always justify the means.

Probably some deeper thinkers may question or dispute the definition of "success", generally accepted by our and many societies.

I myself am unable to define it, and am therefore not in a position to criticise. Societal hierarchies impose some demanding criteria for the judgement of "success".

Mr. Bugliosi's book, in my opinion, should not be considered as anything but a continuation of his much earlier decision!

I did hope however,before reading this monstrosity,

that he would have been able to do "A Much Better Job"! But then when thinking more seriously, he was limited by the HORRIBLE TRUTH from which there is no escape ! There will never be "The Proper Job" as we are limited by the truth and fact of CONSPIRACY!

Charles Black

****************************************************

"In order to advance in their field, particularly the prosecutory field, ONE MUST "WIN" at any cost."

I think that's true in just about every walk of life as it pertains to a capitalistic mindset, Charlie.

Not to say it's necessarily bad, idealistically speaking. But, in many cases it has surfaced to reveal its wrongheadedness or bullheadedness when taken to the extremes or misapplied to areas in life where fair-mindedness, or plain old-fashioned sportsmanship is concerned.

As far as pertaining to the legal system, P.D.'s or Public Defenders, are the last bastion of what I consider to be what REAL attorneys, or those who've decided to dedicate their lives to the letter of the law in helping those less affluent, or less fortunate, and who haven't lost sight of what made them choose to become lawyers, in the first place. Defending those, who's lives had they been better off, may have avoided ending up facing incarceration, or worse.

I've always been skeptical of high profilers such as Bugliosi, or those who've made their mark prosecuting or defending celebrities. The spotlight has a tendency to make them appear larger than life, much in the same way as their clients appear in the eyes of the public. The fact that they are able to demand such exorbitantly high fees for services rendered gives the rest of their profession a decidedly bad name.

Speaking from my own personal experience, I've had nothing but good service, and courtesy extended above and beyond what I've been charged. Maybe, I've been lucky, but I've never had recourse to look upon any legal help I've received in the past, as being anything less than above board and honest.

Bugliosi, on the other hand, seems to be using his past reputation as some sort of a springboard from which to generate enough funds to supplement his retirement, as you've so aptly pointed out. It would be reassuring to think that in writing this tome, he may have inadvertently uncovered some new fact, or piece of evidence to advance the case. Or, maybe if he had been able to have approached it from a less biased P.O.V., allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions, it could have possibly become an excellent textbook or reference guide for research study. But, his vision seems to have been clouded by his desire to win at all costs, as you've also concluded, and to some extent, it's as if he's making a last ditch effort to prosecute this case all over again. This has a tendency to cripple his cause, or weaken it, in my viewpoint.

My only hope is that the general public, buying this book will not be swayed by what appears to me, to be a re-hashed overview of the WCR, a weighted defense of Blakely and the HSCA, without mention of the blundering choice of slipping Johannides [and his JMWave, DRE affilitations] on board the HSCA hearings, and the decided effects it had on the outcome of that committee's findings. Little things like that being overlooked or brushed aside, leave me cold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...