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Novels and the Assassination of JFK

John Simkin

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Here's the problem with your point of view: Oliver Stone's cinematic fiction JFK led to the ARRB.

In other words, it accomplished what 30-plus years of academic research could not bring about.

Art alone has the power to stir the heart, to provoke the emotions absent which intellectual discourse cannot reach the human soul.

John Le Carre was asked why he never addressed the Kennedy assassination in a novel.

"It's too difficult," he is said to have responded.

Maybe for Mr. Cornwell.

This being said, every JFK assassination-related novel I've read to date (and I don't include Delillo's Libra in that category) is either junk literature or stretched past the breaking point (McCarry's The Tears of Autumn).

But we're not done.


There is one very good reason why people who know who killed JFK resort to fiction. For example, David Atlee Phillips wrote novels. When he died of cancer on 7th July, 1988 he left behind an unpublished manuscript. The novel is about a CIA officer who lived in Mexico City. In the novel the character states: "I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald... We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba... I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the president's assassination, but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt." Now this is a similar story that Carl Jenkins, whose job it was to train CIA contract workers to kill Castro, told Gene Wheaton. See this thread for the full story.


Then there is the case of Gary Hart. In September, 1975, a sub-committee made up of Gary Hart and Richard Schweiker was asked to review the performance of the intelligence agencies in the original John F. Kennedy assassination investigation. Hart and Schweiker became very concerned about what they found. On 1st May, 1976, Hart said: "I don't think you can see the things I have seen and sit on it."

When the Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations was published in 1976, Hart joined Walter Mondale and Philip Hart to publish an appendix to the report. The three men pointed out that "important portions of the Report had been excised or security grounds". However, they believed that the CIA had "used the classification stamp not for security, but to censor material that would be embarrassing, inconvenient, or likely to provoke an adverse public reaction to CIA activities."

Hart called for a new Senate Committee to look into the events surrounding the assassination of JFK. He said it was necessary to take a closer look at Lee Harvey Oswald and his relationship with the FBI and the CIA. In an interview he gave to the Denver Post Hart said the questions that needed answering included: "Who Oswald really was - who did he know? What affiliation did he have in the Cuban network? Was his public identification with the left-wing a cover for a connection with the anti-Castro right-wing?"

In the interview Hart went on to state that he believed Oswald was probably operating as a double-agent. He thought this was one of the reasons why the FBI and CIA had made "a conscious decision to withhold evidence from the Warren Commission."

In 1985 Hart and William S. Cohen, another member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, published the novel Double Man. According to Bob Woodward: "This is an expertly crafted thriller that is full of many uncomfortable plausibilities. Though clearly labeled fiction, it dances knowledgeably with many old and new ghosts, including the CIA, the KGB, the Kennedy assassination, terrorism, and a range of state secrets. The Double Man has to be taken, minimally, as a grim warning about the intelligence services in our own country and elsewhere."

You can find out more about Hart on this thread. You can also see another example of Tim Gratz's strategy that he employs on this forum.


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Provocative New Novel Explores the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy

Deadly Legacy by Rebecca Cale Camhi is a stunning novel that imagines a hand-written confession to the JFK assassination.

Buffalo, NY (PRWEB) September 27, 2007 -- Deadly Legacy by Rebecca Cale Camhi is a groundbreaking new novel that reveals a JFK assassination conspiracy that puts an average citizen next in line on a mafia hit list.

Nine out of 10 Americans believe that there was a conspiracy to kill President John F. Kennedy, yet the Warren Report has all but put investigations to rest. Now, in a brilliant new novel, Deadly Legacy, author Rebecca Cale Camhi has researched the dozens of conspiracy theories surrounding JFK's death to craft a shocking story of intrigue and mysterious death.

When Bonnie Rollins is left two million dollars by her despised coal miner father, she follows a trail he left that leads her right to Dallas. There, she finds herself followed by a hired killer whose assignment is to prevent Bonnie from ever figuring out who masterminded the assassination. But when she discovers her father's notebook, describing how he came to be in Dallas that day to fire the fatal shot from the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, her life is on the line as the notebook goes missing.

Gorgeously written and filled with characters so alive that they seem to leap off the page, Deadly Legacy reopens one of America's most tragic and tantalizing times in history. Thoroughly researched, Deadly Legacy is both page-turning entertainment and an incisive look at the nature of evil.

About the Author

Rebecca Cale Camhi is a former Fellow of the Western New York Writing Project at Canisius College. A school library media specialist, she is also the author of Deepwater Mountain: a Novel of West Virginia, as well as a prize-winning poet. She lives with her husband in Buffalo, N.Y.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Tears of Autumn

A review by Shane Mahoney

October 6, 2007


The Tears of Autumn
appeared the following year. (1974) Its central character is again Paul Christopher, and its plot concerns an event that has stimulated more conjecture and spawned more speculation than probably any other in history - the public assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Who killed Kennedy? According to the Warren Commission, established to sift the evidence, Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone, and no persuasive evidence existed of a conspiracy to assassinate the president. But even before the official verdict was announced, a welter of contradictory theories began to emerge.

The Mafia was behind it, or the Cubans, or the FBI, or a secret cabal of government and military insiders. More than 40 years after the event, a majority of Americans still believe that Kennedy's death was the product of a conspiracy.

The Tears of Autumn
conjures up a scenario that is both fictitious and strangely convincing, and tells it in a way that is never less than totally compelling. What makes it all the more appealing is the fact that it fingers none of the usual suspects, but rather suggests that the assassination was an early instance of what would come to be called "blowback".

The man who discerns the hidden connections and assembles the evidence is Paul Christopher....

....Apart from the originality and plausibility of its premise, what raises
The Tears of Autumn
above the ruck is the assurance of McCarry's prose. The narrative is tightly constructed, fast moving, and persuasive. The characters are vividly portrayed and psychologically credible, creatures of their time, and as droll a collection of oddities as ever assembled by a spinner of yarns. The ex-Nazi midget burglar alone is worth the price of admission.

The language is economical and insightful, and bones of Hemingway and Conrad protrude from the syntax, underpinning the hectic pace and occasional gunfire with a knowing, elegiac mood. The tone, like Christopher himself, never falters....

....Yet, there is more to
The Tears of Autumn
than a resonance of the past. There is also the kind of prescience that stems from a keen appreciation of what happens when the truth is manipulated, fabricated, or ignored by powerful interests who think themselves invincible. Asked what he believes in, Paul Christopher replies: "I believe in consequences."

Full review: http://www.theage.com.au/news/books/counti...565.html?page=4

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-...customerReviews

Edited by Michael Hogan
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Charles McCarry indeed is a gifted novelist. The Tears of Autumn is far and away the finest piece of long-form, honestly labeled JFK assassination fiction. Libra, for this reader, pales by comparison.

McCarry's plot is, of course, hooey. But there is much to be discovered between his lines. And lead character Paul Christopher's belief in "consequences" paraphrases the first, and what for me remains the most cogently accurate explanation of the events in Dealey Plaza.

On December 4, 1963, in response to a post-speech question about the assassination, Malcolm X said, "The chickens have come home to roost."


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