Jump to content
The Education Forum

Errors in the Literature


Recommended Posts

The more I read of the case, the more frustrated I am with the numerous factual errors in the books written about it.

I think a thread limited to noting such errors may be useful amd I would invite anyone knowing of any errors to post them here.

Note I am not talking about errors of interpretation or opinion but only clear errors of fact.

I will begin with two from Crossfire:

1. It states that LHO had to descend five flights of stairs to get from the sixth floor to the second floor, assuming Oswald had been on the sixth floor. But there are only four flights between the second and sixth floor.

2. It states Mrs. Rowland saw the two men on the sixth floor that hrt husband saw. But it is clear from her testimony that she did not.

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On page 111 of "The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald" Robert Groden states that LHO was seen on the second floor forty-six seconds (from my memory: either 46 or 42) after the shooting stopped but he does not state who saw him.

This has to be an error, doesn't it? Did anyone see LHO on the second floor before Officer Baker and Mr. Truly?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are also errors in films re the assassination.

For instance, in "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" after showing Mr. Burroughs stating that he saw LHO in the Texas Theatre as early as 1:07, the narrator states that 1:07 was the "official" time for the murder of Officer Tippit, a clearly erroneous statement. AS most know, Mr. Bowley stated he arrived on the scene at 1:10 p.m. and Tippitt was dead when he arrived. But there is no "official" report from any source of which I am aware that Tippitt was shot before 1:10 p.m. I believe the "official" time was 1:15 or 1:16 p.m.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim,

Why don't you start with Gerald Posner?

I counted over a dozen mistakes, some typos, in Case Closed, and sent them to the publisher. I expected them to be corrected when the second edition was published, that did contain some corrections, especially related to Mrs. Paine. But none of the mistakes and typos that I pointed out were changed.

And that book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize?

They, meaning Posner and his editors, didn't really care about mistakes.

As for your first example, if Oswald entered the Texas Theater before 1:10, as some of the Texas Theater employees claim, then why is that a mistake?

Why can't that mean that Oswald wasn't at 10th and Patton when Tippit was killed?

And for Mrs. Rowland. She may not have seen the two men in the window, but her husband did, as did others. All of them described the man with the rifle as wearing a white shirt, and the other man wearing a brown sports/suitcoat blazer.

Oswald wore a dark brown, rust colored shirt.

So who was the man in the white shirt and the man in the brown sportscoat?

Certainly not mistakes, except mistakes in the Warren Report.

Bill Kelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bill, of course I agree there are numerous errors in Posner's book but perhaps we should first clean our own house.

You wrote:

And for Mrs. Rowland. She may not have seen the two men in the window, but her husband did, as did others. All of them described the man with the rifle as wearing a white shirt, and the other man wearing a brown sports/suitcoat blazer.

What do you mean she MAY not have seen the men her husband claimed he saw? She clearly testified she DID NOT see the men--no ifs ands buts or "maybes" about it. Any book (and it is not just "Crossfire") that states Mrs. Rowland saw the men misstates the testimony. I see no excuse for that.

One reason may be laziness. One book cites Summers' "Conspiracy" when discussing Mrs. Rowland. A sentence in his book is written inartfully and COULD be read that Mrs. Rowland saw the men, but I am sure that was not Summer's intent. I think someone just read and misinterpreted Summers on Mrs. Roland without making the effort to actually read Mrs. Rowland's testimony. That is why it is important to verify with primary sourcers and why I am extremely cautious about Marrs' statements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a quote from "High Treason" by Groden and Livingstone (page 175 in my paperback edition):

It has been established that at exactly 12:15, Arnold Rowland (as well as Carolyn Walther and Ruby Henderson) saw two men with a rifle in the sixth floor window, and this is backed up by Rowland's wife, who also saw them.

As we stated previously, Mrs. Rowland stated she NEVER saw any person in a sixth floor window. She also testified that her husband never told her that he had seen TWO men. She testified: "He never said there was another man on the sixth floor, in my presence, that I can remember." WC Hearings, Vol. VI, page 188.

Carolyn Walther was not called to testify but her statement is Warren Commission Exhibit 2086. She saw a man with a rifle (or a machine gun) and a man standing next to him but she stated she saw these men on the fourth or fifth floors, that she was "positive" the window was not as high as the sixth floor. Now she may have been mistaken about the floor, granted, but how can Groden & Livingstone state that Walther saw these men on the SIXTH floor when her statement is to the contrary?

In her statement to the FBI, Ruby Henderson stated she saw two men in an open window on one of the upper floors of the TSBD, but she ws not sure which floor it was. She never stated anything about a rifle. So how can Groden & Livingstone write that Mrs. Henderson saw two men, one with a rifle, on the sixth floor when she makes no reference whatsoever to a rifle? (Her statement is Warren Commission Exhibit 2089 in Vol. XXIV--read it yourself and determine if I overlooked the part where she mentioned a rifle.

I think that one sentence in "High Treason" contains these errors:

1. Mrs. Rowland saw two men in on the sixth floor, one with a rifle.

2. Mrs. Walther saw men on the sixth floor.

3. Mrs. Henderson saw two men on the sixth floor.

4. One of the men Mrs, Henderson saw had a rifle.

Finally, neither Mrs. Walther nor Mrs. Henderson states she saw the men at "exactly" 12:15 p.m.

So I count FIVE errors of fact in that one sentence!

I think when one reads a book on the assassination one should be entitled to assume the author is accurately stating what is said in a primary source document without having to go to the footnote and check every statement the author has made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course one should also note clear errors in the anti-conspiracy literature as well.

Manchester's "The Death of a President" is not an anti-conspiracy book as such but it clearly adopts the position of the WC in toto and without question.

In the book, Manchester states that Oswald was alone on the sixth floor for a full half hour with plenty of time to construct the sniper's nest. Of course, the Warren Report itself states that Bonnie Ray Williams ate his lunch on the sixth floor after noon, so Manchester should have known better. And of course had he bothered to read Williams actual testimony, which was of courese available before Manchester completed his book, Manchester would have known how long Willams stated he stayed on the sixth floor.

It is inexcuasable IMO for a person who held himself out as a historian to make that error of fact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now this is unbelievable.

In "Conversations with Kennedy" JFK's friend Benjamin Bradlee dates the assassination as November 23rd.

Surely he knew the actual date and surely whoever proof-read the galleys must have known the date as well.

It astounds me that this error was allowed in "Conversations with Kennedy."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Craig Zirbel's "The Texas Connection", this statement is made:

" . . /[E]yewitnesses saw Tippit get out of his car (with no broadcast having been made over the police radio identifying Oswald, or anyone with his appearence as being an assassination suspect)." (Paperback edition pages 176-177.)

But we all know that statement is false. There was a description of the suspect in the assassination broadcast as early as 12:45 p.m. as I recall that fit Oswald and many many other young men. So how can Zirbel say there was no such broadcast? Is he dishonest or is he woefully ignorant of some of the fundamental facts of the case?

Just another example of errors in the literature!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a thread limited to noting such errors may be useful amd I would invite anyone knowing of any errors to post them here.

A good thread Tim, only trouble is I think there have been so many errors writen by BOTH sides that you would have to dedicate a whole forum rather than just a thread. This is one I stumbled on a few days ago. Sylvia Meagher is writing about an affidavit giving by Charles Givens (a TSBD employee) : "Within an hour or two, Givens was escorted to the police headquarters, where he was questioned and where he executed an affidavit stating that he had left the sixth floor at about 11:30 a.m., had gone to the washroom, at noon had taken his lunch period, had gone to a parking lot to visit with a friend employed there (CE 2003, page 27)." (unquote). Yet when I checked the affidavit for myself I found Meagher's time of "11.30" to be totaly inaccurate it was in fact 11.50:

AFFIDAVIT IN ANY FACT

THE STATE OF TEXAS

COUNTY OF DALLAS

BEFORE ME, Mary Rattan, a Notary Public in and for said County, State of Texas, on this day personally appeared Charles Douglas Givens c/m/37, 2511 Carpenter, RI2 4670 who, after being by me duly sworn, on oath deposes and says:

I work for the Texas School Book Depository, 411 Elm Street. I worked up on the 6th floor today until about 11:50 am. Then I went downstairs and into the bathroom. At twelve o'clock I took my lunch period. I went to the parking lot at Record and Elm street. I have a friend who works at the parking lot. We walked up to Main and Record when the President passed by. We then walked back to the parking lot after the President had passed by. We had just got back to the lot when we heard the shooting. I think I heard three shots. I did not see anyone in the building that was not supposed to be there this morning.

/s/ Charles Douglas Givens

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN BEFORE ME THIS 22 DAY OF November A.D. 1963

/s/ Mary Rattan

Notary Public, Dallas County, Texas (unquote)

Not a small mistake, the 20 minute time difference is crucial. And I use the word "mistake" with a great deal of generosity. Denis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a thread limited to noting such errors may be useful amd I would invite anyone knowing of any errors to post them here.

A good thread Tim, only trouble is I think there have been so many errors writen by BOTH sides that you would have to dedicate a whole forum rather than just a thread. This is one I stumbled on a few days ago. Sylvia Meagher is writing about an affidavit giving by Charles Givens (a TSBD employee) : "Within an hour or two, Givens was escorted to the police headquarters, where he was questioned and where he executed an affidavit stating that he had left the sixth floor at about 11:30 a.m., had gone to the washroom, at noon had taken his lunch period, had gone to a parking lot to visit with a friend employed there (CE 2003, page 27)." (unquote). Yet when I checked the affidavit for myself I found Meagher's time of "11.30" to be totaly inaccurate it was in fact 11.50:

AFFIDAVIT IN ANY FACT

THE STATE OF TEXAS

COUNTY OF DALLAS

BEFORE ME, Mary Rattan, a Notary Public in and for said County, State of Texas, on this day personally appeared Charles Douglas Givens c/m/37, 2511 Carpenter, RI2 4670 who, after being by me duly sworn, on oath deposes and says:

I work for the Texas School Book Depository, 411 Elm Street. I worked up on the 6th floor today until about 11:50 am. Then I went downstairs and into the bathroom. At twelve o'clock I took my lunch period. I went to the parking lot at Record and Elm street. I have a friend who works at the parking lot. We walked up to Main and Record when the President passed by. We then walked back to the parking lot after the President had passed by. We had just got back to the lot when we heard the shooting. I think I heard three shots. I did not see anyone in the building that was not supposed to be there this morning.

/s/ Charles Douglas Givens

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN BEFORE ME THIS 22 DAY OF November A.D. 1963

/s/ Mary Rattan

Notary Public, Dallas County, Texas (unquote)

Not a small mistake, the 20 minute time difference is crucial. And I use the word "mistake" with a great deal of generosity. Denis.

Hi Denis :

Re Givens.........In his FBI statement.....He stated 11.30A.M.....

But you will not find that FBI report in the W/C, oops they forgot to include it as with so much more....

It was then given as 11.50.AM...think....Dallas' Finest.....

B.......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Denis wrote:

Not a small mistake, the 20 minute time difference is crucial. And I use the word "mistake" with a great deal of generosity.

It is indeed curious that whether the writer making a mistake is pro or anti conspiracy in almost every case the mistake supports the writer's POV. It is hard to decide when the errors are the result of sloppiness or may in fact be deliberate.

And I suggest one way that errors can proliferate is when a second writer simply uses the work of an earlier writer in support of a statenent of fact without bothering to independently validate it via a primary source.

For instance, I could write a book making the claim that Oswald was seen on the second floor a mere 46 seconds after the shooting stopped. I would footnote the assertion. As support, I would simply put: Groden, "The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald", page 111. There would now be TWO books making the erroneous assertion. Add a third and pretty soon that datum would start to become the accepted version of the facts, even though the original source. Groden, offers no primary source whatsoever for his assertion.

As Denis points out the literature is simply replete with these errors. And I refer not to errors of opinion, over which there can be legitimate differences of interpretation, but to clear errors of fact. This phenomenon is indeed unfortunate and it hampers the truth-seeking process.

But a forum like this can serve as a good venue for enumerating these errors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a thread limited to noting such errors may be useful amd I would invite anyone knowing of any errors to post them here.

A good thread Tim, only trouble is I think there have been so many errors writen by BOTH sides that you would have to dedicate a whole forum rather than just a thread. This is one I stumbled on a few days ago. Sylvia Meagher is writing about an affidavit giving by Charles Givens (a TSBD employee) : "Within an hour or two, Givens was escorted to the police headquarters, where he was questioned and where he executed an affidavit stating that he had left the sixth floor at about 11:30 a.m., had gone to the washroom, at noon had taken his lunch period, had gone to a parking lot to visit with a friend employed there (CE 2003, page 27)." (unquote). Yet when I checked the affidavit for myself I found Meagher's time of "11.30" to be totaly inaccurate it was in fact 11.50:

AFFIDAVIT IN ANY FACT

THE STATE OF TEXAS

COUNTY OF DALLAS

BEFORE ME, Mary Rattan, a Notary Public in and for said County, State of Texas, on this day personally appeared Charles Douglas Givens c/m/37, 2511 Carpenter, RI2 4670 who, after being by me duly sworn, on oath deposes and says:

I work for the Texas School Book Depository, 411 Elm Street. I worked up on the 6th floor today until about 11:50 am. Then I went downstairs and into the bathroom. At twelve o'clock I took my lunch period. I went to the parking lot at Record and Elm street. I have a friend who works at the parking lot. We walked up to Main and Record when the President passed by. We then walked back to the parking lot after the President had passed by. We had just got back to the lot when we heard the shooting. I think I heard three shots. I did not see anyone in the building that was not supposed to be there this morning.

/s/ Charles Douglas Givens

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN BEFORE ME THIS 22 DAY OF November A.D. 1963

/s/ Mary Rattan

Notary Public, Dallas County, Texas (unquote)

Not a small mistake, the 20 minute time difference is crucial. And I use the word "mistake" with a great deal of generosity. Denis.

Denis, where did you get that affidavit? Off the McAdams site? If you look at the actual affidavit, here http://historymatters.com/archive/jfk/wc/w...Vol24_0114b.htm

you'll see that Meagher got it right. He said 11:30, not 11:50.

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...