Tag Archives: Lee Harvey Oswald

The CIA, the mistress, and JFK’s assassination: An astonishing but true story (Part 1)

Part 1 of a review of Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, by Peter Janney

@@@@@ (5 out of 5)

Part 1 of 4.

If, like me, you were alive and aware on November 22, 1963, you’ve never forgotten the day. It was mid-afternoon in New York, and I had just arrived for a graduate course in international relations at Columbia University, only to discover a small number of my classmates aimlessly milling around, most of them in tears, some hugging one another, as one informed me that President Kennedy had been shot. The class had been canceled, and I wandered away with a classmate to learn more from TV news at his nearby apartment. He and I remained glued to that small, black-and-white screen the rest of the day and the following. The unthinkable had happened, and it seemed that nothing would ever be the same.

In the months that followed, as Lyndon Johnson claimed the Presidency for his own, the war in Vietnam quickly heated up, and the Warren Commission hastily assembled, eventually reporting that Lee Harvey Oswald had single-handedly assassinated the President, as all the news reports had suggested. However, almost since the day of Kennedy’s murder, conspiracy theories began to swirl about, those from the Right finding connections with Fidel Castro and the KGB, those from the Left claiming the participation of the CIA, the Mafia, the Pentagon, Big Business, and sometimes Lyndon Johnson. However, like many Americans, I paid little attention to all the speculation. Leave it to the Commission, I thought. They’ll find out the truth. For years afterward the books came out, spinning elaborate tales of skullduggery in high places. I ignored them all.

Now I know better. The Warren Commission was a sham. The CIA did it. Probably not alone, but the CIA was at the center of the plot. And if you doubt those statements, I suggest you read Mary’s Mosaic, by Peter Janney. It’s not only a treasure-house of shocking revelations about recent U.S. history — many of which have come to light only in recent years — but a story far too strange for fiction.

Tomorrow: Part 2


Filed under History, Nonfiction

Stephen King’s 11/22/63: A new take on the JFK assassination

A review of 11/22/63, by Stephen King

@@@@ (4 out of 5)

Stephen King has won more wrting awards than I’ve written books — and I’ve written a slew of them. 11/22/63 is his 50th work, but it’s the first I’ve managed to read because I’d always associated him with horror stories, which I loathe. However, within the first few pages of this fascinating book I understood perfectly why King has won so many awards, as I found myself completely engrossed in the story.

As a work of science fiction, 11/22/63 is a fairly straightforward exploration of time travel. King’s protagonist, Jake Epping, 35, is a high school English teacher in a small Maine town when an acquaintance named Al tells him about the window or portal in time in the floor of the storage room in his diner. Al persuades him to step through the portal, which leads directly back to September 9, 1958. No matter how long Jake may stay in the past, only two minutes will have elapsed back home in 2011 when he returns. Al is dying and lures Jake into taking up the mission he himself had recently accepted: returning to 1958 and staying in the past for five years until he can track down and kill Lee Harvey Oswald before that watershed day in November 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Working from detailed notes about Oswald that Al had accumulated in his own, futile attempt to hold out until 1963, Jake manages to talk himself into changing the history of the world. In the course of his five-year sojourn in the past, most of it in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he meets and falls in love with a librarian at the small-town high school where he teaches to support himself. And that’s about as much of the plot as I can share without spoiling the story.

King has consummate skill both at narrative and at dialogue. His treatment of time travel is the most ingenious I’ve read despite my adolescent years as a sci-fi fan. The story races along, building tension and anticipation and, yes, the fear that embues any competent horror story. The climax and the resolution of the tale are satisfying. It’s a real pleasure to read a consummately clever story by a masterful writer at the peak of his game.


Filed under Science Fiction, Trade Fiction