Roger Stone heads to Dallas on November 22, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to sign his new book The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ. Stone’s book enters the canon of works on a president who captivated a generation with his youth, charm, and image. There are few Americans old enough to remember November 22, 1963 without remembering exactly where they were when the king of Camelot fell to an assassin.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Stone’s book is the fact he knew many of the political figures of the day personally. The book will be a must-read for those who remain fascinated by the death of a president whose successor made decisions that among others, led to the deaths of 58,000 U.S. troops and countless others in the small country of Vietnam.
The book also provides information that isn’t generally known, even to those who have read much of the research available as well as the numerous books published on the subject. The Man Who Killed Kennedy has the immediacy of another book, Mary’s Mosaic, written by Peter Janney who knew the woman who was allegedly John F. Kennedy’s favorite mistress.
REVELATIONS AND INTRIGUE
Stone’s co-writer, Mike Colapietro, was an asset, no doubt, helping to weave a narrative that leads the reader to keep turning the page in anticipation as individual associations are disclosed.
For example, it came as a surprise that, according to Stone, prog pundit Bill Moyers, an aide to Vice President Lyndon Johnson at the time of the assassination, “ordered his assistant Betty Harris to ‘get that Goddamned bubble off [the limo] unless it’s pouring rain.’” [pg. 241]
One finding that emerged from various government commissions involved the lapse in security for Kennedy in Dallas on that fateful day, and Stone breaks down those lapses in a fascinating analysis.
Stone also puts the president’s visit in context, painting a scenario of Kennedy as he ventured into hostile territory. Many in Dallas—indeed in the whole state of Texas—were not fond of the president. As JFK landed in Dallas, the rain had begun to clear and the sun had started to shine, a contradictory token for what would play out in Dealey Plaza.
It may surprise some readers to learn that the infamous Texas School Book Depository was owned by an LBJ crony. It will trouble others to learn more about suspicious deaths of people connected to Johnson or his associates. It is impossible to dismiss a number of those deaths without questioning their relevance to the assassination.
A woman who warned Louisiana authorities days before Kennedy was killed died after being hit by a car in Texas. The murder of John Douglas Kinser who allegedly engaged in an affair with LBJ’s sister. Kinser’s murderer ended up serving no time although he was found guilty. And like so many associated with Kennedy and his brother Bobby, Mary Pinchot Meyer died unexpectedly. Mrs. Meyer, whose husband Cord worked for the CIA, was murdered 11 months after JFK died.
Those are but a few deaths that spiked suspicion because they couldn’t be attributed to natural causes or old age.
Stone also presents an interesting theory about Watergate and President Richard Nixon. Stone recounts personal remarks Nixon made to him that suggested Nixon believed LBJ was part of the assassination.
Was LBJ part of a conspiracy to murder a president whose power Johnson coveted and whose position Johnson lusted after? Did government officials, in collusion with organized crime figures, assist in both the act and the coverup?
Some say no. Pundit and author Bill O’Reilly in his own book about JFK has been very aggressive in supporting findings of the Warren Commission—Lee Harvey Oswald was a nut case who dreamed of power and sought it by taking down a powerful man.
The new film Parkland with Tom Hanks purportedly follows the O’Reilly-Warren Commission path. That should not surprise; establishment media and Hollywood are kissing cousins.
Are those who believe a conspiracy existed wearing a figurative tin foil hat? If so, they are in great company as poll after poll has indicated most of us do not believe Oswald acted alone. Even polls taken in the aftermath of the assassination indicated that.
THE ASSASSINATION REVIEW BOARD
Theories aside, by the time the Assassination Review Board findings were released, enough questions had surfaced to suggest the vulnerable theorists are those who hold the lone gunman theory. The ARB was enabled by President George H. W. Bush, but it took 18 months after President Bill Clinton took office for board members to be sworn in.
The ARB board found numerous issues with the Warren Commission findings; the board’s report supports a number of claims Roger Stone makes in his book.
The Warren Commission’s analysis of the autopsy findings, for example, came up short. To this day no one really knows whether the principal prosector “destroyed the original draft of the autopsy report, or if he destroyed notes taken…” Autopsy measurements were “frequently imprecise and sometimes inexplicably absent.”
Even the presidential limo was not properly processed—LBJ had it cleaned and restored soon after Kennedy’s death.
Stone’s book is an intriguing and thoughtful work often rendering first hand experiences of the personalities who dominated the halls of power in the government. The author’s decision to sign his book in the city where Kennedy died on the 50th anniversary of the president’s death is appropriate. Many Americans believe Kennedy did not receive the justice he is due and the possible coverup endangers the wellbeing of our nation.
Kennedy’s decision to go to Dallas was conflicted. It was almost as though fate, with some help from ambitious humans, intervened. Stone recounted remarks by JFK’s secretary:
“’Dallas was removed and then put back on the planned itinerary several times,’ wrote Evelyn Lincoln. ‘Our own advance man urged that the motorcade not take the route through the underpass and past the Book Depository, but he was overruled.’”
That route—and other key decisions—changed the course of history. The curtain dropped on Camelot. When Seymour Hersh wrote his spellbinding book The Dark Side of Camelot, the curtain rose to reveal a president who wasn’t what he seemed to be to the American people.
Keeping the truth from the public was not that difficult, both in the aftermath of JFK’s assassination as well as in the decades that followed. When JFK was assassinated, both the Executive Office and Congress were controlled by the Democrats’ party.
To this day, it isn’t easy to access many of the public records about the event because they aren’t available online. Stone’s book shines a light on the figures who moved both behind the scenes as well as on the stage of power LBJ held, and the decisions LBJ made helped lead the U.S. to no small number of problems we grapple with today.
Roger Stone’s The Man Who Killed Kennedy is a book that will not disappoint. It flies in the face of ideas held by those who blindly accepted the Warren Commission’s faulty conclusions, and much of the information Stone discloses is a reminder that the people have a right to a government that is transparent.
That remains a right unfulfilled to this day. (Reviewed by Kay B. Day/Nov. 13, 2013)
Ed. Note: Stone will sign The Man Who Killed Kennedy on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble [Dallas/Lincoln Park; 7700 W. NW Hwy. in Dallas]. Stay abreast of his other appearances during his national tour at his website, stonezone.com.