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Literary Backdrop

"What is needed is a meta-analysis of the clandestine social, political, military, and global forces at work at mid-century as they converged upon Dealey Plaza. If you can understand the state of the world, America, and the South as it truly was on November 21, 1963, then the events of November 22 flow inevitably from there, falling into place as neatly as the pieces of a puzzle."   

- Gaeton Fonzi, former investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations

 

Gaeton Fonzi was exactly right. This quote instinctively guided my research, which opened up fascinating details which lent substance and historical credibility to my book. The origins of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy clearly begin to coalesce as events and strands of history all the way back in the 1920's and 1930's, and they slowly built to a cruel and catastrophic collision of events whose nexus was at 12:30 p.m. on November 22, 1963 in Dealey Plaza. 

 

"It is dangerous to let the public behind the scenes. They are easily disillusioned, and then they are angry with you, for it was the illusion they loved."

-20th Century British writer W. Somerset Maugham

 

Non-fiction books tend to preserve illusions through the carefully-crafted biases of their authors. I grew up as a 'faculty brat' and as such, I was able to observe the life behind the curtains that constitutes academia. My own father was a brilliant economist, with numerous textbooks and white papers to his credit. He could deconstruct any economic theory in existence and provide meaningful insight and revelation to its construct. However, he also was unable to repair a simple bicycle or build a simple laundry table that could stand on its own two legs without toppling over.


Historians do not allow examinations of human behavior to nuance their evaluations of those historical personages they are studying. One prominent presidential historian  had the misfortune to release his book on John F. Kennedy shortly before additional information came out that JFK might have been making decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis while under the influence of assorted drugs such as amphetamines. When asked in an interview about it, the historian quickly replied that he went back and re-read the transcripts of the crisis and concluded that those drugs had no affect on the president during the height of the crisis. Oh, really? He was suddenly also an expert on drug addiction and behavior? Growing up during the sixties, I had personal exposure to friends who were "speed-freaks" and on other illicit drugs, and I can tell you there are other manifestations of those addictions which are not readily apparent to a casual observer, let alone someone who might be listening to a tape of a certain conversation. That historian's answer was enough to quell further questions in his interview, but also tainted his research in my eyes.


In a review of another book on LBJ, which was written by someone who worked at the law firm that administered to the former president's life after leaving the White House, the author provided some information which was completely in keeping with research I had done. The author presented verifiable facts regarding the behavior and conduct of LBJ throughout his life. His conclusion was that LBJ and his associates might have been behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The book was criticized by many book reviewers, including a prominent editor of the Wall Street Journal. I have been a reader of the Wall Street Journal since 1960 when my father used to bring it home from work. This particular editor had exhibited clarity and insightful commentary on a broad range of topics throughout a very distinguished career at the Journal. I was therefore clearly dismayed at reading the savage attack unleashed against the book, the premise, and the author. It was clear the attack was based upon personal animus and not any relevant familiarity with the personal history of the president behind the scenes. In fact, former Secret Service agent Richard Roth, once assigned to the LBJ security detail, succinctly observed, "If Johnson weren't president, he'd be in an insane asylum."

 

Any examination of the motive behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy must also involve a deep understanding of the other powerful men of the period. 

 

In the book ISAAC'S STORM, author Erik Larsen describes how the simple action of a solitary butterfly flapping its wings in Africa can set in motion the forces of nature that weeks later can manifest themselves in the form of a hurricane thousands of miles away powerful enough to kill 10,000 people in Galveston, Texas. I think that this is a great analogy for the conundrum of the events in Dallas. How is it possible for a series of events decades prior to the assassination to coalesce in a perfect storm on November 22, 1963? Study the actions of the men who might have been influenced by those events.

 

All human beings are ruled by their emotions, despite the best efforts of historians to downplay or even ignore those basic influences. For example, the writings of J. Edgar Hoover are especially revealing. Most people don't understand how truly powerful Hoover was in America in the 1950's. The two most powerful men in government were the president and the director of the F.B.I. Hoover's reputation was savaged by a series of unverifiable salacious rumors regarding his proclivities, which have succeeded in reducing Hoover to a joke in recent years. He was far from a joke. The papers he authored on criminality and morality are prescient in exposing the depth of the conflict and disdain he would have had for the young Kennedys, Jack and Bobby, who ultimately not only became his bosses, but also were public repudiation of Hoover's previous creeds and professed values.


"Any man who lacks sexual discipline displays to all a basic sign of weakness in character...A leader of men must especially be a moral man. Without a foundation in morality, that leader cannot lead...A man whose mind is clouded with sexual thoughts cannot be expected to think clearly or rationally in times of crisis."

— F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover

 

Michener, Wouk, and Forsythe

 

Important Back Story Information (and sub-pages):

 

  • Why a novel?
  • How is this book different from all the other Kennedy books out there?     
  • What needs do this story fulfill?
  • What really happened and why did it happen?
  • Why was it covered up?
  • Is this book relevant to current news topics, politics, and the world today?

 

  • Why was this written as a novel? Over two thousand books have been written about the Kennedy assassination and all but a small handful have been non-fiction. The vast majority have proven to be either too dull or too complex for all but the most dedicated readers to absorb. The scope of this actual historical story is rich with human drama, jealousies, deceits, egos, and miscalculations worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy.