The idea that Kennedy’s assassination was part of a conspiracy and not the official line that said he was killed by a lone assassin, is no new idea. The first book that explored this idea was Thomas Buchanan’s Who Killed Kennedy? that was published in 1964.
There are now well over 2000 books on the subject and a 2003 GALLUP survey indicated that 75% of Americans believed in a conspiracy, and that there was a government cover-up.
The Warren Commission is now recognised has having serious flaws. In fact the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979 that “there was a high probability that 2 gunmen fired at the President.” And that there were 4 shots, not 3 — the one that missed, the ‘magic’ bullet that passed through the President into Governor Conally, the fatal shot and one from the grassy knoll.
Modern theories implicate involvement of the CIA, the Mafia, anti-Castro Cuban exile groups, the US Military, Lyndon B Johnson, Fidel Castro, the FBI, J.Edgar Hoover, the KGB and more.
In fact with regards to Kennedy’s assassination, it is regarded as the mother of all conspiracies.
I can not tell you how many books I read while researching for my novel, even though my novel is not a conspiracy novel per se and nor does it attempt to shed specific light on any one theory, I needed to know and the more I knew the more I needed to know. It is a minefield out there and each book, even with completely contrasting views was equally convincing, which makes it hard to know who to believe.
Many, including JFK the Oliver Stone movie (1991) implies a combination of many of these forces at work. While the findings of The Warren Commission published in 1964 alleged a lone assassin, the interviews were conducted by the CIA and the FBI so there might be a good reason for the shortcomings of this report.
And I am inclined to think there is a combination of many that brought about this assassination.
Because I was not alive at the time, I don’t have a firm grasp on what it was like at the time in terms of political unrest and how people really felt about Kennedy.
My reading suggests he was a popular and charismatic President, but scratching below the surface I see the issues he faced, the Bay of Pigs being cited often as a motive for his murder, with a lot of anti-Castro exiles wanting to return to the US and the failure of the Bay of Pigs being a reason for unrest. Others cite his wanting to have little involvement in Vietnam — a decision I believe was reversed with various policy overturns after his death.
Lee Harvey Oswald really fascinates me and the more I read, while he ties into and has associations with many of the groups alleged to have been involved in the conspiracy, the more I am convinced that he could not have acted alone.
But here lies the issues with theories and books reportedly non-fiction, people think that means fact and they think that means truth — when what they are reading and what I found convincing — is OPINION and that is a very different thing to FACT.
What I do know is his assassination is a moment in history that shook the world and still does.
What would the world have been like if he hadn’t been assassinated? Now that’s the stuff of novels and there are a few that back this alternative history angle, I read Idlewild recently by Mark Lawson. And Stephen King’s excellent 11/22/63 also addresses this question by setting up the premise that our time-travelling protagonist could kill Oswald — but he needs to be sure first he acted alone and this is the main foundation of his novel.
With the limited knowledge of history I confess to have, or perhaps I should say political history I can not endeavour to answer the question of what would have happened in terms of US and world politics if Kennedy had not been assassinated that’s more for those who know and it has been done well.
The only question I ask in relation to this in my novel is: would Eleanor Boone still have disappeared if Kennedy had not been assassinated? But you’ll need to read the novel to be able to answer that.
No matter who you are, I think even fifty years on we still wonder about that assassination. The very fact it was captured on a home movie and that can be viewed in full colour digital enhancement on YouTube, makes it a very public murder. Shroud that in mystery and conspiracy and the huge number of sealed records and you have yourself one helluva conspiracy.
And one I know will never go away.
And it surely inspired my novel — only the real question now is what happened to Eleanor Boone?
I am having my first Author Event as a published novelist tonight. It is an odd thing. I am in essence a shy person and it’s only through validation of my writing that I have gradually gained the confidence to stand in front of people to run workshops and give readings and I am now comfortable with that.
But being in my own spotlight (this is someone who would never stand on a stage and act or sing (a good thing, trust me!) — I am the one who writes the stuff and creates the drama, and doesn’t perform it — so suddenly taking centre-stage is something I will have to learn to deal with. But actually I am pretty excited, even if the event is all about me (oh God how egotistical does that sound — well you know what I mean.) Actually it’s all about my characters — this is their moment to take the spotlight. I can handle it better if I think of it that way.
Tonight is a pre-launch to get ready for the BIG day tomorrow.
I have an early nail appointment and things so no blog tomorrow but you can bet there will be a report and photos of the events here next week.
See you on the other side.
Pre-order my novel here HERE