Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Book Review: Kennedy Must Be Killed

Boy howdy, this is an interesting book.

In 1976, a book by Carl Oglesby, The Yankee and Cowboy War, posited that the "old money" fellows of the snooty Eastern Seaboard were, and had been, engaged in a power struggle with the rough-and-tumble "new money" exemplified by the Texas Oil barons and their ilk.  Cowboys and Yankees.

A view of the Kennedy assassination similar to Oglesby's viewpoint is expressed in this novel by Chuck Helppie.

It varies between a third-person "framing" narrative set in the 1978 world of the HSCA -- The House Select Committee on Assassinations -- and the first-person narrative of Patrick McCarthy, a man who dedicates his life to serving his country.

It's up to the reader to decide if McCarthy succeeds.

First off, let's get my pet peeve out of the way, proofreading.  I would give this book a 98 out of 100.  There are only a couple of typoes, along with the sadly typical use of "pouring" (which you do with a pitcher of water) when the author meant to say "poring" (which is examining or studying something).

This is a novel that uses the character of Patrick McCarthy to cover a period from 1976 to 1978 and the American scene.  Without spoiling the particulars of the book, let's just say that McCarthy meets most of the people involved, or suspected of being involved, when the JFK assassination is discussed.

I must say that the story is told in such a way that yep, it makes sense for this person to have been here at this time.  It makes sense at this time for McCarthy to have been at so-and-so location, and to have met a certain person.  To me, at least, the person of McCarthy as a guy trying to do what's asked of him, for his country's sake, makes sense.

I too have had some self-examining moments when I realize how much the things I have intended, have gone wrong.  Not to this extent, of course.

As to historicity:
In my database of 1900+ books I have in my "Fortress of Markitude" here, this Kennedy Must Be Killed makes 81 that I have categorized under "assassinations."  And, yes, I have read them. 

I actually can't come up with anything in my little ol' memory that conflicts with something presented historically in Kennedy Must Be Killed.  Now, I didn't sit down and check anything off a checklist, but nothing "rang false" to me as I read the book.  A heck of a lot of exposition is handled pretty well as discussions between McCarthy and his two college buddies, who take on other rolse in life as time passes.

Now, even this book at 600 pages must necessarily pass over a LOT of the things entailed in the JFK murder.  For some in-depth creepiness, read the five volumes of  Inside the Assassinations Records Review Board, by Douglas P Horne.  Horne was the Chief Analyst for Military Records for the Assassinations Records Review Board.  He has read the records that prove such things as the Zapruder film alterations and the falsified autopsy results, and such -- all things that could be accomplished by the folks described in Kennedy Must Be Killed

So, it's a pretty interesting book, and covers a lot of possible rationales behind the folks who, beyond reasonable doubts, were involved in the murder of a duly elected President.  Mr Helppie does a really good job of presenting WHY these people were able to rationalize such a coup d'etat as service to their country.

One depressing observation I'd like to make is that both the cowboys and the yankees are elitists and fascists.  They feel that we poor plebians exist only to serve the "greater good" of whatever our country requires of us. 

Saddest of all, they think that they have the right to decide what that greater good is.

So, if I've piqued your interest, check out the book!

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