Kennedy assassination books

Who Killed Kennedy?

Recommended JFK Assassination Books


You probably enjoy this wiz-bang web technology, or you wouldn't be here. But the web is nowhere near making obsolete that old fashioned form of information technology: the printed word.

Below is a list of books I recommend to people who are just getting started studying the assassination. In putting together this list, I've used the following rules:

Warren Commission Report
Don't be put off by the fact that the conspiracy types bash the Commission's work, nor by the fact that this is a government report. It reads better than you would ever expect a government report to read. It has some marked weaknesses and it can't deal with conspiracy arguments raised in the years since it was issued. But it has some signal strengths too.

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JFK assassination book the Warren Commission Report
Crossfire
Jim Marrs. The virtue of this volume is its comprehensiveness. Marrs seems never to have met a crackpot witness he didn't believe nor run across a conspiracy factoid he didn't accept. You'll get the full case for "conspiracy" here, the good, the bad, and the downright wacky.

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JFK assassination book: Jim Marrs Crossfire
Case Closed
Gerald Posner. A comprehensive "lone assassin" synthesis, and massive debunking of conspiracy factoids. Its real strength is a compelling portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald the man.

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JFK assassination book: Gerald Posner's Case Closed
The Killing of a President
Robert Groden. The text is a mish-mash of conspiracy factoids, but the pictures are a treasure in this large-format volume.

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Robert Groden's The Killing of a president
JFK Assassination Logic
John McAdams. From the webmaster of this site, it's subtitled "How to Think About Claims of Conspiracy." This is not a book about what to think about conspiracy theories, but how to think about conspiracy theories. Mostly, it demolishes claims of conspiracy books, but it also has some guidelines for distinguishing conspiracy theories that are merely wacky from those that have a bit of plausibility.

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JFK Assassination Logic:  How to Think About Claims of Conspiracy
Reclaiming History
Vincent Bugliosi. This massive volume debunks the claims of conspiracists right down to the most trivial seeming (but large to the conspiracist mind) details. Read it when you have been exposed to a huge number of conspiracy factoids, and are ready to see them shot to hell.

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Vincent Bugliosi - Reclaiming History
Not In Your Lifetime
Anthony Summers. Summers is an honest researcher who unfortunately is too easily bamboozled by suspect witnesses with "interesting" stories to tell. The book's strength is New Orleans and Oswald's 1963 summer there.

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JFK assassination Anthony Summers' Not in Your Lifetime
Assassination Chronicles
Edward Jay Epstein. Actually three books (1) Inquest, Epstein's early critique of the work of the Warren Commission (2) Legend, a biography of Lee Oswald, and (3) Counterplot, a fine account of the Garrison investigation.

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JFK assassination book: 
The Assassination Chronicles
High Treason
Harrison Livingstone and Robert Groden. A good introduction to the conspiracy view of the medical evidence, and much more besides. Rife with inaccuracies and wacky assertions, but fascinating too.

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JFK assassination book: High Treason
Deep Politics and the Death of JFK
Peter Dale Scott. Not so much a book about the assassination as about everything else going on in American politics. In Scott's view, almost everybody was corrupt, and almost everybody probably had a role in the assassination.

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JFK assassination book: 
Peter Dale Scott's Deep Politics
Jack Ruby
Garry Wills and Ovid Demaris. Well-written account, anchored in extensive witness interviews, on Jack Ruby the man, Jack Ruby the murder case, Dallas the city — and Dallas the state of mind. The real Jack Ruby was nothing like the cardboard character of the conspiracy books.

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JFK assassination book: Jack Ruby
Cover-Up
Stewart Galanor. A brief and relatively sensible presentation of the case for conspiracy. Pretty mainstream, avoiding the wilder stuff that Jim Marrs (above) includes. Has a good photo section.

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Assassination book: Coverup
Pictures of the Pain
Richard Trask. Nominally only deals with the photographers who photographed the assassination and aftermath, and their photos. In reality a detailed, accurate, and compelling account of what happened "on the ground" in Dallas and especially in Dealey Plaza that day.

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JFK assassination book: Richard Trask's Pictures of the Pain
False Witness
Patricia Lambert. The definitive debunking of the Garrison investigation, based on the full documentary record (much of it recently released) and extensive witness interviews. Shows the real Jim Garrison.

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JFK assassination book: False Witness
Who's Who in the JFK Assassination
Michael Benson. A comprehensive tome with entries for everybody you have heard of in connection with the assassination, and many you haven't. Uncritically accepts the stuff in badly-researched conspiracy books. Think of it as the Encyclopedia of Assassination Factoids, and you'll appreciate its usefulness.

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JFK assassination: Who's Who
With Malice
Dale Myers. This book may be more than you wanted to know about the Tippit murder, but here it all is in great detail and fine scholarship.

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JFK assassination book: Dale Myer's With Malice

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