James Hepburn, Author , intro. by William Turner. Penmarin $17.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-883955-32-8

Originally published in Europe in 1968, this is a once-notorious, now-dated look at John Kennedy's assassination and an excoriation of the American scene in its aftermath. Turner (Rearview Mirror, etc.) explains in his introduction that the book was first published under mysterious circumstances and was "aimed at advancing the 1968 presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy," but its U.S. distribution was rapidly curtailed after RFK's death. The authors ("James Hepburn" is a pseudonym) conducted clandestine research among KGB and Interpol agents and French petroleum espionage specialists and relied on a rare, unmodified print of the famed Zapruder film. The book seethes with aggrieved passion in defending the Kennedys and their ideals, and seeks to defrock the "lone gunman" theory of JFK's assassination. Most of the text is a damning jeremiad, portraying pre-1964 America as a vicious, discriminatory oligarchy controlled by alliances of Big Steel and Big Oil, the military and organized crime, which all had reason to fear JFK's proposed reforms. According to "Hepburn," these interests combined with ultra-right-wing paramilitary groups like the Minutemen and Cuban exile groups to plan the assassination. Chapters discussing the assassination itself will be grimly convincing to some readers, with excellent analyses of the Secret Service's failures and the ambiguous roles played by the CIA and FBI during this tumultuous era. This is a pungent historical document, but its conspiracy theory is familiar by now, and its information has been surpassed by more recent studies such as Murder in Dealey Plaza, edited by James Fetzer. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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