Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In his epilogue, Peter Dale Scott compares the deaths of the Kennedy brothers to those of the Gracchi, two brothers determined to drive corruption from the Roman Empire a century before its downfall. The chilling comparison is apt.

Scott offers no simplistic answer to the question “Who murdered John F. Kennedy?” Rather, he views the president’s death as one of four interrelated national crises, occurring at the rate of one a decade, in post-World War II America: McCarthyism, which Scott calls “Hooverism,” in recognition of J. Edgar Hoover’s witchhunting; the JFK assassination; Watergate; and Contragate.

Links among these four cataclysms are all related to organized crime, particularly transnational drug trafficking. Scott documents connivance between the FBI, CIA, and local police agencies in murdering political dissidents during the 1960’s. It is unrealistic, therefore, to suppose the FBI and CIA were above feeding the Warren Commission misleading information about JFK’s assassination; in deed, Scott documents the suppression of such key evidence as Jack Ruby’s connection to organized crime in Chicago.

Scott shows how Allen Dulles, the Director of the CIA, sought to predetermine the lines of investigation to be followed by the Warren Commission. Dulles emphasized that historically, American presidential assassins have acted alone. When a member of the Commission objected that Abraham Lincoln’s assassination was conspiratorial, Dulles responded that John Wilkes Booth so strongly controlled the assassins who, simultaneously with Booth’s action, shot, in different parts of Washington, two cabinet members, that those events were essentially his work alone.

This book, which calls stridently for the release to the public of the full JFK assassination archive, is minutely researched and brilliantly reasoned. It ranks int he top one percent of the more than two thousand volumes published on JFK’s assassination since 1963.

Sources for Further Study

Booklist. XC, September 15, 1993, p.107.

Kirkus Reviews. LXI, August 15, 1993, p.1059.

Library Journal. CXVIII, October 15, 1993, p.76.

San Francisco Chronicle. November 18, 1993, p. El.

The Washington Post Book World. XXIII, October 31, 1993, p.4.