The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
David Kaiser. Harvard/Belknap, $35 (468p) ISBN 978-0-674-02766-4
While plenty of authors have argued that the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans were behind the assassination of President Kennedy, few have done so as convincingly as Naval War College history professor Kaiser (American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War). Kaiser bills this as “the first [Kennedy assassination book] written by a professional historian who has researched the available archives,” and his attention to detail and use of recently released FBI and CIA files put this analysis ahead of many of its fellows. Kaiser focuses on the tantalizing testimony of Cuban exile Silvia Odio, who claimed to have met Lee Harvey Oswald in the company of Cuban activists, and on the U.S. government’s efforts to kill Castro and Robert Kennedy’s crusade against organized crime. By taking Oswald’s guilt as a given and focusing on the people he crossed paths with and their motives and connections, Kaiser mostly succeeds in avoiding complex and narrative-derailing forensic discussions. This is a deeply disturbing look at a national tragedy, and Kaiser’s sober tone and reasoned analysis may well convince some in the Oswald-was-a-lone-nut camp. 30 b&w illus. not seen by PW. (Mar.)
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