After believing for over 45 years there was a conspiracy to kill president Kennedy, I got this book. It debunks all the B S theories that Oliver Stone, Jim Garrison, and Robert Groden profess, as well as all of the other hack writers that keep the conspiracy theories going for money. Plain common sense with these facts make it so obvious that Oswald acted alone and Ruby acted alone. I was 9 years old when this happened, and finally I know the truth.
Where Bugliosi shined, and where he always shines, is in providing a meticulous-yet-readable account of the Official Story .. in this case, that means the Warren Commission's version of events. He convincingly recounts the physical evidence that supports the story, and provides thorough, empirical debunkings of many of the more ludicrous claims of conspiracy theorists. In particular, his attention to the details of the Dealy Plaza Crime Scene provide compelling reasons to accept the Single Bullet Theory, and reject the HSCA's acoustical analysis of the Dictaphone recording.
Where he failed was in providing an unbiased view, in spite of all his promises that he would do so. His mistakes and omissions are numerous and flagrant, and one can't help but suspect that some were not accidental -- but that, just like the conspiracy theorists he constantly and breathlessly belittles, he has cherry-picked the information that helps his cause, and swept the inconvenient parts under the rug.
Just a few examples (of literally dozens I noted):
* During the "Four Days In Dallas" narrative, he fills in the internal thoughts and feelings of the characters, which always support his version of events ... even though, barring secret personal diaries that he alone had access to, or some kind of time-traveling telepathy device that allowed him to eavesdrop on their thoughts as history unfolded, he had no way of knowing what these people were thinking. So in essence, he made stuff up ... he would no doubt say that this is "dramatic license," but when trying to present the truth of a highly controversial subject, making stuff up which support your argument is anything but honest. If a pro-conspiracy writer did the exact same thing -- for instance, writing a scene where Oswald is thinking to himself, "Gosh I'm glad to be a part of this conspiracy! I can't want to get my money for helping those fine CIA gents!" -- Bugliosi would (rightfully) mock and dismiss the speculation of Oswald's internal thoughts as question-begging nonsense.
* During his discussion of the HSCA, he completely failed to mention the involvement of George Joannides, who acted as an "aid" to the Committee without disclosing to them that he had been the director of the CIA's Anti-Castro operations in Miami, the JM/WAVE station. This is significant, because classified document releases since the HSCA (i.e. documents released to AARB in response to the JFK Records Act) have shown that Joannides withheld information from the Committee.
* While discussing the theories about Mob involvement in the assassination, he failed to mention the recently declassified documents which show that the CIA and the Mafia -did- in fact have a working relationship, and conspired together to assassinate Castro. This is significant, because it shows the exact conspiratorial relationship posited for decades -- the CIA, the Mob, and the Anti-Castro Cuban were all in cahoots together, and were conspiring (i.e. planning illegally together) to assassinate a head of state.
* While discussing Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union, he failed to mention the False Defector program being run by the U.S. at the time, which sent young U.S. service members (like Oswald) to the USSR to pose as defectors, gather information for a few years, and then return to the U.S.
These, along with several other instances of flagrant omissions and sketchy additions. This is disappointing, because it only leads to more questions and speculation ... by presenting yet another argument so full of holes and loose threads, Bugliosi hasn't really added much more than another 1500+ pages (plus endnotes) of fluff to the debate.
I've read "Helter Skelter," and while good, if compared to the other go-to resources on the Manson Family / Tate-LaBianca Murders (Sanders' "The Family" and Gorightly's "Shadow Over Santa Susana"), it suffers many of the same problems as "Reclaiming History" ... namely, that it was written by the prosecutor, who can hardly be relied upon to be impartial. I don't think he does it on purpose -- he's more impartial and honest than Jim Garrison, for example -- but he always writes like he's trying to convince a jury. And thus, hopefully to no one's great surprise, he leaves out or dismisses information that would harm his case, and embellishes the parts that support it.
This long, well-padded prosecutorial brief may appear "definitive" to people who aren't familiar with ad hominem attacks, arguments from authority, and the other logical fallacies liberally employed. Those who are already inclined to believe the Official Story will no doubt lap up all the condescending snark and school-yard insults that Bugliosi levels at conspiracy theories and theorists ... while those already inclined to conspiracy theories will likely be too rankled by the breathless streams of insults he directs at them to get much good from the nuggets of solid, empirical information he presents.
But it's hardly definitive, in any regard ... if Bugliosi had spent more time actually addressing pro-conspiracy arguments with convincing counter-evidence, and less time coming up with pithy-but-family-safe insults ("Moonshine," "Queer as a three dollar bill," etc) for anyone who disagrees with him, it might have been a stronger book. (To say nothing of the forests felled to discuss what Mrs. Kennedy wore to the funeral, what the chaplain said, who were Oswald's pall-bearers, etc etc etc ....yes, there was some definite padding to reach 1500 pages....)
An incredibly well-researched book, lucidly laid out.
If you subscribe to conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy, this book is not for you. However, if you want a detailed account of the movements of the various individuals involved in the shooting -- this is the definitive account, short of going through the Warren Commission Report.
I must confess that I lost interest in the last third of the book because it deals with rebutting the various conspiracy theories. This is in now way the author's fault -- conspiracy theories bore me.
I recommend pairing this book with William Manchester's Death of a President which largely deals with the assassination from the point of view of the victim and his family, friends, and aides. Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History is more of a crime procedural in that it devotes a great deal of time to the event, pursuit, and apprehension of the assassin. The result of this pairing is a vivid portrait of a shocking and confounding event that has managed to leave an indelible mark on the American psyche.
all i can say is the logic in this book is unassailable. extremely thorough, obviously opinionated and "one sided", but hard to argue against.
The government who does all the cover ups
Read did ok
Disappointment. I wanted my money back
Not really. After all no graphic material is required to achieve the noel of the author.
Yes. It was hard to end a chapter without thinking on what the next one will say.
This book outlines the details and opinions of the lone gunman theory. A must read for anyone wh actually believed in the conspiracy and now changed my mind. Read it with an open mind. It'll be worth your time.
I bought this book because I really enjoyed Helter Skelter, by the same author, Vincent Bugliousi. Despite being very long and detailed it was fascinatingly written and read.
Unfortunately, I can not say the same about this book...
"Reclaiming History" is too long and goes into tiresome and boring detail. I gave it a good (and long...) chance, but I just couldn't listen through the whole thing. It was way too boring...
First off, Edward Hermann is brilliant in his narration. What a great voice to lend to this book. The first half on specific timeframes of the events offers a lot of information I hadn't heard before. Very interesting stuff. While the second half is worth listening to, I found myself becoming more annoyed every time the author hurled another negative descriptor onto conspiracy theorists, claiming them to be either stupid, ignorant, deliberately misleading, misinformed, or whatever term he wished to use. While I am sure he did his homework before writing it, should I really believe everything he says simply because he says it? Even with this question, it was a wonderful review of a time I lived through and have read many works about.
The killing of JFK will always make interesting reading and this story is very will written. Listing to this "documentary will take away the doubt about who was lone killer.