We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters | [James W. Douglass]

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

At the height of the Cold War, JFK risked committing the greatest crime in human history: starting a nuclear war. Horrified by the specter of nuclear annihilation, Kennedy gradually turned away from his long-held Cold Warrior beliefs and toward a policy of lasting peace. But to the military and intelligence agencies in the United States, who were committed to winning the Cold War at any cost, Kennedy's change of heart was a direct threat to their power and influence.
Regular Price:$41.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

At the height of the Cold War, JFK risked committing the greatest crime in human history: starting a nuclear war. Horrified by the specter of nuclear annihilation, Kennedy gradually turned away from his long-held Cold Warrior beliefs and toward a policy of lasting peace. But to the military and intelligence agencies in the United States, who were committed to winning the Cold War at any cost, Kennedy's change of heart was a direct threat to their power and influence. Once these dark "Unspeakable" forces recognized that Kennedy's interests were in direct opposition to their own, they tagged him as a dangerous traitor, plotted his assassination, and orchestrated the subsequent cover-up.

Douglass takes listeners into the Oval Office during the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, along on the strange journey of Lee Harvey Oswald and his shadowy handlers, and to the winding road in Dallas where an ambush awaited the president's motorcade. As Douglass convincingly documents, at every step along the way, these forces of the Unspeakable were present, moving people like pawns on a chessboard to promote a dangerous and deadly agenda.

©2008 James W. Douglass (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"The best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance.... But don’t take my word for it. Read this extraordinary book and reach your own conclusions." (Oliver Stone)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (146 )
5 star
 (68)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.1 (123 )
5 star
 (61)
4 star
 (30)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (4)
Story
4.1 (119 )
5 star
 (55)
4 star
 (38)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Terry A. Gray 08-18-13

    ever reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best book on the JFK Assassination"
    If you could sum up JFK and the Unspeakable in three words, what would they be?

    Research. Presentation. Depth.


    What other book might you compare JFK and the Unspeakable to and why?

    Books by Mark Lane, Rush to Judgement, Plausible Deniability or Last Word, for example.


    What about Pete Larkin’s performance did you like?

    The narrator spoke clearly, at an even pace, and did not mispronounce words, as often happens with Audible history narrators.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Learn once and for all the truth about the JFK murder.


    Any additional comments?

    This book handles deftly the wide range of evidence that the CIA construed and implemented the murder of JFK. Especially interesting are many of the eyewitness accounts to the original plan to murder him in Chicago on Nov. 2, the Oswald double, and the getaway flight of two of the perpetrators. Douglass presents clearly and fairly the stories of the many witnesses to the conspiracy.

    He also goes into great depth on the why of the murder. In sum, it was because Kennedy was turning away from cold war posturing, and turning to peace initiatives that defied the entrenched authority of the CIA and their military allies. He went so far in pursuing peace, that he had to be killed. The specifics are well known: the bay of pigs debacle and hatred for Kennedy among those in the CIA who were involved; a possible rapprochement with Castro; Kennedy's convincingly presented desire and program to extract the US from Viet Nam; the comprehensive test ban treaty Kennedy supported between the US and USSR; and most especially his growing partnership with Khrushchev to move the world towards a non-war footing, after their sobering brinksmanship during the Cuban missile crisis. Douglass makes much of Kennedy's inspiring American University address of June 1963, which wrote sealed to his death warrant.

    I do have a couple of minor criticisms, but I hope they do not discourage anyone from enjoying this thoroughly researched and important book. One is that Douglass, as a Catholic and peace advocate, tries to tie in too often the views and comments of Thomas Merton. They are relevant, but do not deserve the weight he gives them. Another is that Douglass presents baldly the evidence of all the eye witnesses to the activities of Oswald and his CIA double leading up to and on the day of the assassination, but never summarizes the whole rather confusing sets of evidence in a clear statement. Finally, it may be going too far to attribute of JFK the role of peace martyr. He is treated with perhaps a little more reverence than deserved, though Douglass never hesitates to point out a few of his personal shortcomings.

    These minor matters only very slightly detract from the powerful presentation and in-depth research that makes this the best assassination book, from the evidential and historical perspectives, I have read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine United States 05-09-13
    Elaine United States 05-09-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a late interest in history"
    Where does JFK and the Unspeakable rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I am coming very late to this information. As a Canadian who knew when JFK died, I did not really follow the intrigue over the next many years. This is an amazing history of conspiracy, intrigue, and deception....not the finest example of the USA leadership ...on the part of the CIA. I really appreciated learning about JFK's turn to peace with Russia and Cuba. If he had not been assassinated (by CIA plot) the world would be a different place As a Canadian, I am a strong supporter of my American friends and neighbours ....but it is time to be realistic and take ownership of the issues. The most recent is the incredibly stupid but powerful NRA lobby - get a grip Americans.
    EB


    What did you like best about this story?

    the story itself


    Have you listened to any of Pete Larkin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Conspiracy in America


    Any additional comments?

    A great read

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Morgan 09-06-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well researched but not coherent or organized."
    What disappointed you about JFK and the Unspeakable?

    This book was about twice as long as it could have been. There were endless repetitions and backtracks and tangents that really made it impossible to tie the story together. I know this is a complex topic, but it really felt like stream of consciousness a majority of the time, despite that it seemed like there were good references and research that went into the information.


    What was most disappointing about James W. Douglass’s story?

    I was disappointed that the part of the case that I am most familiar with, the actual shooting was so inaccurately described. One of the only pieces of concrete evidence we have of what happened that is widely available is the Zapruder film and for the description as to what can clearly be seen to be so inaccurately characterized gave the rest of the book, made up of less concrete recollections, testimonies, other books, redacted declassified reports, etc. a lot less credibility.


    What does Pete Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Enjoyed the narrator's performance, I did tire of hearing the term "turn towards peace" but that wasn't the narrators fault. Seemed like every sentence started with that phrase.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I stuck with it only because I was interested in the subject matter and hoped it would get better or finally tie things together in the end, I was disappointed.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't understand how this book had such rave reviews. First time I have been led astray by Audible reviews. I will have to be more diligent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jhon 08-29-14
    jhon 08-29-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the Ten Best of All Time"
    If you could sum up JFK and the Unspeakable in three words, what would they be?

    (To quote La Dolce Vita) Love, Love, and Love. That is a little silly or sentimental... probably both, but in truth it is a very loving and compassionate portrait that Douglass paints of a man who had, I think this is virtually certain today, turned towards a more peaceful solution to many domestic and global problems. Douglass, whether you agree with the turning concept or like Jim DiEugenio you believe JFK was never truly a cold warrior after his 1951 sojourn, aptly demonstrates key policy points of the short and often misunderstood Kennedy presidency, the reasons that these decisions were good for almost everyone EXCEPT the Military Industrial Congressional CIA Establishment Clusterfuck Conspiracy Complex, and just how these unprecedented moves led to his execution.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Uhmm... I am tempted to say Oswald because I am intensely fascinated with this oft misunderstood twenty-four year old. That said, in this particular case I don't think one can answer that question with anyone other than the target. Old Number 35 himself. Kennedy comes across as being a levelheaded, sophisticated, and inspired president. Undoubtedly the greatest one since FDR and possibly one of the handful of truly GREAT presidents.


    Have you listened to any of Pete Larkin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I am not that wild about Mr. Larkin's performance. It is a trifle flat, though his voice is undoubtedly strong. I really, and I cannot stress this enough, much prefer when the book is read by the author. I have only owned four audiobooks in my life. Two of them are actually Vincent Bugliosi joints (I know, I know, but I knew that I would never, ever read the 2500 pages of reclaiming history so I thought I would listen to it on trips and whatnot, so I shoplifted it from a local bookstore one day when I was drunk. Ironically, I also bought Mr. Bugliosi's indictment of George W. Bush and the recent biography by British comic Jennifer Saunders of French and Saunders and Absolutely Fabulous fame. The only part of the W book I enjoy is actually the introduction read by Bugliosi himself. I cannot stress enough that I never, ever, in one million years with one million dollars would have bought the Saunders CD were it not read by Saunders herself. In my humble opinion, in both cases the author's reading of their own words adds color that is otherwise absent. In this respect I would much, much rather have heard Douglass read his own book, but Larkin is passable.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The part about the Chicago plot is one of the greatest available. It is shorter and more concise than the Abraham Bolden or Edwin Black treatments while still being mostly as informative. Also, the two Oswald stuff about the Texas Theater, redbird airfield, and the mysterious sighting of Oswald in a car with a license plate that belonged to close friends of J.D. Tippit are all compelling if I don't exactly believe all of them. (I would like to, but they simply seem too fantastic, despite the fact that Douglass has researched this as well as can possibly be done in this day and age when so many of the original players have shuffled off this mortal coil to quote Kevin Costner/Garrison) Whether every little thing about the two Oswalds is true or not, it is very interesting. Furthermore, you will not find the same depth of policy, historical context, and relevant assassination information in any other book. I agree, mostly that is, with CTKA's list of the ten best books on the assassination (though I have never read Kantor's book, and I don't think that Oswald and the CIA is better than Spy Saga... Blasphemy!). This book is, of course, one of those ten and nowhere else in that list will you find a book that does all of these things so well. Typically authors have to zero in more on a specific aspect of the case (Warren Commission, HSCA, medical evidence, Oswald, etc.) to be compelling. The only other book that really goes for everything and succeeds on this level is Rush to Judgement. Which, although a terrific read as Lane has an excellent literary voice and arguably the best "primer" book as it fleshes out the basic facts succinctly; it must be noted that a nearly fifty year old book simply isn't able to be considered in the same light as a book written in the wake of the ARRB revelations (which Douglass of course makes ample use of). With this in mind, sure it would be nice if everyone could read Battling Wall Street, JFK and Vietnam, Promises Kept, Oswald and the CIA, Breach of Trust, the Last Investigation, Rush to Judgment, Let Justice Be Done, etc. etc., the fact is that many people simply do not have that kind of time. As such, Douglass provides one of the best instances of bang for the buck in terms of time committed vis a vis information gleaned.


    Any additional comments?

    The rest of these are probably long enough. So, I'll just reiterate the fact that for an all in one look at domestic policy, foreign policy, assassination facts, declassified files, and historical context you could do a hell of a lot worse than JFK and the Unspeakable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boyce Hart nyc 01-06-14
    Boyce Hart nyc 01-06-14

    bubblegum

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Most Important Book Ever on Post WWII US History."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    YEEESSSSSSS! Larkin reads it perfectly.


    What other book might you compare JFK and the Unspeakable to and why?

    Emma

    Layered complexity handled with unique deftness


    What about Pete Larkin’s performance did you like?

    His voice and pace.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Footnotes to a coup


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    creative_seattle Woodinville, WA, United States 12-19-13
    creative_seattle Woodinville, WA, United States 12-19-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative, Eye Opening and Captivating"
    Would you listen to JFK and the Unspeakable again? Why?

    It was well read


    Any additional comments?

    Author should have skipped Thomas Merton references. Other than that, a captivating, informational book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cletus van Damme 03-03-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    110
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    147
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "When the radical priest come to get me relased ..."

    I had high hopes for this book as an up-to-date aggregation of JFK assassination research to replace Jim Marrs' excellent (but dated) "Crossfire." Douglass' book is a huge disappointment, having more to do with the canonization of JFK as a Roman Catholic martyr than with the conspiracy itself.

    Like Joe Friday, all I want are the facts. Douglass performs the specious task of imputing religious motivations to JFK's foreign policy, drawing parallels between that policy and the writings of Thomas Merton. Merton had about as much influence on JFK's foreign policy as Donald Duck.

    I agree with the author that JFK was killed by the "military-industrial complex." The military-industrial complex is a Very Bad Thing that controls our government to this day ("Don't drone me, bro!"). However, the characterization of JFK as a saint strikes me as naive. To quote James Ellroy: "Jack Kennedy was the mythological front man for a particularly juicy slice of our history. He called a slick line and wore a world-class haircut. He was Bill Clinton minus pervasive media scrutiny and a few rolls of flab. Jack got whacked at the optimum moment to assure his sainthood."

    The true story has been covered-up and the nation lied-to for 50 years. The full truth needs to be acknowledged by the government and the plotters exposed. This book, focused on Roman Catholic theology rather than the plot itself, does little to advance the cause. If you are an assassination conspiracy buff, better choices available on Audible include "LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination" and "Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew lake saint louis, MO, United States 11-13-12
    Matthew lake saint louis, MO, United States 11-13-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting"

    Strange thing to me, is the author is very pro JFK. Yet he convinced me that if the CIA did kill him, they had to. He was indeed a threat to national security.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Sunrise, FL, United States 06-15-11
    Alan Sunrise, FL, United States 06-15-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    214
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    47
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    0
    Overall
    "Not a book on the assignation."

    Reader beware. This is not a book dedicated to the JFK assassination ( which I mistakenky made ) This book could better be titled "What those bad boys in the Pentagon and CIA did to Camelot." I am a believer in the single gunman theory (Oswakd did it). I knew when I bought this book that this was a conspiracy slanted book. My giving only 3 stars to this review had nothing to do with ideological slant.
    The biggest problem the listener has to endure is that the author does not believe in linear progression. One minute you're talking about the Berlin airlift, next minute Kennedy is dead, then back to castro and kennedy lives again. then its time to talk about Nikita K. for a bit then its back to Oswald.. This might be the editors fault
    .
    Another problem is that four of the biggest names in conspiricy circles hardly even gets a mention. Pope John XXIII has more discussion time then David Ferrie, Guy Bannister, Clay Shaw and Jim Garrison put together. Even if the author totally discounts these mens participation, a small discussion as to why would have been appropiate. I may have to go back and recheck but I dont even remember the name of Anthony Zapruda being mentioned. There was no anaylsis of the "magic bullet theory." The biggest iconic relic of conspiracy therorist isnt even mentioned, the pristine bullet found on JFKs stretcher.

    Another problem for this book is that it moves at a glacial pace. Again, a better editor might have to be employed if there is a sequel.

    If you believe that the CIA killed Kennedy, you will probably like this book. If you believe Oswald did it alone and you want more info, you will be disappointed. If you just wanted to learn about the assassination for the first time, try another book first.







    4 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rickie 08-22-12
    Rickie 08-22-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "B.O.R.I.N.G."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I was in 5th grade when JFK was assassinated and have been fascinated ever since. I read all I can on the conspiracy theories, so I was excited to get this book. Although the information in the book could be quite fascinating, the narration is absolutely, punishingly, boring. I could not keep a focus on the story because the narrator's voice is so monotonous. I kept having to back up to re-listen to try to get information. It took me months to finish because of this. I wish I'd realized at the time that by being a member I could have exchanged the book. Good subject, well written, excruciatingly boring to listen to.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I think the story itself was well written


    How could the performance have been better?

    Another narrator.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Just relief that I finally got through the book after months of trying.


    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 20 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.