Reclaiming History

The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (729 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2008 Audie Award Finalist for Achievement in Abridgement

Edgar Award Winner, Best Fact Crime, 2008

Polls reveal that 85 percent of Americans believe there was a conspiracy behind Lee Harvey Oswald. Some even believe Oswald was entirely innocent. In this encyclopedic, absorbing audiobook, Vincent Bugliosi shows how the public has come to believe such lies about the day that changed the course of history.  

Bugliosi has devoted almost 20 years of his life to this project, and is determined to show that, despite the overwhelming popular perception, Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone.

The brilliant prosecutor of Charles Manson and the man who forged an ironclad case of circumstantial guilt around O. J. Simpson in his best-selling Outrage, Bugliosi is perhaps the only man in America capable of "prosecuting" Oswald for the murder of President Kennedy. Reclaiming History is a narrative compendium of fact, ballistic evidence, reexamination of key witnesses, and common sense. Every detail and nuance is accounted for, every conspiracy theory revealed as a fraud upon the American public.

Bugliosi's irresistible logic, relentless pursuit of the truth, and command of the evidence shed fresh light on this American nightmare, providing a new understanding of what did and did not happen in Dallas on November 22, 1963. At last we know what really happened. At last it all makes sense.

©2007 Vincent Bugliosi. All rights reserved (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Vincent Bugliosi is an American master of common sense, a punishing advocate and a curmudgeonly refreshing voice of reason....With this work, Bugliosi has definitively explained the murder that recalibrated modern America. It is a book for the ages." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

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    4 out of 5 stars

Starts fast, ends a litte slow

The first half of this audiobook was top notch - the author's step by step, minute by minute walk through the Kennedy Assassination was excellent. I've read many books on the assassination, but this is the first time I've heard the lead-up, the event, and the aftermath presented in this format - I found it very engaging and learned how to connect many of the dots I've read about. I may listen to this portion again in the future.
The author's rantings about the various conspiracy theories was interesting at times, but got tiring quickly. I generally agree with everything he said, but it felt like I was reading a personalized hate letter to 15 or so conspiracy writers - you disagree and the facts are on your side, WE GET IT. I lost interest in this section quickly.
Recommended - at least for the first portion.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Parts are interesting

This is not the first book that I have read on this topic having read some of the bestselling Kennedy assassination books both believing in a conspiracy and others believing the offical reports.

I found the part of this book that explains the actual events in a timeline discussing the 24 hours before and the two days after the events to be a compelling narrative.

The discussion of the evidence in an objective manner (ie the Zapruder film, the ballistics, the issues surrounding the autopsy report) was quite interesting as well and I learned a great deal of information that was new to me. This is because he was able to subject some of the evidence, such as pictures, to new techniques.

However, the author seems quite angry at the people who believe any aspects of the conspiracy theories and labels them with unflattering words. I think if this part of the book had been more objective, the book would have been better.

13 people found this helpful

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The Truth Will be Revealed.

Would you consider the audio edition of Reclaiming History to be better than the print version?

NOt quite, it's abridged. I've never liked abridged books much.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Reclaiming History?

I can't pick one. The whole thing was amazing.

Which scene was your favorite?

How the author tore into the conspiracy theories (I strongly doubt any conspiracy took place at al on that day._

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

Let the Truth Reveal itself.

Any additional comments?

For people who don't believe in conspiracy theories like myself or for the curious, this is an excellent listen.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional Detailed Account

Bugliosi's latest is a welcome breath of fresh air on a subject that has seen little since the mid 1960's. In particular, Bugliosi crushes Oliver Stone's mythical JFK film as the complete fraud that it was. Anyone having a sense of intellectual honesty on this subject oughtta do two things: 1. Watch JFK, 2. then read this book.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Slow Story

Reclaiming history is a long drawn out story written more like a law brief that a telling of actual events. The beginning of the story is fascinating and interesting. As the story goes on it feels as if the author was just trying to fill pages with redundant facts. This audio book was difficult to get thru.

11 people found this helpful

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On an equal footing with Helter Skelter

Would you listen to Reclaiming History again? Why?

Yes--- This is a detailed, well researched book that puts the conspiracy industry where it belongs. Folks like Oliver Stone have allowed their fears and suspicions to take charge of their judgement and ethics.

What other book might you compare Reclaiming History to and why?

Helter Skelter. Because of the author, the style and level of detail are the same. It recalls the bad old days of the sixties. This is the single most significant event of that decade and perhaps the century. America was one country before this day and another the next. This is an important work.

Which scene was your favorite?

It's not a scene, but the behavior of Mrs. Kennedy showed us what a class lady she was. She was one of a kind and far more admirable than her husband or any one else for that matter.

Any additional comments?

Lee Harvey Oswald was a creep but did not fall far from the tree. His mother was what you'd expect this little psycho to come from. If there is a message for us to take from this episode, it's that any worthless **** can have a profound effect. Lee Harvey Oswald was certainly worthless and got "lucky".

12 people found this helpful

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Great Listen

I own this book, but it is quite thick and a long read. It is very clear Vincent Bugliosi invested many years and much of his time to providing concrete and factual details. I believe there was a conspiracy. I have my entire life. This is the only resource I have been exposed to that has caused me to think, "Well, could Oswald have done it alone?" Although I think there are a few weaker elements of the book (like attempts to group all conspiracy theorists under an umbrella of a few very extreme conspiracy beliefs, and failing to include other alternative theories involving some groups, such as the mob), I found this to be very informative, educational, and entertaining.

The first section of the book serves as more of a story (released after the fact as Four Days in November), and the rest is well-supported and cited information about the case, from the autopsy, to the Warren Commission, to conspiracy theories.

1 person found this helpful

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Finally a complete and clearly accurate accounting

I was still puzzled all these years later and this answered in detail every question, query, quibble, and melodramatic false statement. A job brilliantly done. A necessary job. So much detail and inarguable point by point dissection of absolutely everything and everyone involved. Also, Herrman is a wonderful reader. Terrific book. Deserves a thank-you.

1 person found this helpful

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There was no conspiracy

Any additional comments?

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

JFK assasination through the eyes of a prosecutor

Bugliosi analyzes the JFK assassination using as if it were a simple murder investigation basing his conclusions on facts and not speculation. He lays out a complete time line of the day of the murder, provides motives and evidence for Lee Harvey Oswald being the lone assassin, and shows that conspiracy theorist often rely on long debunked false information on which to base their outlandish claims. The only complaint is that the audio book is abridged.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Charles Meryon
  • 04-03-20

Over confident and overbearing

I am not a conspiracy theorist and I do not believe in 99% of conspiracy theories, but the JFK assassination is different. It is the one historic traumatic event or rather 'the big event' which has attracted more claims for conspiracy than any other and there is a reason for this... It could quite feasibly be true. It is simply not an outlandish idea. I have read and watched almost everything that matters about the JFK assassination over 30 years both for conspiracy and against, but somehow this 'legendary' anti conspiracy book had escaped my attention, so I was keen to hear what Bugliosi the great prosecutor of Manson had to say. I thought it might swing me to a pro Oswald lone gunman position and finally bring my frustrating see-sawing to an end, but by the end I was exhausted by the author's style and brazenly selective treatment and felt let down. I have never read a book so inexplicably ingratiating to men of power and so turgid in parts, veering off into over detailed long winded accounts which had no bearing whatsoever on the case in point. I was also irritated by the constant sniping at 'buffs' and conspiracy theorists as if they were somehow all deluded madmen or egomaniacs, and the words 'zany', 'wacko' thrown about ad nauseam etc did not serve Bugliosi's cause well. One of the most impressive parts concerned Oswald and his arrest which was compelling and well written, but then later this fine section was followed by the unbearably protracted lead up to the murder scene in the basement garage to the extent that I just wanted Oswald shot by Ruby to get it over. I could not help thinking that Bugliosi should have just written a biography of Oswald. As is always the case whether pro Oswald lone gunman or anti conspiracy, every author however well intentioned, however scrupulously he or she conducts research, however passionate, however skilful, always seem to make the same error, which is they think to see and believe whatever will suit and dovetail with their mission, whatever fits into and upholds their framework. Bugliosi is no exception, since he only focuses on elements he can prove or thinks he can prove to overturn the conspiracy alternative. In this sense he does not focus on the legions of witnesses who the Warren Commission systematically ignored, such as the railroad workers on the underpass who clearly saw gun smoke coming from the grassy knoll or Lee Bowers who saw men acting strangely by the fence at the same time... these are but two of many witnesses who believed a shot came from the knoll, but Bugliosi avoids all this and has the gall to suggest the Warren commission and the FBI were exemplary inn their treatment of witnesses and that people like Alan Dulles were above reproach. Yet we know that witnesses with alternative experiences were airbrushed out. Bugliosi's claims of a whiter than white Warren Commission constitute the height of absurdity and are almost criminal in their delusion, the same goes for the oil men and especially Lyndon Johnson who again is neatly skipped over... in fact all the potential plotters and killers were pretty much left alone. In fact I began to wonder if Bugliosi himself were insane. To try and pretend that the CIA was not interested in removing Kennedy, that the FBI, Oil tycoons and Mafia figures could not possibly come together to form a loosely connecting group who would benefit from Kennedy's absence, let alone Johnson who was about to be prosecuted for fraud is breathtaking in its naivety, wilful obstruction of a plausible truth. Bugliosi never explains why such an idea is a fantasy, why it is the sick dream of conspiracy obsessed madmen? His only answer is that such a thing could not happen, that the men involved are above reproach as public figures and would never countenance such action, but on what evidence does he base this opinion? The fact is that all these people had a lot to gain from Kennedy's death and Oswald had nothing to gain whatsoever. Also Bugliosi fails to discuss properly Oswald's CIA connections which have been registered by many different people, but Bugliosi only mentions two of them and says they were unreliable. He seems to have conveniently ignored the presence of other gunmen in the Texas School book depository, seen by observers in other windows, nor the incontrevertible fingerprint left by hitman Malcom Wallace, focusing only on witnesses who saw Oswald or someone in the sniper's nest who might have been Oswald. He also says nothing about the underworld figures and international parade of hitmen who appeared just by chance to be in Dealey Plaza that day, the three tramps ... I could go on giving such examples, but it would be rather boring. Before this I read a book which forcefully put forward the idea that LBJ was the mastermind of the assassination. The research was equally scrupulous and the story equally detailed. Each of these books could be entirely believable and be the final pronouncement, the truth at last, if one did not despite their seeming reasonableness in relation to their objective, question the authors claims. They each appear to offer a watertight case. That's all folks! Yet the fact is we may never know, where the bullet which tore Kennedy's head apart and destroyed respect for and faith in the governing body, came from, the incontrovertible proof is likely never to surface.

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  • Ryan
  • 06-22-15

A comprehensive smack-down of every JFK conspiracy

Any additional comments?

A US President being shot by elements of the MI complex, while risky and insane for the plotters, was possible in my mind I was convinced there could be a conspiracy. Like many, I bought the nonsense about the magic bullet etc. A conspiracy is not by definition crazy, they happen all the time. One only has to look at what the CIA has done in the past, they interfere with democracy abroad, why not at home? However Reclaiming History will, step by step, lay out why even though it might not be too shocking that this could happen, that it DID NOT, in fact happen. Given that is it now almost assumed that a conspiracy did take place, this should be required reading in social/political studies classes.

There are two types of readers here:

1. The theorists themselves (whom the author calls the ''buffs'') who, no matter what, will never think anything but the conspiracy happened. They have that 'conclusion before evidence' mindset and this will not change the mind of someone like that. As the author says it's like trying to change a religion for someone, their conclusion has risen to the level of faith not belief.
2. The ordinary public who watches movies like JFK and thinks that something more went on.

This book WILL convince the second group and if nothing else is at least worth a read for balance sake

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-25-19

Comprehensive

This book is a thorough and exhaustive analysis of the assassination of JFK. Any person who listens to this book will come to the same conclusion as the author. Easy to listen to and written for the understanding of all. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 11-14-10

Thorough but not convincing

I started as a firm believer in the conspiracy theory and have studied a great deal of books and films on the subject. I have been to Dealey Palaza and the 6th floor museum, and even to Kennedys grave at Arlington. I wanted to give the Oswald acting alone theory a chance to ensure I was looking at all evidence and not solely what I firmly believed. Although incredibly well researched and Mr Bugliosi has clearly dedicated a substantial part of his life to this cause and is passionate and resolute, he hasn't done anything to change my mind. Some of his theories are baffling in the extreme and at times he devotes huge amounts of time and effort to events that are clearly ludicrous whilst ignoring entirely key factors of the assassination. I have read a review which describes Mr Buglioi's style as arrogant condescension towards readers who may not share his views, and I would concur with this. At times I found myself arguing with the author whilst listening on my ipod, as I was so incensed by the patronising and sarcastic way in which he treats readers/listeners who believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. I wanted to give it a fair go, and in listening to the 17 hours of narration I really did have to endure it. I was relieved when it came to an end. Good narrator though, great voice.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 09-01-08

Puting to rest insane conspiracy theories

Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK, on his own, and was in turn shot by the incensed and equally disturbed Jack Ruby, on his own. The CIA were not involved, the FBI were not involved andthe mob were not involved. These are obvious conclusions for anyone that uses evidence in their decision making process.

In 'Reclaiming History' Vincent Bugliosi sets out the evidence and dispels the conspiracy theories with a lot of common sense and a healthy wit. Highly reccommended.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Goldfrapper
  • 01-29-19

Seems (mostly) conclusive

I think Bugliosi has clearly demonstrated that JFK was killed by a lone gunman, and that gunman was Lee Harvey Oswald. He also establishes beyond most doubt that there was not a 'high up' conspiracy, whether that be CIA, FBI, the Russians, or the Mafia. (Listen to his countdown list of killer points right at the end, more than 30, many of which are enough ON THEIR OWN to dispose of other theories).

However, I believe there is one area where he has not satisfactorily given enough evidence, and that is the Cuban connection. It is still faintly possible that a small group of either pro- or anti-Castro people set Oswald up - there is the 'false Oswald' event when someone in his name attempted to get a visa for Mexico. Even if that runs cold however, one fact is indisputable : the world came the closest it ever has to nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis only the year before. It was in no-one's interest for Cuba to be the centre of attention again. If that meant Oswald being viewed on all sides as a lone madman, then that's what would have been enabled.

The narrator is a bit monotonous for the material.

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  • Neil Fowkes
  • 09-21-16

The Kennedy Assassination Bible

Vincent Bugliosi took over 20 years to compile this after taking part in a mock court drama on the prosecution of Lee Harvey Oswald back in the 1980's, even after proving Oswald's guilt back then he decided to look closer into the case, why? The fact is there have been so many theories and untruths that have coloured the waters of this case that it needed somebody of Bugliosi's intellect to clear it up.
The book deals with everything, the facts as they have always been and never changes, the fiction or as it is called by those who believe untruth call it theory, and the plain downright liars who are intent on getting their named linked with the case.
Bugliosi demolishes the fiction with fact alone, the theories all fall apart when the facts prove these theories to be impossible, remember facts are what they are by nature facts!!!!!
The movie JFK is the theorist back up, anybody seeing this film all come up with the conclusion that I did back on its release, there was a cover up. I though looked closer both at the theorist books and the facts through the web sites of the time, I really wanted there to be a massive cover up, I was so disappointed in what I did find, the truth being what Bugliosi proved all those years ago.

Lee Harvey Oswald Assassinated President John F. Kennedy, no Mafia involvement, no KGB involvement, no FBI or CIA involvement in fact nobody else had any idea that Oswald was to do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Marg Pelenyi
  • 12-30-17

loved it

Very informative and well written. it's a shame that audible Australia doesn't carry "outrage" the o j Simpson story by the same author

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  • Pauline
  • 06-30-16

interesting but a bit repetitive

it was interesting to read about all the facts that conspiracy theorists rarely mention, but it did get a little repetitive towards the second half of the book

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  • Trap
  • 06-22-15

Genius...

I have to write fifteen words to describe this?!There's only one word to describe it and that is 'genius'. No. No... I'm a fool. Here's another one -'perfect'.