“Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK” by Gerald Posner is by far the most comprehensive book I have read about that event that shocked the world way back in November 1963. First published in 1993 and now re-published in 2013 as an ebook, nearly 50 years after that fateful day in Dallas, Tx, Posner explains painstakingly why all the many conspiracy theories are just that, theories without substance. The fact remains, as shocking as it may seem, that one of life’s losers, a 24-year-old with Communist leanings shot dead the President of the United States in broad daylight. This happened as the President’s cavalcade drove past the Texas Book Depository that afternoon. The assassin, firing from a sniper’s nest on the 6th floor of a building in which he was employed, used an Italian World War II Mannlicher-Carcano which he bought through mail order for $12.78, with a 4 X telescopic sight which cost him another $ 7.17. Even today, decades after that fateful day, I remember my shock as a kid when I saw the headlines scream that JKF had been assassinated on November 22, 1963. After all, no President of the United States had been assassinated since William McKinley more than 60 years ago ( in 1901.) Naturally, many theories sprung forth just after the assassination and for years later. Various schools of thought pinpointed the blame on the Russians, the Cubans, the KGB, the FBI, the right-wing in the US, and of course, the Mafia. The fact that Lee Harvey Oswald himself was shot dead just a few days later, under very strange circumstance, by Jack Ruby a night club owner of dubious repute, lent credence to the conspiracy theories. Was Oswald killed to silence him for ever? Was this the Mafia’s way of ensuring their role in the assassination never came to light? These were but a few of the many speculations that flourished for decades spawning in their wake a plethora of books on the assassination.
The Presidential Commission, appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and headed by Earl Warren, the Chief Justice of the United States, to investigate the assassination came in for severe criticism when they submitted their report. The report seemed to have some loop holes which were exploited once again by those who had their own theories as to what actually happened that day in Dealey Plaza in Dallas.
Gerald Posen deserves credit for the copious research he has conducted which he uses effectively to counter the other theories. He remains steadfast in his belief that Oswald and Oswald alone was the assassin. he was the lone gunman. To know why he killed Kennedy, you need to know Oswald and Posen does full justice in taking us through Oswald’s life and how he ended up doing what he did that day. Posner says ” understanding him ( Lee Oswald) is the key to finding out what happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963.” To make matters more complicated, there were stories of sightings of several “Oswald imposter” that day.
I think is an extremely well-written book and Posner has stayed balanced in his evaluation of the events that took place in the lives of the principal players in the story, like Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, amongst others, over the decades leading up to November 22, 1963. For those technically inclined, given the advent of technology much more sophisticated than was available in the 60’s, Posner details how the ballistics of the assassination actually took place.
I too believed at first that there must have been some conspiracy to kill JFK who was becoming a cult figure the world over. I am convinced after reading Posner’s book that, strange as it may have seemed at first, Oswald was the lone assassin.
The book is appropriately named as Posner believes that with all that he has researched and revealed, the JFK assassination case is indeed closed. ,