REASONABLE DOUBT: An Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Henry Hurt

REASONABLE DOUBT: An Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

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Do we need yet another book on the Kennedy assassination? The answer is a somewhat qualified yes. Hurt provides a service here in that he not only presents and analyzes the various conspiracy theories that surfaced after the killing but also rechecks the facts on which they were based and, when possible, even tracks down some hitherto unrevealed information. But there is still a bewildering mass of unresolved questions: Is the ""lone gunman"" conclusion correct, or is the suggestion that Lee Harvey Oswald was ""probably"" part of a conspiracy? Was Oswald framed? Was Jack Ruby ordered to kill Oswald by an unknown group? And so on and so on. Hurt (a researcher for Legend: The Secret Life of Lee Harvey Oswald) says a man named Robert Easterly contacted him in late 1981 with a tale of a group of anti-Castro Cubans (or pro-Castro double agents?) who gave him details of a plot to assassinate Kennedy and fabricate evidence to implicate an innocent man. The assassination, Easterly said, was to be carried out by a Cuban exile using a high-powered automatic rifle. But a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and spent shells would be left at the site to implicate someone else. Easterly claimed he had actually watched the would-be assassin fire such a rifle. Easterly (who thickened out of the plot) believed that one of the bullets was planted on a stretcher in Parkland Hospital to clinch the case against Oswald. Hurt reported the story to the FBI only to learn that agents had already interviewed Easterly during one of his commitments to a mental institution and discounted his story. (They remained indifferent, said Hurt, even after he was able to corroborate bits and pieces of the tale.) This impelled Hurt to examine all the other assassination theories and to conclude that some branches of government have engaged in ""a conspiracy of silence"" to hide the true facts. An exhausting compendium, in sum, but, for the post-Kennedy generation, a very useful introduction to all the hullaballoo that followed the assassination.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1985
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston