FALSE WITNESS by Patricia Lambert

FALSE WITNESS

The Real Story of Jim Garrison's Investigation and Oliver Stone's Film JFK
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Revisionist history confronts revisionist history as the author debunks the conspiracy theory surrounding the assassination of John Kennedy that persists to this day. In March of 1967, Clay Shaw was arrested by flamboyant Now Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison and charged with conspiring to murder the president. Behind the arrest lay months and years of investigation. Shaw was linked to another conspirator, David Ferrie, and to Lee Harvey Oswald himself. (Ferrie’s library card was found in Oswald’s pocket on the day he shot Kennedy.) Eyewitnesses saw the three together, mysteriously appearing in the small town of Clinton, La. Another witness described their open talk of killing the president. Links were found to anti-Castro Cubans, the Mafia, the CIA. Shaw was shown to be a sadistic homosexual who wished to kill the president for the kinky thrill of it. Oliver Stone made a successful film of the story. The only trouble is, according to Lambert, it’s all a pack of lies, based on deception, innuendo, hatred, ambition, and stupidity. The whole thing started when two down-and-outers on the New Orleans scene made up a couple stories, and Garrison, always ambitious, chose to believe and pursue them, though the men later recanted. Lambert does an amazing job of meticulously revealing the truth behind the lies. Through exhaustive research, countless interviews, endless reviews of Garrison’s investigations and findings, she convincingly destroys virtually all the elements of the conspiracy theory Garrison so carefully wove. Here Garrison is no admirable Kevin Costner, but rather a hateful homophobic egomaniac willfully destroying an innocent man. Shaw was, after all, acquitted. Here Stone is no daring filmmaker, but a foolish, gullible man willing to believe anything. And in an America ever mistrustful of its government, both are all to readily believed. While flawed (Lambert pursues her own character assassinations at times), this is investigative reporting at its finest. It should put to rest at least some of the conspiracy notions surrounding JFK’s death. But it probably won’t.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1999
ISBN: 0-87131-879-2
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1999