The author of Rush to Judgment, the first book to attack the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of JFK, takes on the CIA's possible role in the murder, by way of Florida jury trial. It was Mark Lane who found a CIA conspiracy behind the Jonestown massacre (he was there) in 1979's The Strongest Poison and FBI complicity in 1977's Code Name ``Zorro'': The murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. This time out he offers his most damning version yet of CIA wrongdoing. Lane assembles his evidence with a trial lawyer's cool skill and builds to a riveting climax: an eyewitness account of CIA spy E. Howard Hunt paying off a CIA- backed Cuban assassination team in Dallas the night before the murder and clearly setting up Jack Ruby—before the assassination- -to kill Oswald, the patsy, who never fired a shot. Lane's evidence is drawn from a trial he conducted in Florida in 1978 while defending a small political magazine, Spotlight, which had lost a $650,000 defamation suit brought against it by Hunt. The magazine claimed that Hunt was in Dallas at the time of the assassination while Hunt claimed he was in Washington, D.C. When the appellate court vacated the decision and called for a second trial, Spotlight's owner called in Lane to defend him. Lane saw a case he might well lose, but also his first opportunity ever to cross- examine top figures in Lane's assassination scenario. And indeed he deposes CIA directors Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, G. Gordon Liddy, Hunt himself—and strikes gold in CIA agent Marita Lorenz, who accompanied two cars full of guns and assassins from Miami to Dallas and, under oath, names all of them, then tells of a follow-up talk with the proud top assassin who pulled off ``the really big one...we killed the president....'' Well-reasoned at every point, Lane's convincing report sounds like the last word on the assassination—but for an alternate scenario, see Mark North's Act of Treason (below).

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 1991

ISBN: 1-56025-000-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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