Prior to his death from cancer, Jack Ruby, the convicted murdered of Lee Harvey Oswald who executed his prey live on national television, once remarked that to get answers in the murder of John F. Kennedy, it would wise to ask the man currently in office. That man as we all know was Lyndon B. Johnson. In most history classes, Lyndon Johnson or LBJ for short, is seen as a pioneering president, responsible for the passage of the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, what is often looked over is his role in the escalation of the U.S. military in southeast Asia resulting in the Vietnam War. As the body count of American soldiers climbed, his approval rate dropped to absurdly low levels, possibly the worst in recent history. And the announcement of Robert Kennedy for candidacy for president served as a final nail in the coffin forcing Johnson to withdraw his name in the 1968 presidential race. Many years after his death, the true story of the life of Lyndon Johnson has come to light in dozens of books. And what we learn through each of these books is that there was a very dark side to the 36th President of the United States.
Barr McClellan worked as an attorney at the firm of Clark, Thomas and Winters, the firm that worked intimately with Johnson, handling many of his private affairs. This book is McClellan’s recollections of the things he saw, heard and took part in over a multi-decade service to the firm under Johnson’s primary attorney and close friend, Edward A. Clark. The cover of the book alludes to a smoking gun in the book. Having read dozens of books on the Kennedy murder, I wouldn’t quite go that far. And as McClellan points out, many of the discussions that took place among some of the partners and various nefarious figures associated with Clark were never put on record as an official transcript. While he presents to us a picture of what might have been said, the participants are lone gone and can neither confirm of deny the statements in the book. Also, the allegations regarding Lee Harvey Oswald are direct but gloss over many important details that not only cast doubt on him being Kennedy’s assassin, but also being the murderer of Officer J.D. Tippit and the attempted assassin of Gen. Edwin Walker.
The beauty in the book are the revelations about the relationships between Johnson, Clark, Thomas, Mac Wallace, Bobby Baker, Clifton Carter and Billie Sol Estes. This close group of conspirators, pulled off some of the biggest scams in Texas history and are complicit in the murders of several individuals, possibly including John F. Kennedy. Of all of the players, Baker is the only one still alive and has disclosed a lot of what he did for Johnson and other politicians in Washington during his career. However, out of all of these mysterious and fascinating figures, the two that stand out in the book as the most interesting are Edward Clark and Mac Wallace. Johnson, while complicit in many illegal activities, always maintained a safe distance in the event that a scandal arose. However, when problems did come up and people need to be taken care of, Clark and Wallace would prove to be the most loyal and deadly associates of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Wallace has been long known to assassination researchers and people familiar with Johnson’s activities in Texas. And if McClellan’s account is correct, then it shows the assassination into an entire different perspective. Clark is lesser known to those outside of the State of Texas but McClellan clues us in to another major participant of the crime of the century in the United States of America.
While I do believe that LBJ did have foreknowledge of the crime, I do not think that the law firm of Clark, Thomas and Winters had the sole role they did as described by McClellan. Did they play a part? Absolutely. But I also believe that there were many things transpiring in Dallas that day that went far beyond the control of both Edward Clark and Lee Harvey Oswald. A conspiracy of that magnitude needs many participants with plans made far in advance in many different sectors of government. Of interesting note, McClellan does shows that the plan to remove Kennedy began as early as 1961 which coincidentally is when multiple Oswald sightings first began. Was there a plan to remove JFK from office? Undoubtedly. Was a sole lawyer the mastermind behind the entire plot? You be the judge.