The murder of John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) continues to maintain its place among the greatest crimes in American history. The official story as published by the Warren Commission is that former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963) fired three shots in six seconds from the sixty floor of the Texas School Book Depository, fatally wounding Kennedy and severely wounding Texas Governor John Connally (1917-1993). To many, including the author of this book, David Lifton, the government version seemed to be the best and final explanation. But over time Lifton came to doubt the official story and after obtaining a set of the twenty-six volumes that composed the Commission’s investigation, his doubt turned into disbelief and lead him down the path that culminated with this national bestseller.
At the time his odyssey began, Lifton was a law student at UCLA. Working on campus was a law professor by the name of Wesley J. Liebeler who served as a Warren Commission attorney. Disillusioned by the official report, he decided to confront Liebeler about the many discrepancies he found in the final report. Over the next several years, the two men would become more closely acquainted as Lifton dived deeper into the murder and Liebeler sought to preserve the Commission’s report. Ironically Liebeler is the person that suggested to Lifton that he should one day write a book. He eventually did and this is book is a must read for anyone with unanswered questions about the murder of John F. Kennedy.
Having read multiple books on the assassination, I would like to point out that Lifton focuses on the medical evidence surrounding Kennedy’s murder. He does not go into great detail about Oswald’s life, murder or the life and murder of J.D. Tippit. This is strictly about the postmortem events from the time Kennedy was declared dead at Parkland Hospital until the official autopsy report was published by the physicians who were on call at Bethesda Naval Hospital when Kennedy’s body was brought in. I warn readers that the subject matter graphic as it pertains to the autopsy and a large number of anomalies with Kennedy’s body that by all appearances, occurred before the official autopsy even began. Almost like a horror movie, the body tells signs of makeshift surgical procedures, unexplained bruising and conflicting testimony between doctors in Dallas and Maryland. But as Lifton explains, the body is the evidence. Skeptics might be tempted to ask how on earth could such changes have been made to Kennedy’s body before it arrived at Bethesda? Well Lifton asked himself the same question and many others that have been answered through exhaustive research and due diligence in the most plausible manner to date. But what is even more sound about Lifton’s work is that he supports his conclusion based off of evidence that is publicly available and in some cases, was hiding in plain sight. His case is further supported by statements he obtained from numerous individuals who were at either Parkland Hospital, Bethesda or part of Kennedy’s entourage that escorted the body all the way back to Washington.
There are those of us who will refuse to believe that the Government could engage in such nefarious activity. On the surface it simply seems absurd. But we soon learn that there is far more than meets the eye. As Lifton is continue to develop his case for a frontal shot a key event takes place changing his life forever. On a FBI report filed by Agents Francis O’Neill and James Siebert is a section in which they state that surgery had been performed on the president’s head prior to the autopsy. I confess that as I read that section of the book I nearly jumped out of my seat. This statement served as the catalyst for Lifton to change gears and become one of the most respected researchers to date. As I continued through the book I noticed that at times chills ran down my spine. As the story progresses, the macabre becomes a reality and it dawns on the reader that there was more to that day that had nothing to do with Lee Harvey Oswald. This is a story that the Government did not want its citizens to hear. But like Oswald’s murder, it refuses to be put to rest and leaves many unanswered questions.
There are many books about JFK’s murder, each taking a slightly different approach. To get an idea of the overall picture of what happened that day, I always recommend to new readers Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy by the late Jim Marrs (1943-2017). For others that have passed beyond that point, Lifton’s work is a critical addition to every researcher’s library. The narrative is chilling: unexplained changes to the president’s head indicating prior dissection, two ambulances, two caskets, a helicopter and other mind-boggling postmortem incidents reveal a darker and more sinister plan in effect that most could not begin to fathom. However, there are still many interviews that were classified and thousands of pages of others that remained classified. When they finally are released we can only guess or shudder as to what they might reveal. Until then, we have authors such as David Lifton that force us to take a close look at what is considered to be best evidence.