Collecting JFK Assassination Books
Despite 40 years having elapsed since John F. Kennedy was assassinated, interest has never waned, as it was and remains, the
greatest murder case of the 20th Century.
Since that fateful day in November 1963 books have been published in their hundreds on this topic and are still being published to
this day. The building of a library on the topic, whether small or large, remains an interest to many and I am often asked for advice
on where to start. In this article I will try and offer some general guidance.
There is a wealth of information out there, but before plunging in and buying the first book you see it is usually best to consider how
to get the best out of the investigative process, because that is what reading these books amounts to. If you read one book, and it is
any good, it will taint your view on this case to the slant of that particular author’s view. My advice is to start at the beginning with
the official view and then develop your reading on from there. My credentials for offering this advice comes from having spent 30 years
investigating and leading murder investigations in this country, so I know a little, and cringe when I see nothing but conspiracy views
espoused without critical study.
There are two schools of thought in the study of the JFK assassination: the Oswald lone gunman theory or conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy theorists view the official lone gunman theory as flawed but it is essential study in order to later get the best out the
study of some of the conspiracy theories.
Where then to start? In my view the first book to read should be the Warren Commission Report. The Warren Commission was set
up by President Johnson shortly after the murder under Supreme Court Judge Earl Warren and their report was published in 1964.
The full report and its appendices run to many volumes but the report on its own was widely published in paperback and hardback
and is an excellent and essential starting place.
Following on from there the next obvious place to go is an early critique of the Warren Report. One of the affordable classics in this
field is “Rush To Judgment” by Mark Lane. After this it should then be easier to go where one’s interest then lies as further reading is
set on a firm basis.
Often after a couple of books readers set their stall firmly in either the lone gunman camp or the conspiracy camp and further reading
is based on reinforcing their view. My advice is not to do this but to continue to read from both camps, especially books from some
of the respected researchers in the field. They are of course only respected by those who support their views. From the conspiracy
viewpoint books by Harold Weisberg, especially “Whitewash” are well worth reading and to balance the viewpoint back towards the
lone gunman, perhaps “Conspiracy Of One” by Jim Moore.
Further research and reading should include the books written by some of the people involved on the day. One such example is “JFK
First Day Evidence” written by Dallas Police Crime Lab Detective Rusty Livingston. There are many books written by these people
and it is often interesting to compare what they have later written in their books to what they said when giving evidence to The Warren
Commission which I recommended as the starting point of JFK assassination reading.
There are hundreds of books available on this topic, some good, some bad, some readily available, some scarce and some very rare.
My advice for further reading would be to be selective. The fact that some books are popular does not necessarily make them worth
reading. A case in point is “Mortal Error” by Bonar Menninger. This is a very popular book but is a theory too far. This suggests that
the fatal headshot was accidentally fired by one of the Security men in the following car.
This topic is very interesting and offers a lifetime of reading and study on its own. It will continue to for many years to come. Life is
too short to read all the books so if in doubt then please seek advice. I am always happy to assist with research and library building
and suggestions for further reading.