The Innocence of Oswald

The great Dave Baker recommended to me a book written by Gary Fannin, a local author who was recently a guest on Dave’s show on WSB. The book is The Innocence of Oswald: 50+ Years of Lies, Deception & Deceit in the Murders of President John F. Kennedy & Officer JD Tippit. I could not put it down. I usually read two or three books at a time, picking them up and putting them down as the mood strikes me, but this book I read straight through from the moment I picked it up.

The Innocence of Oswald isn’t your typical 800 page JFK assassination tome laying out every last detail of political backstory. Usually those books are slogs and only end up attempting to explain that, despite all the intrigue, Oswald was a lone nut who pulled off this (literal) coup on his own and for no reason whatsoever. I have long been unconvinced by that narrative–probably since I was old enough to understand that Oswald said “I’m a patsy,” and soon after was himself assassinated while in police custody–but the truth of what exactly did happen has remained to me uncertain. I have boiled it down to the likelihood that either the CIA did it or LBJ did it or both.

Fannin leans to the Johnson explanation and provides some compelling evidence for that position, particularly an accounting of LBJ’s bizarre demand that he be sworn in on Air Force One as it was about to fly JFK’s body to DC, insisting Jackie leave her husband’s casket and stand at the new president’s side just two hours after she scrambled to pick up the pieces of JFK’s brain as he was assassinated beside her.

Fannin’s conclusions were fascinating and well-supported, but they weren’t what kept me riveted to the book. What kept me turning page after page was the book’s cataloging of the copious evidence that weighs against the notion that Oswald was a lone assassin. Fannin’s presentation of the evidence was not bogged down by every nuance of the events of the day, nor did the author bury the evidence among assumptions and speculation that can obscure the facts in many of the bulkier treatments of the subject. Because of this, however, I found that already having a working knowledge of the events and controversies surrounding the assassination was helpful in getting the most out of the book.

The Innocence of Oswald is self-published so it doesn’t have the high polish a big publishing house would give it, but it’s well-worth the trade-off to have at your fingertips an uncensored, scrupulously researched collection of convincing evidence against the fatally flawed mainstream narrative of an event that marked the dawning of a new age in government power and media collusion.