|Not In Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK by Anthony Summers|
|Category: True Crime|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An in-depth look at the evidence surrounding the murder of JFK, the involvement of Lee Harvey Oswald and all the other people who had reason to wish the President dead. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 528||Date: October 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Originally published as The Kennedy Conspiracy, Anthony Summers has massively revised the text, updated it with the latest evidence and it's been republished as Not in Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK which refers to the statement made by Chief Justice Earl Warren who was asked if the truth about what happened would come out. He said that it would, but added the rider that it might not be in your lifetime. Fifty years on most of the people directly involved are now dead, but the truth has not officially emerged. In fact, it's difficult to avoid the thought that the US government would prefer that it did not see the light of day. Further documents are due to be released in 2017, but, in the meantime Anthony Summer has examined what is available, investigated on his own behalf and given us this comprehensive book.
There were undoubtedly those who preferred that the simplistic view that Lee Harvey Oswald, a man who professed to have great admiration for JFK and who had a poor record as a marksman whilst in the marines pulled off an amazing feat of marksmanship under incredible pressure and that he was - in turn - murdered by Jack Ruby to save Jackie Kennedy from having to go back to Texas to testify at his trial. Summers' approach is two-pronged. First he looks at the assumption that Oswald did murder Kennedy unaided and then he looks at all the other possibilities. There are so many of them that you wonder how either Kennedy lasted quite as long as they did.
After the assassination a lot went wrong. Some of it can be put down to human error but unfortunately there's a great deal which isn't so readily explained. The audio tape from which the spacing of the shots could be determined proved to me that Oswald was not the only shooter and once you've accepted that point the simplistic explanations fall. Summers moves on from the events of 22 November and then examines the part played - or possibly played - by the Mafia, the Russians, the Cubans and the involvement of the security services. There's real depth in these investigations, some of which reach back for years. There is, too, a viable suggestion as to who might have been responsible.
The book is a big read. I worked from a digital version, which wasn't ideal as I would have liked to have had easier access to the extensive footnotes and the photographs - used to reinforce points rather than decoration - were not particularly clear. I suspect that if you were reading from the paperback you might well give the full five stars. The writing is clear - this is a man who is used to communicating - and the arrangement of information faultless. Many of the points interact with each other, but Summers does an excellent job of keeping his arguments on track. It's compulsive reading.
For a look at the first twenty-four hours of the Johnson presidency we can recommend The Kennedy Assassination: 24 Hours After by Steven M Gillon. For a look at the workings of the CIA it's difficult to better Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner although we have wondered why the theories about Kennedy's death which you'll also find in Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years by David Talbot don't appear in Legacy of Ashes.
You can read more book reviews or buy Not In Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK by Anthony Summers at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Not In Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK by Anthony Summers at Amazon.com.
Not In Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK by Anthony Summers is in the Top Ten Books on President John F Kennedy.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.