on 25 January 1997
One of two books on which Oliver Stone's film "JFK" was based, "Crossfire" is perhaps the most convincing and interesting of all revisionist works on the infamous event. Meticulously researched, with dozens of witness accounts and factual tidbits, Marrs builds his case brick by brick, arriving at conclusions that are intelligent and wholly believable. The book itself covers all angles of the assasination, from Oswald's alleged CIA connection, to Castro's often suspected role in the events, to the possible involvement of the mob and political figures. Regardless of one's personal beliefs regarding the event, this is a book that is hard to put down, and will certainly cause the reader to re-think his or her previous conclusions.
Jim Marrs' Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, published in 1989, still offers, in my opinion, the best introduction to the JFK assassination newbie. It was not the first book on the subject I read, but I wish it would have been. The book I picked up first dove deep into some very specific aspects of the case, and a pretty comprehensive overview of the assassination and the theories offered as to the truth about it would have made my initial plunge much easier. Not only does Marrs seek to bring together and distill the bulk of information out there, he does so in an orderly and systematic fashion. Part One looks at the assassination itself: the motorcade route and security, the movements of JFK and John Connolly at the time they were hit, the accounts of all manner of witnesses in and around Dealey Plaza, a detailed look at activity in and around the Texas School Book Depository as well as the Grassy Knoll, etc. In Part Two, he pontificates on the motives and means of all of the most likely culprits behind the murder: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet Union, pro-Castro as well as anti-Castro Cuban exiles, the Mafia, the CIA, the FBI, big business (especially oil), right-wing extremists, and the military. In Part Three, he examines all manner of evidence with a critical eye. The chaotic aftermath of the shooting offers up much food for thought in terms of unusual sightings and events, not the least of which is the murder of Officer Tippet and the movements of Lee Harvey Oswald from the time of the assassination to his capture in a local movie theatre. Jack Ruby's history and links to organized crime are threshed out, revealing many intriguing possibilities about the possible extent of Ruby's role in events. Marrs then attacks the basic foundations of the Warren Commission analysis, going into a good bit of detail about the probably forgery of incriminating photographs of Oswald, revealing unforgivably sloppy breakdowns in the chain of evidence, easily explaining how the bullet that miraculously appeared essentially intact on a stretcher in Dallas could not possibly have done all the damage the Warren Commission's "magic bullet" officially did. From there, he explores Jim Garrison's case against Clay Shaw for conspiring to kill the president and goes on to summarize the workings and findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979. Only at the conclusion of the book does he express in a straightforward manner his own theory as to what happened.
Crossfire just offers one important piece of information after another, easily preparing the way for the reader to pursue a more detailed study of the assassination. Marrs is not totally objective at all times, yet he does touch upon just about every important facet of what is a most complicated case. The number of coincidences and links between different suspect groups is nothing short of incredible, and you really need to have an understanding of how, for example, the CIA and Mafia were linked together in efforts to kill Castro, how Oswald's possible role in intelligence plays into different scenarios, etc., in order to come to terms with all of the theories out there. The medical evidence in this case is amazingly frustrating and controversial, and one can get lost without an understanding of the differences in the testimony of employees of Parkland Hospital in Dallas and the findings of the undeniably unprofessional and sloppy (not to mention illegal) autopsy. Marrs isn't afraid to summarize the most controversial of opinions, which can help the assassination novice look out for potential landmines in his/her further reading.
In his concluding chapter, Marrs finally offers what he believes is a possible scenario to explain all of the facts he has attempted to address in the main body of the book. He in no way presents these ideas as facts or probabilities. He goes farther than some Warren Commission critics go, pointing fingers of potential culpability at a significant number of different groups somehow coming together to eliminate a man each group had reasons for opposing; he clearly sees the assassination in terms of a coup d'etat with some level of complicity (be it passive or active) at the highest levels of government. Many, including myself, find this to be a little far-fetched, but Marrs' personal theory does not get in the way of all the facts he presents throughout the book. Anyone who accepts the official story of the tragedy without question will naturally find fault with Marrs for his differing conclusions, but those willing to examine the case with an open mind will find much food for thought in this remarkable book. There are no footnotes to be found here, but Marrs lists a significant number of sources alongside a selected reading list. Basically, this book prepares you for a more detailed look at all of the evidence, making this an invaluable introductory guidebook to the tangled world of JFK assassination theorizing.
on 30 March 2014
Jim Marrs' "Crossfire" is the most complete examination of the Kennedy assassination that I have ever read, while also standing as an utterly engrossing read about the most notorious "whodunnit" of the twentieth century.
Such is the strength of the case demonstrated by the author in favour of a conspiracy to kill JFK (and its subsequent cover-up) that even the most ardent "lone gunman" advocate must concede that at the very least, some very serious questions still need answered about what really went down in Dallas on that November day some fifty years ago now.
Opponents of Marrs and his fellow researchers who argue for a conspiracy are often labelled with the slightly derisory term "conspiracy nuts", but as the author demonstrates, if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck...
This book is an absolutely excellent place for anyone new to the subject to begin their research. Likewise, this newly revised and updated edition contains intriguing new ideas and opinions for those of a more longstanding interest to chew over. Worth every penny of the purchase price.
on 29 July 1998
I first read this book over a year ago and recently bought my own copy. The wealth of detail, the multitude of witnesses who saw something but were not questioned or were intimidated by the questioners, the endless connections and cross connections of the FBI, CIA, the Mob, military intelligence and the so, so obvious questions that should have been asked by investigators and the Warren commission that not only were not asked, but they turned away those who had answers.... all these and more make it so obvious that there was a conspiracy and a coverup! Mr Marrs does an excellent job of presenting a tremendous amount of information. If this subject intrigues you at all, I promise you.... you won't be disappointed in it's content. You will alternately be amazed, angry and frightened as well at the inescapable conclusions you can not avoid about our government, leaders and our national security... as well as our own personal security. It is chilling! I remember the events! of those days and nothing in this book contradicts any thing which I heard and observed at the time and it corroborates a number of things which I was sure I remembered noticing during the aftermath of the asassination. I believe this book to be factual and accurate as much as any could be written by someone was not a part of the conspiracy. Only the conspiritors and those who did the coverup can know more!
I agree with my fellow reviewer...I have over 40 books on the Kennedy assassination, and I kissed a lot of literary frogs before I found this book.
If you are a curious 'first timer' this should be the book to buy to start you off on your journey. And it will be a journey!
Welcome to a world where authors rant at each other, where information is filched and published, where book after book goes over the same ground with a fine tooth comb before two or three more facts per book are placed in the melting pot, and where you can find real gems - Sylvia Meagher, Mark Lane, Harold Weisberg et al, and contrived stuff like Posners 'case closed'.
This is by far the best generalist book on the JFK killing.
As stated elsewhere, it goes into the whole business in quite minute detail, and pulls out a myriad facts that are omitted by other authors, and best of all, it's a good read.
Read this before dipping your feet into the more esoteric areas of assassination literature.
If you really are new to the genre, get hold of a copy of Posners book first, read it, and then read this one. Then use your own objectivity decide whether there was a meticulously planned conspiracy to kill JFK - or not.
on 17 July 2013
I still remember the shock of hearing the news of the assassination as a young man of 18 in Athens,Greece.
No one in Greece-to the best of my knowledge-ever accepted the findings of the Warren Conmmission nad the theory of the "lone assassin" conveniently killed before any kind of trial.On the contrary,the general feeling was,and still is,that only a very naive society like the American one was back in the 1960s would ever buy such an obvious cover up.
This book recapitulates all the thousands of unaswered questions and loose ends of which this historical event is so full.
Highly recommended to all those interested in this event which affected all our lives since then.
on 3 August 2014
I found the *original* Crossfire, published in 1989, a revelation.
Sadly Mr Marrs apparently has chosen money over quality, when authorising this new edition. It contains nothing new that is remarkable, which is remarkable in itself, since there has been a virtual tidal wave of evidence made available since his book was first published (post Oliver Stone's JFK and the subsequent JFK Records Act).
There is virtually no trace in the new edition of the eminently credible new evidence available placing LBJ at the very centre of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy; there is also no trace of the now plentiful evidence now available that the Zapruder film is a fabrication to hide Secret Service complicity in the murder, nor much that reflect the current understanding that Oswald probably didn't even fire a gun on the 22 November.
This is a quick repackaging with little new on the inside.