Customer Review

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable reading ?, 28 April 2010
This review is from: Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Paperback)
Four Days in November sets out to put some "flesh" on the dry bones of the Warren Commission Report, and also attempts to make it more "believable" to people who still have reservations as to its explaination of the events in Dallas, by anticipating readers' questions and debunking silly conspiracy arguments. Just beware, remember that Bugliosi's background, however, is in the prosecution business and his book, extremely well written, and a much enjoyable read as it is, is just that: prosecutor's evidence, setting up to prove that Oswald's did it, on his own, etc. I found the Jack Ruby section, where Bugliosi is at pains to describe how his shooting of Oswald was the result of a "spur of the moment" decision very laborious and somehow unconvincing.
I see this book as the anti-thesis of Mark Lane's early book "Rush to Judgement" which set out to prove Oswald's innocence.
I don't think one will be more advanced on either view after reading Four Days in November, but it is recommended read in asmuch as Bugliosi knows how to keep the reader's attention.
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 May 2010 10:20:51 BDT
Barry Ryder says:

If I may I'd just like to offer a few comments on your review.

Bugliosi isn't merely putting some flesh on the bones of the Warren Commission report in this book. He's actually using the official record of the Ramsay Clarke Panel, The Church Committee, The Rockerfeller Commission and The House Select Committee as well.

As I'm sure you will know, all of these investigations examined the JFK murder in detail between '64 and '79. They ALL concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald - and nobody else - shot and killed JFK and J. D. Tippit.

It would be true to say that Bugliosi hasn't proved anything - the proofs have been a matter of public record for many years and they are beyond dispute; unless, of course, all of the above investigations were inept and/or corrupt. The author has sought to offer up the work of all of these bodies in a more readable, narrative form.

Authors like Mark Lane have done a good job of insinuating doubt into the case where none exists. Rush to judgement created a seemingly plausible scenario in which Ruby wanted to 'tell everything' if only he could get out of Dallas. If you were to read Ruby's testimony in full, I assure you that you will get a completely different picture. You can access the Warren Commission testimony on-line if you doubt this. You will be able to read what Ruby said, in full, without Mark Lane editing his statement for him.

Ruby spent his entire life denying any involvement in 'a conspiracy' to kill JFK or Oswald. Lane (and far too many others) make highly selective use of Ruby's interviews and statements to create a conspiratorial picture.

In short, the Kennedy, Tippit and Oswald murders are solved - that's official. To hold a contrary view places one at odds with an entire legion of law enforcement, medical, forensic and legal experts. Bugliosi is one such expert.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2010 23:50:58 BDT
A S Lewis says:
"In short, the Kennedy, Tippit and Oswald murders are solved - that's official".... Really! He never faced trial, he was never found guilty. What hard evidence was there? The partial hand print found AFTER LHO himself had been killed - bearing mind prints had been taken prior to his shooting by JR - and no matches were found!. Prehaps the finger prints found at the on the 6th Floor - but of course he worked there and had legitimate reasons for being up there. Most supporters of "there was no conspiracy, LHO killed JFK" theory recognise that the Warren Commission was flawed. HSCA found and stated that in all probabilty LHO was not working alone - and that constitutes a conspiracy. That's offical. Was LHO involved in the assassination - probably (I believe so), was he shooter - possibly (but I don't think so), was he acting alone - No (and so say the HSCA).

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2010 07:22:12 BDT
Barry Ryder says:

the points you raise:

1) If history is to accept that LHO was innocent because he was not tried for the two charges that he was arraigned for we would also have to accept the following individuals as 'not guilty' as well:

Charles Whitman (Texas Tower massacre)
Michael Ryan (Hungerford massacre)
Thomas Hamilton (Dunblane massacre)
Mohamed Atta et. al (9/11 attacks)
John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln assassination)
Mohammad Sidique Khan et. al. (7/7 bombings)

I'm sure you get the picture.

Like Oswald none of these individuals ever had to face a trial; and all are rightly regarded by history as murderers.

2) If you don't feel that there was any (or enough) evidence to have convicted Oswald at trial, you really should go back and read the WC and HSCA reports again. The evidence was - and remains - watertight.

Fritz charged Oswald with Tippit's killing within five hours of his arrest and he charged him with the assassination sometime between midnight (22nd) and one a. m. (23rd).
Why? Because they had good evidence and plenty of it.
Oswald could be inextricably linked to two murder scenes and two murder weapons.

3) Your claim that no finger-print matches were found is wrong.
The prints on the rifle were lifted by Carl Day shortly after the rifle was found.

The prints on the cardboard box in the 'sniper's nest' are especially important. Prints only endure on cardboard for a very short while, the material is highly absorbent. The discovery of Oswald's prints on that particular carton indicates that he had handled it a relatively short time before.
Oswald's prints were also found on the large paper sack that he'd carried the rifle in.

4) Would you care to specify in what way the Warren Commission was `flawed'?
Do you feel that the HSCA, Clarke Panel, Rockerfeller Commission and Church Committee were also `flawed'?

5) You are right to say that the HSCA did conclude that JFK had 'probably' been murdered as a result of a conspiracy
This was predicated on the 'grassy knoll acoustic evidence' which was shown to be in error by the American Academy Of Sciences within a year of the report being issued.

You will know, of course, that the HSCA declared that a shot 'had probably been fired from the grassy knoll, but it missed the car and it's occupants'.
The HSCA could not suggest who the gunman might have been or if he was connected to Oswald. They accepted that there was no physical evidence to support the claim of a fourth shot.

The bullet, we have to conclude. simply disappeared into thin air; now that's real magic.

Finally, you will also know, that the HSCA concluded that LHO did fire three shots from the TSBD. They ratified the WC findings that the first shot missed, the second hit and passed through JFK and went on the strike Connally and Oswald's third shot hit JFK in the back of the head killing him.

In a nutshell; apart from adding a second gunman who could not be proven to exist, the HSCA affirmed all of the findings of the WC and didn't overturn any of them.


In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2012 21:41:23 BDT
N. Mcnab says:
Barry, I think only a smudged palm print was taken from the rifle. What's more there is testimony that LHO's cadaver was fingerprinted in the mortuary.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 08:13:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2012 08:14:18 BDT
Barry Ryder says:

Many thanks for offering the above comments.

1) In saying that, "..I think only a smudged palm print was taken from the rifle..", you may be confusing the finger-prints on the trigger-guard housing with the palm-print. The prints on the housing were smudged and - at the time - it was not possible to definitely state that they were Oswald's. (it has since been proven that they were).
The palm print was described by Lt. Day as being `old', i.e. not recent. It was compared to prints taken from Oswald on the afternoon of the 22nd and was identified as his.

2) It seems highly likely that Oswald's body was fingerprinted and photographed whilst at the funeral home, as you say. (Oswald's body was also fingerprinted and photographed shortly after death in the Parkland mortuary by 'Rusty' Livingston and J. B. Hicks, by the way.)
It is not in dispute that three FBI men - Robley Madland, Malon Jennings, and possibly Tom Carter (deceased) - were all assigned to go there.

Madland told Vincent Bugliosi that the sole purpose of going to the morgue was to take photos of Oswald's left wrist where he cut himself during his suicide attempt in Moscow.
Madland also stated that Oswald's prints "may have been taken" but he didn't think so.

Jennings told Bugliosi that Oswald's prints "probably were taken" but he couldn't remember for sure, though he clearly remembers the taking of photos.


Posted on 2 Sep 2013 14:35:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Sep 2013 16:07:31 BDT
Many thanks for your review Mr.Keller- your opinion of this book is so close to my own reaction that I don't need to post my own review. I have a fairly open mind on the assassination -and am waiting to be convinced either way. Bugliosi didn't convince me.

Yes Bugliosi is highly readable, this very shrewd book is beautifully put together. But I felt I was observing a subtle factual "sieve" in operation- anything which doesn't suit his argument (that LHO did it alone) is either elided, or glossed over and cast to the side. Except when Bugliosi MUST confront unhelpful evidence (e.g. the backward jerk of the president's head) and then he adopts a kind of skate-over "don't be silly!" approach, which belittles awkward facts as not worth debating seriously.

The entire narrative is presented with almost forensic skill, and you feel every word (and every ommission!) has been judiciously weighed for its value in his argument. This is a very persuasive courtroom performance, a minor masterpiece, delivered with a relentless, single-minded aim -to win his case (which, for many, he has succeeded in doing it appears.)

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2013 09:58:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Sep 2013 09:59:07 BDT
Barry Ryder says:
S. Ramsey-Hardy,

On which page does Bugliosi confront the "..unhelpful evidence.." of the backward jerk of the president's head?
On which page does he employ the "..don't be silly!.." approach?
On which page does he "..belittle the awkward facts as not worth debating seriously."?


In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2013 10:09:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Sep 2013 10:11:39 BDT
Barry Ryder says:
Calling: S. Ramsey-Hardy,

I'm still waiting for those page citations.

You have read the book, haven't you? You wouldn't just post garbage and lies on the internet, would you? Surely you aren't just a know-nothing-blow-hard who hides behind numerous aliases in order to pollute book-review sites with your own paranoid delusions?

Can it be that - despite your claim to, "..have a fairly open mind on the assassination." - you are, in fact, a spineless conspiracy-buff who feels that constant repetition of falsehood will, one day, fulfil your ultimate fantasy.

Would I be right in concluding that your banal approach of throwing-out ad-hoc `conspiracy factoids' is the very best that you can manage in lieu of any kind of informed opinion on the subject?

So, do tell what you thought was "shrewd" about the book. Can you list which facts didn't pass through Bugliosi's "..factual sieve.."? What crucial information was "..elided or glossed over"? Can you explain why you felt that the author was giving "..a very persuasive courtroom performance, a minor masterpiece, delivered with a relentless, single-minded aim -to win his case.."?,

Please be sure to offer the chapters and page numbers for all of your examples.

Time for you to concoct a new alias, isn't it? Can I suggest `Potato Head?'; that would seem appropriate.


In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2013 23:43:10 GMT
H. Baker says:
Barry. Some good initial posts. Concise, courteous and convincing when responding to the review and other people's comments but it just got away from you at the end there. A bile filled patronising response to what seemed like a genuine comment from another user? What happened there buddy? Low blood sugar?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2013 01:22:41 GMT
Copnovelist says:
Do you work for the CIA?
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