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Maybe not the last word but certainly some very thoughtful ones. Deserves to be read and discussed.
on 28 September 2015
With so many books written about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (hundreds?) it's difficult to imagine this book really is the last word on the subject, even from the author himself. Nevertheless, lawyer and author Mark Lane gives us his verdict on the subject, with an air of finality.
Written in his familiar style, warm, witty, sometimes acerbic but always with a lawyer's eye for precision, The Last Word is an interesting read, though certainly not an essential one, when it comes to the topic. Whereas Lane's first book on the subject, Rush to Judgement, was a brilliantly original and devastating deconstruction of the official Warren Commission narrative, his second book on JFK's murder, Plausible Denial, seemed to cover some of the same material (and that book's chapter on why JFK was killed, might appear rather familiar to anyone who's read Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty's book JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the plot to kill John F. Kennedy). Yet Plausible Denial still managed to add plenty of fascinating new material. The Last Word is analogous to the cliched criminal returning once again to the scene of the crime. This time, however, Lane appears to be plagiarising himself once too far. Not only is this book reusing his previous books quite liberally, it repeats itself quite frequently (case in point: the Mexico City legend).
Yet despite this repetition, I found myself admiring The Last Word: the author's bold accusation emblazoned on the cover, his mastery of the facts, his work over so many decades, both within the "conspiracy" scene and without - Mark Lane has been a tireless searcher for what he perceives as the truth.
It could be said that, to use a courtroom analogy, The Last Word is Mark Lane's summing up of the evidence, to reinforce the story in those who have followed this tragic case over so many years and also his last throw of the dice to arrest the attention of a new generation, who may well come to view this public execution of a sitting President as now no more relevant than the death of Francesco I de' Medici, a mere historical curiosity.
Certainly, Mark Lane's first book on JFK's death, Rush to Judgement, is essential. His second book, Plausible Denial, whilst not essential, is still fascinating. This third book, The Last Word, is still a great read but it does not really contribute or add anything new to such familiar material, though it does précis other books rather well: JFK's Vietnam policy, the Secret Service, the Novo brothers and Gerry Patrick Hemming all get touched upon.
Aptly enough, The Last Word reads very much like a postscript. Mark Lane has been intimately involved with this story from the very beginning. His persistence and tenacity is to be admired. His writing style is so fluid and engaging that it is difficult not to be won over by this book, despite its limitations. Citizen Lane has been a proven speaker of truth to power over many years. For that alone, this book deserves your attention.