Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

JFK and the Unspeakable : Why he died and…

JFK and the Unspeakable : Why he died and why it matters

by James W. Douglass

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2511045,664 (4.21)5

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I was 15 years old when President Kennedy was murdered in Dallas on 11/22/63. I remember the moment I was told as if someone burned it into my memory with a hot brand. It was a little after 130pm est and I immediately went home arriving in time to see Walter Cronkite in tears and the playing of the National Anthem in the dead presidents honor. Hope seemed gone and the youth and vitality JFK brought to the American people ended abruptly with gunshots raining down on him at the hands of assassins in Dallas. Camelot was over, really over, and a new era had begun. The U.S. has yet to recover its steadiness and place in the world since that day in Dealey Plaza, instead we fight war after war to no real conclusion. There are no improvements in our lives as a result of these wars. American soldiers die for vague reasons in areas we have no cultural understanding of. JFK thought that nations should be free to determine their own destiny, alignment or nonalignment. But the military complex continues on and on.

This book has had a profound effect on me and the way I view the murder of President John Kennedy. Wondering as I had for so long about why JFK had to die I began to read "JFK and the Unspeakable" expecting yet another book that recounted all the questions that are left for our nation to resolve about the assassination, if and when it ever has the courage to do so. The author, James W. Douglas, however, has begun his story at the very beginning of JFK's presidency following the major national security issues he was involved in, or made decisions about, and the estrangement they caused in his relationship with his Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCOS). You'll read of General Curtis LeMay insulting JFK during JCOS meetings. LeMay, you'll recall was the running mate of George Corley Wallace when he ran for president in 1968 and not much more need be said to put LeMay where he rightfully belongs in history.

The first conflict with the military and CIA was when they presented JFK with the proposed invasion of Cuba by a brigade of Cuban exiles through the Bay of Pigs. JFK reluctantly allowed the invasion, but told the CIA he would not allow US air cover. When the Cuban Brigade failed to establish a beachhead the CIA tried to trap JFK into a US invasion of Cuba, if not a nuclear strike. JFK, a new president, stood his ground and would not authorize further US commitment. Next came the Cuban Missile Crisis that caused an epiphany for JFK and Khrushev as well. They jointly brought the world to the abyss of total annihilation and, frankly, scared the hell out of one another with the possibility of what nearly occurred. Kennedy was being pressured by his military and CIA and Chairman Khrushev was being pressured by equal forces in the Kremlin to launch a first strike. In a move that was bold and courageous, Kennedy turned to Khrushev for help with several communications through back channels and he responded by withdrawing the missiles in exchange for a US promise not to invade Cuba and, at some later date, for the US to remove missiles from Turkey and Italy that were pointed at the Soviet Union. JFK "turned" away from war and humanity won the Cuban Missile Crisis, not the US. Khrushev, for his part, trusted JFK because to do otherwise would result in a world where life was irrelevant to the option of using nuclear weapons. It's taken history decades to interpret the hopeful outcome of this crisis, two men who were enemies tried to understand the other and, as a result, humanity won. The unspeakable did not happen. You'll read the response of General Lemay in the meeting of the JCOS tell Kennedy "We Lost!!!!." No one can be sure what Lemay thought, or if he was capable of rational thought, however, it's clear he preferred death and destruction to Cuba and the USSR rather than a peaceful settlement of the crisis. JFK would be further estranged from the military and CIA because of this triumph of humanity and more than once spoke of a possible military coup, such as depicted in the novel "Seven Days In May," because of his growing disharmony with them.

JFK knew if he continued to pursue peace, he was in imminent danger with the military and CIA. Actually three or more things happened that convinced the military and CIA that JFK was a threat to their version of national security. The author places great importance on one speech that was, in the opinion of many, the best JFK ever made in June, 1963 at American University when he got away from Cold War rhetoric and challenged the Soviets to have a Peace Race instead of an Arms Race. A beautifully crafted speech, it had a huge effect on the Soviet people, yet little effect at home. In spite of his efforts to make peace with our enemies much evidence is given about counter measures the CIA was employing to thwart his efforts throughout Asia and, in particular Cuba. JFK realized his real enemy, and the one that kept opposing him in trying to stop war was our own CIA and not anyone in the Soviet Union. He's isolation must have been incredible to deal with as he recognized the ultimate threat he lived with in waging peace and stopping war. You'll be amazed and repulsed at the many plans the JCOS and CIA presented the president on using nuclear weapons to destroy the Soviet Union and Cuba. Along with the plans were the ruses that would make it appear "the other side' started the exchange.

Presidents from Washington to Eisenhower have warned of the growing power of the military industrial complex because of the constant war machine this nation runs. To stop it with peace is a very risky thing for a president as JFK knew. The reader will be surprised at how ready for peace the world was. Both men exchanged some 21 letters outlining their plan to bring a meaningful peace to the world through understanding and not confrontation and war. Both men were convinced of the futility of war after the Missile Crisis and the horrific damage it would inflict upon humanity. Before leaving for Dallas JFK signed an order withdrawing 1,000 troops from Vietnam and pledged to remove them all by 1965. How different our history may have been had he lived! Also, he announced his intention to "splinter the CIA into 1,000 pieces and spread them to the wind." They had become a government within a government promoting their own foreign policy and not the information gathering agency their charter made them during the Truman Administration. They had become a danger to the security of the United States and one has to assume that continues to this day. They operate in a world of mirrors, smoke and false identities, an enigma that no one has control over. Frankly, the entire US government is afraid of them.

The assassination of JFK actually begins in Chicago three weeks prior to his final day in Dallas. That attempt was thwarted by an informant named "Lee". The author moves to Dallas and with witnesses and research into documents released under Freedom of Information, takes apart the way JFK was killed in Dealey Plaza. No other historic account of this tragedy has woven together the parts of the plot, plan, or conspiracy to murder John Kennedy so completely. At the end of the book you'll understand the why of JFK's death, how it was accomplished and, in a way that should infuriate you, the agency that committed the murder. You will no longer be deluded into thinking that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin. Rather, he was a scapegoat who'd been put in that position by his operators in the CIA. The fact that Oswald told the press and nation on TV that "I'm a patsy" is evidence itself there was more to the shooting than we were ever told. Jack Ruby silenced Oswald and witnesses rejected by the Warren Commission saw him throughout the day of the assassination. Reportedly, he was in the movie theater when Oswald was captured hoping the Dallas Police would kill him right then and when they didn't, by mistake, the role fell to him. If you view the film of the execution again Oswald was set up for Ruby to kill. The report rendered by The Warren Commission is nothing but a pack of lies and testimony that were changed for the purpose of "protecting the United States." History laughs at this so-called report and, frankly, it's a waste of paper. Any witness to events that would change their lone assassin theory, and there were many, were disregarded or misquoted. The line of questioning of witnesses shows a lack of follow-up where to know more would upset the theory they were "proving" at any cost.

The hard truth of this book, the unspeakable, is the evil that lurks within the Central Intelligence Agency that undertook a plot to remove JFK because believing and pursuing peace was, in their view, a threat to national security. Our nation must face this awful truth someday. In the words of the author, events such as this cannot be allowed to pass into history without explanation and justice. An agency of our own government and their accomplices killed John Fitzgerald Kennedy because he turned to peace and wanted all women, men and children to live their lives without war and its eventual, but, certain annihilation of humanity. John Kennedy represented a humanity that had no lobby to promote their interests in pursuing life, liberty and happiness. This is a book for the ages, for our age, and it's hoped many will read it and realize that we as a nation are not truly free, nor very brave if evil like this is allowed to live within those who govern us. For they are a reflection of us. ( )
  drawoh2014 | Oct 17, 2016 |
How to describe this book, which combines theology, history, policy studies and a dash of conspiracy theory? As I read, I reflected on the conversion of JFK from Cold Warrior to peacemaker, and the parallel evolution of Nikita Khrushchev, and also on how the last fifty years might have turned out had Kennedy not been assassinated. Douglass does an excellent job of explicating policy formation in Washington, DC, and interprets the events leading up to Kennedy's death through a consistent framework. Is he right about what happened? You read it and decide. ( )
  nmele | Apr 3, 2015 |
Now that we are getting closer to the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination there seems to be an increased animosity between those who believe the conclusions of the Warren commission about Lee Oswald, the lone gunman, and on the other hand the ones who believe that JFK was murdered by a group of people who conspired and benefited from his death.

Nobody has been able to present conclusive proofs about one or the other theory. Not the government, not the official commission, not the conspiracy lovers and not the conspiracy bashers, not even the arrogant ones who titled their work "Case closed".

This extremely well-researched book by Jim Douglass is more serious and credible than most of the JFK literature out there for two reasons:

1) it doesn't try to sell you a specific theory or tell us who shot JFK (by the way, it doesn't even mention the single / magic bullet theory), but rather tries to find some coherence in all the hundreds of facts and information that we have about the assassination.
2) it doesn't focus on "who did it?" as much, while it spends most of its pages on the most important questions: "why they did it, and why does it matter today?".

Douglass makes a compelling argument that is not pointing at one single reason (for example, they shot him because he wanted to end the Vietnam war, or because he pissed off the CIA in numerous occasions). He takes a truly holistic approach at JFK's main policies in the last years of his life, and where they were headed for the years to come. In particular, JFK's determination to end the Cold War through diplomatic strategies and back-channels communications with Krushev and other communist leaders, was an extremely unpopular stance with most of the government people who surrounded him, the military apparatus and of course the CIA, that JFK had sworn he would "splinter in a thousand pieces".

The CIA in particular comes out from this book as the principal orchestrator of the murder. If that was the case, it would actually answer one of the most popular bar-banter objections to the conspiracy theory: "Someone should have spoken out by now". This argument does not hold once you realize that a) many witnesses and people somehow involved actually HAVE spoken out. Several of them have died in mysterious circumstances. b) there are hundreds of undercover operations organized by the CIA in the last 50 years, that we know absolutely nothing about, or perhaps just tiny fragments of the truth.

The writing is not great, there is no doubt about that. And yes, Douglass tends to repeat concepts and entire sentences along his book.

But overall, this book strikes me as the result of really honest hard work, including in-person interviews, and - at the VERY least - it makes you question the official version that has been fed to the public about this assassination.

As for the event itself, what strikes me as really odd is not that 60% of Americans today believe there was some sort of conspiracy. What strikes me as odd is that many of the remaining 40% are aggressively promoting the Warren Commission's version of the "lone gunman"!! Maybe they should read this book from cover to cover.

One of the conspiracy bashers is Stephen King. His book 11/23/63 has an afterword where King states that anybody rational must believe at 99% probability that there was no conspiracy. He doesn't explain why though. Very odd.

Another massive recent public-influencing event about this topic is Tom Hanks's movie "Parkland", which is nothing more than the reenactment of the official version of the events. What's the point of that? Why even make the freaking movie?? But MOST importantly, how can a big-budget movie about Parkland hospital completely ignore the documented fact that 15 doctors who saw JFK's body said that they saw an "entry wound" in his throat?? Were they just all so utterly incompetent, that Tom Hanks decided to dismiss that fact as non important??

Some more food for thought now.

To believe that Oswald killed JFK by himself, you must also believe the following things:

1- Two witnesses saw Oswald carrying a bag into the Texas School Book Depository on the morning of the assassination. They insisted that it was too small to contain a rifle and must have been mistaken.

2- Julia Ann Murcer claimed that she saw a man going up the grassy knoll carrying a rifle one hour before the assassination. She said a man looking like Jack Ruby waiting for him in a parked truck. Murcer was not called by the Warren Commission. She must have been mistaken.

3- The 51 eyewitnesses claimed to have heard gunshots from the grassy knoll and saw smoke or smelled gunpowder coming from that direction must have been mistaken.

4- The 15 Parkland Hospital doctors who said there was an entrance wound in President Kennedy’s throat must have been mistaken.

5- Doctors and witnesses who claimed to have seen a large exit wound located toward the back of Kennedy’s head must have been mistaken.

6- Pathologists at the autopsy who were insistent that the entry wound on President Kennedy’s skull was lower than the large exit wound and that there was no entry wound high on the back of the skull must have been mistaken.

7- John Connally, who was sitting directly in front of Kennedy, and who maintained under oath and repeatedly in later interviews that he and Kennedy were injured by separate bullets, must have been mistaken.

8- The paraffin tests on Oswald’s hands and cheek indicated that he had not fired a rifle on the day of the assassination and therefore must have been incompetently administered.

9- It was just a macabre coincidence that seven top FBI officials due to testify at HSCA died within a 6 month period in 1977.

10- Although the probability is one in 100 billion trillion that at least 26 of 1100 witnesses sought in four JFK investigations would be murdered, it was just a coincidence and does not prove a conspiracy.

Having said all that, this book also works well as a history book, especially in its coverage of the Cuban crisis, the Bay of Pigs, the beginning of the Vietnam escalation, and the very tense relationships between JFK and his Joint Chiefs.

The problem of powerful internal warmongers, it seems, is a problem that every non-military leader has always had to face. Krushev had a similar situation in Russia.

Douglass concludes his work with a simple yet powerful statement:

"Peace is possible".

Read this book! ( )
2 vote tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
The Unspeakable have any communications with mass media on anything to do with the subject of The JFK Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killers of JFK released by itself to dig into conspiracies like JFK and 9/11 to have militia into the street Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK ( )
  tonynetone | Feb 4, 2014 |
First of all I have to say that I was somewhat reluctant to even add this book to my list, just because if you're even partly convinced by its contents you have to wonder if your name will end up on some sort of list just by talking about it. Of course just the fact that I purchased it would probably already have earned me a place on such a list, so what the hell. . .

I've read many accounts of this event and from pretty much the very beginning have been convinced that the official story doesn't hold up. All it really takes is watching the video to see that it came from in front of him. And surprisingly, Douglass doesn't even address the "magic bullet," which is damning enough of the official account in its own right.

However, what this book did so well (and differently from all the others I have read) was to weave all of the mysterious inconsistencies and loose threads into a coherent and convincing narrative. Even something like Peter Dale Scott's [b:Deep Politics and the Death of JFK|430223|Deep Politics and the Death of JFK|Peter Dale Scott|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348310789s/430223.jpg|419203], though perhaps more exhaustively researched, still does not present a single scenario in such a comprehensive format.

The result is mostly depressing and scary, but also gratifying in the way it describes JFK as that all-too-rare thing: a leader with the brains to know the right course of action and the courage to pursue it. Some of the most moving parts of the book are the different foreign leaders' thoughts on Kennedy; indeed his greatest "enemies" (Kruschev, Castro, Sukarno, Diem, etc.) were often the most effusive in their praise. And reading their reactions to his death and what it would mean for the Cold War was heartbreaking.

I would have given the book a perfect 5 but for Douglass's writing style which became quite grating by the end. On the one hand, I'm glad he appears to have dumbed it down a little in order to create a more impactful narrative. But on the other hand he was maddeningly repetitive at times, especially with the regurgitation of entire speeches or quotes, as if he couldn't depend on the reader to remember what he was referring to. Also, his narrative choice of the last chapter was perplexing at best, where he interspersed the dissection of events immediately surrounding "the event" with repetitive descriptions of JFK's ongoing pursuance of peace with Russia. Not only could those latter things have been said much more effectively in a prior chapter, but they served to completely interrupt the momentum of a very compelling analysis.

Ultimately, this is an important book. It makes a convincing argument that JFK was taking dramatic steps to end the Cold War, which threatened the newly established and already hyperactive military-industrial complex, which responded by neutralizing the threat. The take away message is that our country is run by the organization-that-must-not-be-named and any effort to change those circumstances will probably fail. Really makes me wish Truman hadn't been so dense to create it in the first place. . . ( )
1 vote blake.rosser | Jul 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
"You believe in redemption, don't you?"

John F. Kennedy
May 1, 1962
To Vince Salandria and Marty Schotz
teachers and friends
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Douglass takes readers into the Oval Office during the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, along on the strange journey of Lee Harvey Oswald and his shadowy handlers, and to the winding road in Dallas where an ambush awaited the President's motorcade. As Douglass convincingly documents, at every step along the way these forces of the Unspeakable were present, moving people like pawns on a chessboard to promote a dangerous and deadly agenda. --from publisher description… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
115 wanted1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.21)
3 7
3.5 1
4 9
5 14

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,411,450 books! | Top bar: Always visible