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2017 Books


Several books of interest to our readers were published in 2017. Here are some of the more notable ones:

The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, by Jefferson Morley. JFKFacts.org moderator and author of Our Man in Mexico Jeff Morley has penned a biography of CIA CounterIntelligence chief James Angleton. Morley's account of the man who famously stated "It is inconceivable that that a secret intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government" puts special focus on Angleton's hunt for a Soviet mole, and in his office's peculiar handling of the CIA's file on Lee Harvey Oswald, and its monitoring of the man himself.


Countdown to Darkness: The Assassination of President Kennedy Volume II, by John Newman. Volume II continues the work Newman began with Where Angels Tread Lightly, plumbing the depths of released CIA records to reveal hidden stories and identities. John Newman is a contributor to the MFF's CIA Cryptonym Project, and this book delves into several of the agents and entities his research has uncovered.


JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power, 2nd Edition, by John Newman. Newman's groundbreaking account of Kennedy's handling of Vietnam broke the dam on the topic. Followed by Robert McNamara's In Retrospect and JFK Records Act declassifications, the history of Kennedy Vietnam policy has been rewritten to acknowledge JFK's moves to withdraw. This updated edition includes the story of how the original edition was suppressed after publication.


Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, by Chris Matthews. MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews has written a compelling and uplifting account of Robert Kennedy's life, based on interviews with many insiders including RFK's widow Ethel. From boyhood to his tragic assassinaton in 1968 while running for president, Matthews traces the arc of a man who inspired millions with his raw passion for justice. Bobby Kennedy, writes Matthews, is "the kind of leader we lack today."


Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics, by Lawrence O'Donnell.The 1968 presidential election was a watershed event in U.S. political history, and MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell chronicles it all. The anti-war movement and Eugene McCarthy, LBJ's decision not to seek re-election, RFK's candidacy and assassination, rioting at the Democratic convention, and Richard Nixon's alliance with Roger Ailes, his masterful "Southern strategy," and his treasonous interference in Vietnam peace talks.


The Revolution of Robert Kennedy: From Power to Protest After JFK, by John R. Bohrer. Much has been written about Robert Kennedy as his brother's campaign manager, attorney general, and "ruthless" fixer, and about RFK's 1968 presidential campaign and its untimely end. This book's focus is the period in between, when Kennedy left the Johnson administration, became a senator, and took up the cause of the poor and downtrodden and increasingly spoke out for racial justice and peace.


JFK: A Vision for America, by Stephen Smith & Douglas Brinkley. This centennial commemorative book features many of John F. Kennedy's greatest speeches, interleaved with hundreds of photographs, and accompanied by essays and commentaries from a variety of statesman and thinkers. These include Elizabeth Warren, John McCain, the Dalia Lama, John Lewis, Paul Krugman, George Packer, Jerry Brown, Robert Redford, Gloria Steinem, Kofi Annan, and many others.


The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK's Five-Year Campaign, by Thomas Oliphant & Curtis Wilkie. Richard Reeves, author of President Kennedy: Profile of Power, says: "Two of the best political reporters around tell the story of an ambitious young senator who would not wait his turn and changed all the old rules to become our 35th president. The Road to Camelot is a wonderful narrative of the self-driven campaign of the man who became President Kennedy. An exciting time. A great read."


Trained to Kill: The Inside Story of CIA Plots against Castro, Kennedy, and Che, by Antonio Veciana & Carlos Harrison. Antonio Veciana, the Cuban exile who founded the militant group Alpha-66 and took on the CIA code name AMSHALE-1, tells the story of his knowledge and participation in the "secret war" against Fidel Castro, Operation Condor, and the murder of Che Guevera. Veciana also now claims that his CIA handler, David Phillips, was indeed the "Maurice Bishop" whom he observed meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald in September 1963.


The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Biography, by Michael J. Hogan. From the back cover: "In his new book, Michael J. Hogan, a leading historian of the American presidency, offers a new perspective on John F. Kennedy, as seen not from his life and times but from his afterlife in American memory." The book includes a chapter devoted to the "memory wars" over JFK's legacy and how he should be remembered.


The Patsy, by Jay Fitzpatrick. From the back cover: "A time travel political thriller ripped right out of today's headlines. President Tommy Burk is looking to establish his legacy, and has successfully challenged NASA plasma physicists and engineers at the Tesla Space Flight Center to open portals into time. The president's first test is to send time travel jumpers into the past to find the truth about a crime that has haunted America for fifty-three years. Did Lee Harvey Oswald take the shot that killed JFK, or was he just a patsy?"


Unidentified: The National Intelligence Problem of UFOs, by Larry Hancock. In this timely book given recent news, Larry Hancock, author of Someone Would Have Talked, brings his hard-nosed research and analysis to the subject of UFOs. Beginning with World War II and the Air Force's desire to understand whether strange encounters were new Nazi weapons, Larry's book traces the United States government's attempts to make sense of the steady stream of unexplained sightings by Air Force pilots and others. A fascinating survey.


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