by JF

Covers the life of former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison and his heroic investigation to uncover the CIA’s role in the assassination of JFK. It is a candid work, showing Garrison the man, warts and all. Mellen reveals Garrison’s flaws even more than his finer qualities, and yet, still his finer qualities were of such a singular nature among the crowd of crooks that inhabit both the legal and political profession that Garrison becomes a very realistic and believable hero through Mellen’s competent prose. The unbrainwashed American reader who was alive in the 1960s and 1970s is filled with remorse for not having paid enough attention to Garrison’s investigation and his claims.

Mellen shows that the media is the lapdog of the CIA, and this explains the many unjust, untrue attacks the major media carried out against Garrison. Mellen also documents how appallingly keen were the CIA and FBI to infiltrate Garrison’s investigation, even his very office, sending in double agents duplicitously posing as earnest volunteer assistant investigators who just wanted to help the overworked, understaffed Garrison get to the truth. The obstacles that the FBI and CIA placed in the path of Garrison’s small core of reliable investigators, the plethora of false leads, the harassment of potential witnesses, the assassination of potential witnesses, etc.–look, it’s really simple: If Garrison hadn’t been on the right track, if he wasn’t really and actually threatening to uncover the truth about the JFK assassination, then the government agencies would not have gone to so much trouble to impede him.

Mellen shows that Garrison’s greatest traits were his honesty in business and at law (a truly rare quality if there ever was one!), his empathy for victims and anyone wronged, and his natural gift of gab; Mellen also shows that Garrison tended to be disorganized in his personal affects and in his finances, he was routinely unfaithful to his loyal wife, and he tended to be far too credulous of people. This last foible made him an easy mark for the CIA/FBI disinfo agents, who consistently derailed his investigation–this, the single most important investigation of the 20th century.

The fact that Garrison was so unfairly derided in the major media, the fact that most Americans know so little about Garrison and what really happened at Dealey Plaza on that fateful day in November, 1963, the fact that the coverup was so successful and the perpetrators were never brought to secular justice–all of this together more than justifies Joan Mellen’s bold title for this work, a title which initially had been a title that Jim Garrison had been considering for his own 1991 book, On the Trail of the Assassins.

This book qualifies as one of those rare and crucial books that every American should read, but nearly every one of them won’t. So it goes…

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ