Oswald Shoots JFK

William Rubinstein reviews the research of 'amateur historians' on the Kennedy assassination and suggests a new motive for Lee Harvey Oswald's actions.

Oswald's mugshot following his arrest in New Orleans, August 9, 1963The assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22nd, 1963, was one of the watershed events of the twentieth century. Everyone who remembers it also knows where they were when they heard the news. If (as is often suggested) it led to America's disastrous involvement in Vietnam, it was one of the most momentous. Yet it is also one of contemporary history's most enduring mysteries. Although the apparent assassin was arrested within ninety minutes of the killing, the assassination has often been termed the greatest unsolved crime in American history. A Presidential commission of inquiry headed by America's Chief Justice Earl Warren concluded in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, acted alone, and that  Jack Ruby, who killed Oswald two days after the assassination, also acted alone, but many hundreds of books and articles have been written to prove that Kennedy was assassinated as a result of a far-reaching conspiracy. Not one of these critics of the Warren Report is a professional historian, yet their efforts probably constitute the largest body of work by amateur historians on any single subject. Astonishingly, to the best of my knowledge, no academic historian has ever investigated Kennedy's assassination and the theories surrounding it.

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