Deathward

Adam Begley

  • Libra by Don DeLillo
    Viking, 456 pp, £11.95, November 1988, ISBN 0 670 82317 1

John Kennedy was killed 25 years ago, on 22 November 1963. The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known familiarly as the Warren Commission, issued its report a little less than a year later. In the report, members of the commission allowed that certain questions remained unanswered, but their conclusion left no room for doubt: ‘The commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy.’ Oswald ‘acted alone’, as did his assassin, Ruby. Along with the report, the commission released 26 volumes of testimony, exhibits and scientific analysis. If the Warren Report was meant, in part, to squelch rumours of conspiracy, to diffuse a nation’s doubt and anxiety, then it failed miserably: its pat conclusions (eventually undermined by the 1979 Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations) were ignored, spurned in favour of those 26 laden volumes and the jumble of confused and contradictory evidence they contain – the playground of the conspiracy junkie.

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