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On the Trail of the Assassins

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,063 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Jim Garrison’s classic account of his investigation and prosecution of the murder of JFK.

Almost fifty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his murder continues to haunt the American psyche and stands as a turning point in our nation’s history. The Warren Commission rushed out its report in 1964, but questions continue to linger: Was there a conspirac
Mass Market Paperback, 407 pages
Published December 1st 1991 by Warner Books (first published 1988)
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JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. DouglassPlausible Denial by Mark LaneOn the Trail of the Assassins by Jim GarrisonRush to Judgment by Mark LaneHigh Treason by Robert J. Groden
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3rd out of 67 books — 25 voters
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro
True Crime
82nd out of 430 books — 531 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,828)
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Andrew Breslin
Feb 02, 2015 Andrew Breslin rated it liked it
Oswald was not an independently-acting commie loner who singlehandedly assassinated John F Kennedy with his Manlicher Carcano rifle, then shot officer J.D. Tippet with a revolver, after having first posed for history’s most improbably convenient photograph, with the rifle, the revolver and a copy of The Militant, only to utter his final words “I’m just a patsy” before being gunned down by a seedy nightclub owner, who, under the later advice of his attorney, remembered that the reason he did it w ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Juanita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, true-crime, jfk
This book was unputdownable from start to finish. I never skipped a page and looked forward to the next time I had free to read this completely fascinating book! I’m saddened that it has ended!
I truly loved the way that Garrison wrote; he used prose that only gave the answers when it became climactically clear that finality was necessary. On other occasions he allowed the reader to get the truth on his/her own. He used sardonic sarcasm that was entertaining, while thought-provoking. For example,
Pete Freind
Feb 08, 2013 Pete Freind rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, history, jfk
Very well written, endlessly fascinating, and ultimately quite depressing. I used to think that Oswald didn't act alone; after reading this and other books on the assassination, I'm convinced he didn't even pull the trigger at all that day. Knowing the lengths to which the government went to cover up so much of what happened in Dallas that day, not to mention events before and after, makes it difficult to have faith in any government institution.

***SPOILER*** JFK dies.
Erik Graff
Jan 08, 2015 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: US citizens
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
I much preferred this account to the one, Heritage of Stone, which Garrison published eighteen years earlier. Both are accounts of his office's work in pursuing the New Orleans connections to the assassination of President Kennedy, but this one has the advantage of greater hindsight, many of the earlier allegations having received support in the succeeding years (such as Clay Shaw's CIA association).
Additionally, there is far more autobiographical material, later harrassments and prosecutions of
Kyle J. Merriam
Jun 22, 2013 Kyle J. Merriam rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books in American history. Garrison makes his case as to who killed JFK.
Jan 05, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: true believers
When you're sick in London over the winter holidays, this is the kind of thing you pluck off the walls of your grandparents copious political bookshelves. I'd seen the film back when it came out, and aside from the crazy almost avant-garde film making of Stone, I came away still confused as ever, and seemingly with an entirely different take of the assassination of JFK then what Garrison lays out in his book.

While I admit to having a mild fascination with this sort of stuff (ie. Zodiac, Nazis, e
Jan 27, 2011 Cwn_annwn_13 rated it really liked it
On the Trail of the Assassins is Garrisons beginning to end recollection of his investigation of the JFK assassination. Garrison deserves a lot of credit for uncovering as much as he did but as far as his final conclusion I think its too simple to say it was just a bunch of ring wingers and anti-communists within the CIA that had Kennedy iced and the buck stops there. The one guy who he had charges brought against may very well have been involved but to try to put him at the top of the conspirac ...more
Jesse Showalter
Mar 12, 2015 Jesse Showalter rated it did not like it
Garrison was a bully who seems to have made up his bogus conspiracy theory as he went along. Why did Garrison do it? To increase his public profile and secure reelection? Because he hated homosexuals? Because he suffered from mental illness? Maybe all of the above.

Garrison's book leaves out significant facts. Most importantly, that he hardly participated in the trial, which was handled by his assistants, and that he and his assistants violated the constitutional rights of Clay Shaw and others t
Martina Frammartino
Sep 23, 2014 Martina Frammartino rated it it was amazing
La fonte principale di Oliver Stone per il film JFK - Un caso ancora aperto, con Kevin Costnar nella parte del protagonista, è questo libro di Jim Garrison.
Diciamocelo, Costner è molto più bello, e suppongo pure più idealista, di Garrison. Il libro è ovviamente di parte, mostra la verità come credeva che fosse Garrison, e probabilmente contiene errori, ma ci sono dentro talmente tante cose che la lettura è comunque interessantissima. Comunque se lo volete leggere lo potete prendere solo in bibli
Nov 14, 2014 Jim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
On the Trail of the Assassins is a history book only in that it's about Jim Garrison's unsuccessful prosecution of an alleged conspiracy to murder President Kennedy. The trial did occur in New Orleans, led by Garrison when he was District Attorney of that parish, and in that sense this is a book of nonfiction. Otherwise, I recommend anyone picking up On the Trail to read each chapter with a critical eye, and to be prepared to challenge and research just about every assertion Garrison makes.

My mo
Pam White
Apr 06, 2014 Pam White rated it it was amazing
Great book! Garrison was right all along, he was on to something big & that is why he was targeted. Sadly, he is right about something else too - that is what our government does to people who challenge their official story. I wish I could read some of Garrison's other books but trying to get a hold of one now is hard, plus they are so expensive. Maybe if some publisher would start printing them again, they'd see a rush on purchases.
Chester Dean
Sep 18, 2014 Chester Dean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-2014, owned
Este libro trata sobre las conspiraciones al rededor de la muerte de Kennedy, pero más que nada, sobre la posible falsa incriminación a Oswald, que sólo fue un chivo expiatorio y mucho más. Muy interesante. Después de leerlo vi muchos videos sobre las conspiraciones, sobre Oswald y el asesinato, y pues este libro es bastante sensato y le creo. Ahora también quiero ver la película basada en él.
Roan Proudley
Jul 14, 2013 Roan Proudley rated it really liked it
Garrison can be a little holier than thou in places but this is still compelling and it's still amazing and scary that we don't know what really happened in 1963.
Bijan Fallahi
Nov 14, 2010 Bijan Fallahi rated it really liked it
I don't believe the truth in this case will ever be known, but I have no problem accepting Garrison's view as a possibility.
Jul 30, 2011 Alicedewonder rated it it was amazing
Forget the movie JFK and read Judge Jim Garrison's words for yourself, because the movie was just a distracting performance.
Dec 10, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, mystery
well documented and fascinating read if you like JFK (oliver stones movie) then this is a great document
Apr 28, 2009 Berrygraham rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jfk
For someone who didn't grow up in the Cold War era, this was an eye opening book.
Pete daPixie
Feb 04, 2009 Pete daPixie rated it liked it
Hot on some trails, but the presidents brain is still missing.
Sep 15, 2012 Jay rated it it was amazing
good detail; logical; it really reels you in & makes you think
Mar 19, 2015 Sacha rated it it was amazing
Read this book. No way Oswald did it.
Susan  Odetta
Oct 14, 2010 Susan Odetta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-five-stars
I read this when it was new (published 1988) and it seemed so complicated and convoluted that I had trouble following it. I found it recently in the Moose Lake, MN public library and decided to try it again. Now, twenty-plus years later I figured I was ready to understand New Orleans' Prosecutor Jim Garrison's point-of-view. I was well-rewarded. It no longer seems far-fetched to believe that factions within the CIA, FBI and Dallas Police Department could, and would, successfully pull off a coup ...more
Dan Wilson
Jul 11, 2015 Dan Wilson rated it liked it
This book was the main source for Oliver Stone's film JFK. It was a good choice on Stone's part, because the story of Jim Garrison's investigation of the JFK assassination is historically significant, a means to tell much of the story of the murder plot, and provides a true hero in Garrison.

On the Trail of the Assassins is now 25 years old, released halfway between the assassination and the present day. Newer books such as James W. Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable have the benefit of informati
Alan Wells
Mar 30, 2013 Alan Wells rated it it was amazing
A look at the ever-as-always mysterious and puzzling circumstances that led up to - and continue seemingly today, involving the assassination of the President of the United States on November 22, 1963. Mr. Garrison’s account of his findings are primarily from the point of view of an investigator - as he was at the time as District Attorney for the city of New Orleans, Louisiana; within whose jurisdiction many of the alleged players and activities in a plausible conspiracy to carry out this assas ...more
Brian Mumford
Dec 10, 2012 Brian Mumford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I never thought to read this book before. I saw the movie JFK which was based on it back when it came out in the early 90's. As a result, I read a number of books and watched countless documentaries on the subject. Along they way, there was plenty of disinformation pointing to "false sponsors" of the assassination. IMO, this book is still the best source for anyone interested in learning about who assassinated John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 almost fifty years ago.

Robert Paxton
Jan 09, 2014 Robert Paxton rated it did not like it
I recently - last semester - took a class strictly on the conspiracies surrounding the JFK assassination. A whole 3 credit course with a legitimate letter grade in the end. I had my expectations of a ruse of a class taught by a professor who ate his popcorn while the kernels were still popping. I, however, was surprised to learn a great deal from a wonderful professor about not just interesting conspiracy theories, but the historical atmosphere of the time. That being said, one of the books we w ...more
Andreas Michaelides
Jun 08, 2015 Andreas Michaelides rated it it was amazing
Since I was a kid I was always fascinated about the assassination of the president and I to tell you the truth I really got tried from all those conspiracy theories, crazy bullet etc. This book written by the man that actually investigates the case, the district attorney of Orleans County explains everything; it actually put my mind at easy of who killed the president. Read this book and you will find out who did really kill President Kennedy.
Dec 17, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
I read this book once a year for the past 4 years. Garrison uncovered so much detail that the media and historians neglect to mention. A fantastic in depth look into the biggest investigation of Garrison's life. On the trail.. brings logical and common sense investigative techniques to a case that will not rest. It's my top 5 of all time.
Mitch Gage
Aug 21, 2015 Mitch Gage rated it really liked it
I don;t know how to feel after reading this. Dude brings up a lot of interesting points but it just seems hard to believe that something so vast and far reaching could stay buried this long. But then again I know nothing. David Ferrie though. Should be a movie just about that guy. Starring Matthew Fox.
Feb 07, 2008 Ray rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YES YES AND YES!!!
Recommended to Ray by: The movie
Not only is the information in this book unnoticed by most people, it is also page turner. Reading this at times, I felt upset, and shocked. The information, story is a lot to take, for the simple fact that we were told a lie about what happened. It is a lot of information that most will not want to believe about what happen on November 22, 1963. It has been a long time since JFK was murdered and its forgotten by most and that alone is truly ashame. Jim Garrison, the writer of the book, was the ...more
Apr 10, 2008 Emanuela rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: JFK lovers, history lovers, people with an interest in America whatsoever
Recommended to Emanuela by: My mum!
FANTABULOUS!!! A must-read. Extremely well written, it gives a totally different approach on the JFK murder mystery.
I read it as soon as I heard Mr. Stone was filming it, to avoid my pleaseure in reading it being spoilt by the movie version.

Although I am partial with the idea of JFK NOT having been murdered by Oswald at all (or at least not alone), I am far from declaring I own the truth only beacuse I've read this book.
However, in my opinion this is an excellent starting point if, like me, you
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the jim 1 6 Nov 12, 2013 12:06AM  
  • High Treason: The Assassination of JFK & the Case for Conspiracy (Carroll & Graf)
  • Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy
  • JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy
  • Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK?
  • Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK, A ballistics expert's astonishing discovery of the fatal bullet that Oswald did not fire
  • Best Evidence
  • Deep Politics and the Death of JFK
  • The Last Investigation
  • JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
  • Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK
  • The Kennedy Conspiracy
  • Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination
  • The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
  • The Girl on the Stairs
  • Double Cross: The Explosive, Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America
  • The Death of a President: November 1963
  • The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball's Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy
  • Sinister Forces-The Nine: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft
Earling Carothers "Jim" Garrison, who changed his first name to Jim in the early 1960s — was the Democratic District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana from 1962 to 1973. He is best known for his investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (JFK).

Garrison remains a controversial figure. Opinions differ as to whether he uncovered a conspiracy behind the John F. Kennedy assa
More about Jim Garrison...

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“when a group of individuals gravitated toward one another for no apparent reason, or a group of individuals inexplicably headed in the same direction as if drawn by a magnetic field, or coincidence piled on coincidence too many times, as often as not the shadowy outlines of a covert intelligence operation were somehow becoming visible.” 0 likes
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