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JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
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JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  1,374 Ratings  ·  193 Reviews
In this fascinating and disturbing book James Douglass presents a compelling account of why President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and why the unmasking of this truth remains crucial for the future of our country and the world.
Hardcover, 510 pages
Published June 25th 2008 by Orbis Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Aug 27, 2008 Jamey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every single American
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters is the most beautiful, most important, and most spiritually cogent book I have read in a decade. It deserves to be taught in universities throughout the country and reviewed in every major periodical. The book’s structure is sturdy and clear; the prose is one transparent, flowing stream; and the account of the murder’s origin and nature is strikingly broad in its good-faith inquiry. As a result, facets of the story are put in place – and th ...more
Jackson Burnett
Politics, History, Intrigue, and Mystery.

JKF and the Unspeakable got to me in a way I didn't expect. Organizing facts in support of a JFK assassination theory is like ordering a meal at Alice's Restaurant. You can get anything you want. Still, I found this book both persuasive and deeply disturbing.

The accuracy of tomes like these is dependent upon the author's use of primary sources. I didn't check them. One chapter had nine hundred and thirty-six footnotes. The others were as well documented.
Bob Mayer
Nov 22, 2015 Bob Mayer rated it it was amazing
An excellent step by step summary of events. I'm not sure I agree with some of the conclusions, but if you want one of the clearest written portrayals of events, this is it. The key is to see how JFK was changed in office. He ran on the missile gap, that we were behind the Russians, but once in office he realized he'd been fooled. The actual gap was the other way, which, in a way, made things more desperate for the Soviet Union.
Most people don't know we had nuke missiles in Turkey and Italy, ver
Aug 29, 2011 Murray rated it it was amazing
This is a simply stunning book. I suppose if you were around to remember Kennedy's Assassination you will have clear views on whether the assassination was by a 'lone nut' or part of a wider and much darker conspiracy. James Douglass's interest was because he discovered Kennedy, in his final years, was moving sharply from Cold War Warrior to Statesman of Peace. This was the main reason he was killed.
Douglass, a campaigner for peace, puts together a very compelling case as to why certain powerfu
Pete daPixie
This author, James W. Douglass, is a non violence activist and Christian theologian, one time professor of religion at the University of Hawaii. 'JFK and the Unspeakable', copyright 2008, is a profound and deeply spiritual journey along the Kennedy presidency, that, accompanied with a thorough and up to date knowledge of the assassination conspiracy genre, provides readers with 'back channel' insights that led to JFK's martyrdom for peace.
I concur fully with Gaeton Fonzi's review of this book, w
Tom Tabasco
Sep 24, 2013 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
my wonderful blog is here

Now that we are getting closer to the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination there seems to be an increased animosity between those who believe the conclusions of the Warren commission about Lee Oswald, the lone gunman, and on the other hand the ones who believe that JFK was murdered by a group of people who conspired and benefited from his death.

I certainly am NOT a lover of conspiracy theories, but what makes this subject so interesting is that so far nobody has b
Paul Pessolano
Feb 08, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
The sub-title to this book is "Why He Died and Why It Matters" and "He Chose Peace. They Marked Him for Death".

This book was highly acclaimed when it came out in hardcover, and whatever your feelings are regarding John Kennedy, one should read this book, not for the person but what can happen when our military and intelligence establishments are not controlled.

The book is well documented, and even though there are some gaps and unsubstantiated parts of the book, the author puts together a pretty
Natylie Baldwin
Feb 19, 2014 Natylie Baldwin rated it it was amazing
“What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all ti ...more
Nov 22, 2009 Gina rated it it was amazing
JFK and the Unspeakable
Review on GoodReads

A heartbreaking book that shows--finally--why my favorite President was murdered 46 years ago. I began reading books about John F. Kennedy at a young age, but few have been assassination books. Although familiar with the various conspiracy theories, I never dug that deeply into the more gory and grisly aspects of the President’s last hours. But after reading “The Brothers” last year, seeing reviews about this book, and viewing the writer on YouTube desc
Judyth Vary
Dec 12, 2009 Judyth Vary rated it it was amazing
Anybody who gives this book less than five stars is a disinfo agent working for the government, or that person lacks brains. Douglass has brilliantly revealed the sickening details about the Coup that most thinking Americans today know killed Kennedy. Douglass knows what happened to Kennedy, why it happened, and why it is important today. And he knows--as do most intelligent Americans --that Lee Oswald was carefully manipulated to become the scapegoat. He outlines how it happened. Everything. H ...more
Brian T
Aug 07, 2012 Brian T rated it really liked it
I read this as my 3rd book in a series of 3 about the assassination. I found it to be a great finale. It is thoroughly researched and all-encompassing. The author makes a pretty straight-forward case: JFK "saw the light" and began communicating privately with Kruschev and Castro about long-term peace. He was ready to get out of Vietnam. He was ready to do whatever he could to end the Cold War and to dramatically diminish the power of the Pentagon, and the CIA in particular, while working towards ...more
William Trently
As you read this book, a deathly cold and deepest sadness pervades the room as you realize just how formidable the wall against progress is. I didn’t witness the assassination and don’t hold a full-time job investigating it and so can’t say what really went down that day but, aware of what humans are capable of doing to each other, the plethora of suspicious incidents chronicled in this riveting presentation certainly raises distressing red flags. Nevertheless, this book is primarily about WHY K ...more
Aug 13, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing
For well over a year after I purchased James W. Douglass’s book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, I delayed opening it. In a strange way, I feared having my worst suspicions about the circumstances surrounding his death confirmed. Once I finally begin reading, however, I quickly became caught up in a masterfully told, and scrupulously researched, tale of alternating darkness and light. I recommend this book to all who wish to understand why JFK was murdered, by which web o ...more
Aug 27, 2009 John rated it liked it
Really should be 3 1/2 stars - I couldn't honestly give 4 here as it got so very dense at times.

First of all, yes, it is a "conspiracy book", but so well laid out that a reader would need a super-glued shut mind (think: Pee Wee Hermann and the "I can't hear you!" scene) to accept Oswald pulling it off on his own (if at all). The autopsy scene, with non-medical military honchos telling the doctors exactly what they could, and could not do, (such as investigate obvious entrance wounds from differe
G.H. Monroe
Jun 13, 2012 G.H. Monroe rated it it was amazing
When you view the piece of home movie film taken by Abraham Zapruder, understanding the relative positions of Oswald and the President, your gut tells you, "Something is amiss". No, it screams, "WAKE UP!!"

But when you move forward to read and find out exactly what isn't right, the flood of books by "Oswald Did It" shills and crazed nuts claiming shooters in storm drains, in the limosine and in the rafters beneath the underpass serve only to obfuscate the truth. At this point, many throw up their
Dan Wilson
Sep 15, 2013 Dan Wilson rated it it was amazing
There have been dozens of books written about the JFK assassination, but this one is particularly unique and noteworthy. This is far from being the first book to argue that JFK was killed by Cold Warriors in the CIA and/or Pentagon. The main thing which makes this one stand out is Douglass' presentation of and emphasis on the big picture. His command of the details of the case (timelines, bullet trajectories, eyewitness accounts, film, photos, audio recordings, autopsy reports, X-Rays, etc.) is ...more
Ana Mckee
Mar 28, 2009 Ana Mckee rated it really liked it
Read it for a book club. Tedious reading, detailed, author jumps around a lot and repeats himself as if he wants to make sure the reader gets it. It is about the conspiracy theory behind Pres. John F. Kennedy's assassination. The author combines lots of resources for his information and leaves no doubt that many people united to kill JFK. It was good to read just to settle once and for all that there was a conspiracy. Amazing.
Jan 15, 2009 Bill added it
Very provacative. It could happen again. Most people don't want to think about this.
Mar 04, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
JFK and the Unspeakable is one of the best books I have ever read. It is difficult to summarize it in a review, and the conclusions it reaches are overwhelming in their impact. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books about the JFK assassination, and the many conspiracy theories. I have read several of them, and I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what happened and why, but this book encapsulates everything better than any other I've read. JFK was clearly not a saint, and to some extent ...more
Dec 13, 2012 blakeR rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
First of all I have to say that I was somewhat reluctant to even add this book to my list, just because if you're even partly convinced by its contents you have to wonder if your name will end up on some sort of list just by talking about it. Of course just the fact that I purchased it would probably already have earned me a place on such a list, so what the hell. . .

I've read many accounts of this event and from pretty much the very beginning have been convinced that the official story doesn't
Mar 17, 2010 John rated it it was amazing
This book is a well-written account of the events and circumstances that are likely at the heart of the JFK assassination. Shocked at how closely the world had come to the disaster of nuclear annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis Kennedy escalated his efforts to reach out to both the Soviet Union and Cuba with the hopes of ratcheting down the cold war tensions and ultimately moving toward world peace. This put him increasingly at odds with his own government, particularly the Joint Chiefs ...more
Jul 29, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing
This sounds like just one more conspiracy theory book, but it's not. The distinguished historian, theologian, and antinuclear activist James Douglass has kept both feet solidly on the ground in this investigation. Beginning with thoughts by Thomas Merton (this work was long suppressed) and others -- as well as documentation that has either not been available or has not been assembled in the years since the Warren Report -- he makes sense of many otherwise unreconciled facts. For a truly jarring ...more
Aug 13, 2009 Doug rated it really liked it
Many people have reviewed this book in detail, so I will not. It is comprehensive, and thoroughly researched and referenced. If you have a problem with the view that things in our government and society are not what they appear to be on the surface, then don't read this book. I have never believed the official version of JFK's death, so for me this book was very interesting, and filled in lots of history during a time period when I was too young to care about what was going on in the world.
Jul 31, 2013 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book is remarkable... and so thoroughly researched and referenced that it cannot credibly be dismissed. Anyone who reads 20th century history should consider this a "must-read". For that matter, so should anyone who thinks they understand the events leading to Kennedy's death, or who thinks they understand the relationship between the intelligence agencies and the rest of government.
May 01, 2010 Jana rated it it was amazing
I didn't get to finish this book and I know I must. It grabbed me so hard while I was reading it that I was late for work more than once.

I am going to have to get another copy and finish it.
Terrifying, eye-opening, intriguing and nerve wracking all at once.
Heather Smith
Jan 21, 2013 Heather Smith rated it it was amazing
Douglass argues the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the superpowers to the brink of a nuclear war, profoundly changed JFK. During the emergency, JFK's hawkish cabinet and Pentagon officials pressured him to attack Cuba. Had he done so, we have since learned, Russian soldiers in Cuba possessed 130 Soviet nuclear-armed missiles with which they could have annihilated the US. Kennedy's restraint in the face of his advisors' hot-headed, maniacal demands for war with the USSR saved the world from ...more
Joseph Green
Aug 29, 2011 Joseph Green rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jfk
If you only read one book about JFK, this is it.
Jul 23, 2012 Elliott rated it it was amazing
The easiest solution is most often the correct one, is something of a motto for myself, nor do I believe in conspiracy theories, or any of the paranoid thinking that goes along with them. I consider myself an academic, a firm believer in the Truth-with a capital T. I feel it necessary for me to state my own beliefs in regards to this book, because I believe this book. Let me explain: most conspiracy theories are incredibly lazy-they place emphasis on one source usually, sometimes two, but seldom ...more
Dec 17, 2011 Ron rated it it was amazing
Douglass is not a historian but he has done his research. I doubt anyone really thinks that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK - or anyway they don't think he was a "lone assassin". Douglass makes the case that Oswald was the "patsy" set up by the National Security State (CIA, Military/Industrial Complex, Military) who, at the time, were intent on winning the Cold War by turning it hot preemptively. They are still interested in keeping the power that they (industrial/financial/corporate) have amassed ...more
Candace Talmadge
Nov 21, 2009 Candace Talmadge rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
This is one of the better books about the murder of President John F. Kennedy. It offers a spiritual perspective that most other books do not address directly. And that is how the cover-up and allowing Kennedy's killers to get away with their evil deed continues to corrode the soul of this nation. (I stopped believing anything the government said the day I learned that the Warren Commission pinned the entire blame on Lee Harvey Oswald.) I have read only a small sample of the huge list of books a ...more
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Enso Book Club: possible books to read 1 5 Oct 07, 2012 11:56AM  
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. 1 11 Aug 27, 2012 06:37AM  
  • Deep Politics and the Death of JFK
  • JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy
  • Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy
  • Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK?
  • Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put it in the White House & What Their Influence Means for America
  • On the Trail of the Assassins
  • The Last Investigation
  • Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination
  • Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace
  • Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years
  • Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy
  • Dr. Mary's Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics
  • High Treason: The Assassination of JFK & the Case for Conspiracy
  • Best Evidence
  • Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination
  • A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments
  • The Kennedy Conspiracy
  • A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror

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“If we go as far as we can into the darkness, regardless of the consequences, I believe a midnight truth will free us from our bondage to violence and bring us to the light of peace.” 7 likes
“These brass hats have one great advantage in their favor. If we listen to them, and do what they want us to do, none of us will be alive later to tell them that they were wrong.” 4 likes
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