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Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace

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Winner – 2012 Hollywood Book Festival for General Non-Fiction

Honorable Mention – 2012 New England Book Festival for General Non-Fiction

Honorable Mention - 2012 London Book Festival for General Non-Fiction

Who really murdered Mary Pinchot Meyer in the fall of 1964? Why was there a mad rush by CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton to locate and confiscate her diary? What in that diary was so explosive? Had Mary Meyer finally put together the intricate pieces of a plan to assassinate her lover, President Kennedy, with the trail ultimately leading to the CIA? And was it mere coincidence that Mary was killed less than three weeks after the release of the Warren Commission report?

These are the questions that author Peter Janney finally answers in a way that no one else ever has. In doing so, he may well have solved Washington’s most famous unsolved murder. Based on years of painstaking research and interviews, much of it revealed here for the first time, the author traces the key events and influences in the life of Mary Pinchot Meyer, including her first meeting with Jack Kennedy at the Choate School in 1936; her explorations with psychedelic drugs; her relationship with Timothy Leary; and finally how she supported the president as he turned away from the Cold War toward the pursuit of world peace. As we approach the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination—and Mary Meyer’s—Mary’s Mosaic adds to our understanding of why both took place. 

576 pages, Hardcover

First published December 1, 2009

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Peter Janney

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 140 reviews
Profile Image for Louise.
1,649 reviews290 followers
March 10, 2017
This book was written with a lot of passion by a boyhood friend of Mary Pinchot Meyer's middle son. The author remembers her warmth as they both grieved for that boy when he was killed by a car and the coldness of his own father who, he later learns, had a small, but necessary role in the cover up of this former neighbor's assassination.

I've been waiting for this book for 20+ years, or whenever it was that I learned of this death and its ramifications. While it is a year old, I just saw it in our public library. It apparently had no fanfare, made no best lists for 2012, nor found its way to any Goodreads lists. Skyhorse is not a major publisher. This says to me, after all this time, information on this dark episode must still be a target of suppression. In the end, Janney alludes to over 100 mysterious deaths of journalists (two specifically working on MPM) and others, like Mary Pinchot Meyer herself, likely to have knowledge of what happened in Dallas.

As presented by Peter Janney, the Meyer Assassination is the Rosetta Stone for Kennedy's. Nowhere have I seen the motive so keenly drawn. Nowhere have I seen such good portraits of the CIA leadership. Janney shows how the CIA was operating independently and unaccountably. Mary Pinchot Meyer's husband ran Operation Mockingbird which had 3000 propagandists whose job was to present the CIA point of view and plant it in media outlets as news. The agency, de facto, set foreign policy by toppling governments around the globe. When it did not like the direction JFK was taking the country, it had no qualms about a US regime change.

Janney has a episode that links Lyndon Johnson to foreknowledge of the JFK assassination, but I'm not sold. I see Johnson as a beneficiary of the assassination, but not part of it. I agree that his Vietnam escalation was due listening to the wrong people, but not why he listened. My take is that Johnson knew so little on foreign policy he deferred to those whom he considered experts.

Mary knew, through her ex-husband, the inner workings of CIA and its key personnel. She knew the Warren Commission Report was a cover up. She had contacts, standing and nothing to lose but her life in pursuing the truth, which she had started to do. She was dangerous to have around.

There are a number of surprises, the first being the involvement of Ben Bradlee of the "Washington Post" and Watergate fame and the last being the final days of James Angleton. Bradlee is particularly surprising because his paper broke the Watergate scandal. I've always felt the burglars were looking for evidence of CIA (and their own personal) involvement in the JFK assassination which they believed the Democratic Committee had in its possession.

The portions on Bobby Kennedy suggest more work is needed on his assassination. You can see how dangerous he would have been to the prime movers at the CIA.

The author was a bit wordy, but the work was thorough. The last two chapters, on "How it Went Down" were page turners.

This book should have more media attention and should be more widely read.
Profile Image for Lee Mandel.
Author 4 books18 followers
August 7, 2012
This is an excellent work that reads like a fictional murder mystery. What sets "Mary's Mosaic" apart from other books that analyze the JFK assassination is that the author is the son of a prominent CIA offical who was involved in the coverup of Mary Pinchot Meyer's murder. The evidence that he presents linking the murder to her knowledge of the JFK assassination is most compelling. Like Mark Lane, Peter Janney lays the responsibility for the JFK assassination clearly on the doorstep of the CIA and he provides much damning evidence to support his conclusion. Having read many of the other books about the JFK murder, I would rate this as one of the best of the bunch. I had a hard time putting it down.
Profile Image for Duncan Berry.
42 reviews26 followers
May 10, 2012
This note was written as a progress report, but I'm posting it as my review — perhaps to be edited and augmented at a later date.

Some thoughts, though, in lieu of a more sustained effort.

(1) The text suffers from very poor style editing: the sheer number of redundant quotations, repetitions and recursive references is not only tiresome but an agency of friction to the telling of the story.

(2) The first half of the book needed to be sawed in half. The endless biographical details of too many characters that, in the end, have almost nothing to do with the central thrust of the action and impact of the author's insights contribute almost nothing.

(3) The author is dreadfully in love with both his ostensive subject, Mary Pinchot Meyer, as well as JFK. The adolescent fawning becomes almost wholly indigestible after a few dozen pages. It's not that I have a problem with the the author's politics; it's that the thinking is so manifestly uncritical that one can't help but begin to harbor doubts about simple inferential gaps, not to mention the real stretches that become increasingly part of the narrative logic as the book unfolds.

(4) Then there's the business of basing an entire 464-page book on, basically, hearsay at best — that is, interviews conducted ex post facto. When he wades even further into the water of relying on transcripts of interviews conducted by third parties (i.e., the Leo Damore cache), then the business of scholarly accuracy is pretty much over (see note below).

(5) Janney builds an acid trip-based, consciousness expansion argument as the motive behind of JFK's apparent drift into the rhetoric and orientation toward peace, detente and the general redirection of American foreign policy that Janney claims got him and Mary Meyer assassinated. Honestly, this super-weak tissue of circumstantial "evidence" (lol) should have been handled not as the main armature of the argument, but maybe as window dressing for the far more exhaustive and analytical examination of this line of reasoning provided by James Douglass in his JFK and the Unspeakable (2010). Maybe, if he actually had a copy of the Meyer diary in his hand which he could quote from and illustrate, perhaps then some of these "reveries" would be in place. As it is, the creation of a rickety tower of unsubstantiated inferences is beyond the pale of clear reasoning, simple logic and believability.

(6) As a side note, here, I have to confess a personal aversion to the a coy naiveté in play throughout the text: the notion of adults, including the POTUS, indulging in pot smoking and acid dropping is treated as a noble, "consciousness expanding" exercise while cigarette smoking and drinking are represented as deeply immoral and destructive. Seriously? The pie-eyed optimism on the one hand and the obtuse moralism on the other reveal an unpleasant mental habit of the author to indulge endlessly the people he admires, and to excoriate those he abhors. It's trivial, but it plays into the larger moral structure of the narrative, and its unintentional pettiness.

(7) The whole is riddled with a maddening lack of understanding how to deploy a scholarly apparatus— for instance, it is preposterous to use two simultaneous forms of numerated footnotes, one referring to endnotes and one to footnotes. Infuriating! Also, someone would have benefited from 20 minutes with the Chicago Manual of Style on how to handle multiple references to the same source. A tiresome and flagrant indication of the kind of sentimental thinking pointed out above.

(8) Again, there are far too many inferential leaps. For example, Angleton's two trips to Mary's studio can be interpreted in several ways. The possibility that there are other explanations and other characters in play does not seem to have occurred to the author.

(9) On the positive side: the way Janney handles the realization of his father's participation was shatteringly beautiful.

(10) The way Janney describes the ethos of a "company" family during the Cold War is exquisite. Its personal impact on his family and others was very deftly treated.

(11) The final chapter two chapters pay off the nearly 275-page investment quite handsomely. Again, in the interest of the reader's experience, this should have occurred much earlier.

(12) While there is a certain therapeutic quality to the entire exercise, it does shade over too frequently into a personal and somewhat self-indulgent display of pathos. It is understandable, and I was deeply moved (and frustrated) by the opening pages of the book. But the larger socio-political truths are more worthy of the reader's time.

(13) Finally, there is a larger story about the descent of the Republic into the current laughable political shadow-theater that is only hinted at here. The vaunting meddlesomeness of Wilson and FDR's power politics, particularly the latter, set the stage for the kind of monstrous political grotesqueries described here. This larger poetic truth is what I would have appreciated... more of the larger Truth and less of the personal (small-t) truth.
Profile Image for Mal Warwick.
Author 29 books404 followers
April 6, 2017
Astonishing but true

If, like me, you were alive and aware on November 22, 1963, you’ve never forgotten the day. It was mid-afternoon in New York, and I had just arrived for a graduate course in international relations at Columbia University, only to discover a small number of my classmates aimlessly milling around, most of them in tears, some hugging one another, as one informed me that President Kennedy had been shot. The class had been canceled, and I wandered away with a classmate to learn more from TV news at his nearby apartment. He and I remained glued to that small, black-and-white screen the rest of the day and the following. The unthinkable had happened, and it seemed that nothing would ever be the same.

In the months that followed, as Lyndon Johnson claimed the Presidency for his own, the war in Vietnam quickly heated up, and the Warren Commission hastily assembled, eventually reporting that Lee Harvey Oswald had single-handedly assassinated the President, as all the news reports had suggested. However, almost since the day of Kennedy’s murder, conspiracy theories began to swirl about, those from the Right finding connections with Fidel Castro and the KGB, those from the Left claiming the participation of the CIA, the Mafia, the Pentagon, Big Business, and sometimes Lyndon Johnson. However, like many Americans, I paid little attention to all the speculation. Leave it to the Commission, I thought. They’ll find out the truth. For years afterward the books came out, spinning elaborate tales of skullduggery in high places. I ignored them all.

Now I know better. The Warren Commission was a sham. The CIA did it. Probably not alone, but the CIA was at the center of the plot. And if you doubt those statements, I suggest you read Mary’s Mosaic, by Peter Janney. It’s not only a treasure-house of shocking revelations about recent U.S. history — many of which have come to light only in recent years — but a story far too strange for fiction.

The central subject of this extraordinary book is the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer in October 1964. Mary was the niece of Gifford Pinchot, a Teddy Roosevelt confidante, the first head of the U.S. Forest Service, and a former two-term Governor of Pennsylvania. Previously a journalist, she was a practicing artist in middle age in the early 1960s and prominent in Washington social circles. She was also so striking that practically everyone who spoke about her commented on her beauty.

What the public knew at the time was merely that Washington D.C. police had arrested a terrified young African-American man whom two witnesses identified as standing over her body as it lay on the tow-path by the Potomac Canal in Georgetown. When the alleged killer finally went to trial in 1965, he was acquitted as the result of unusually skillful courtroom work by his pro bono attorney.

Later — in many cases, decades later — it became clear that the man arrested for the killing had been elaborately framed. Here are just some of the salient facts that prove Mary Pinchot Meyer was murdered by the CIA:

The first witness testified at the trial that the man standing over Mary’s body was stocky, between 5’8″ and 5’10″ in height, and weighing approximately 185 pounds. The accused stood barely 5’3-1/2″ and weighed 130. In other words, he was a scrawny little guy. There were many other holes in the police’s case against the man, but it was this discrepancy that seemed to have won the day with the jury.

Mary was murdered around 12:30, her body discovered soon afterward, and declared dead at 2:05. However, her identity wasn’t known until after 6:00 pm, when her brother-in-law, Ben Bradlee (yes, the managing editor of the Washington Post), went to the morgue to confirm it was she. Meanwhile, Mary’s ex-husband, Cord Meyer, a senior officer at the CIA, received a call in New York at around 2:30 that Mary had been killed. The caller was a fellow senior CIA official who also phoned the news around the same time to James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s head of counterintelligence. In other words, top officials at the CIA learned that Mary was dead hours before anyone else, even the police, knew who she was.

The night of Mary’s murder, Bradlee and Angleton entered Mary’s art studio and carried away her diary and a number of other personal papers, which Angleton kept.

Why all the skullduggery surrounding the murder of a Washington socialite, you might ask? Well, it transpired that:

(a) Mary had been sleeping with JFK for several years, and the two were in love with each other. JFK was a sex addict and continued having sex with an untold number of other women, but Mary was special. By 1963 he was planning to divorce Jackie on leaving the White House and marrying Mary. His brother Bobby and his closest male friend, and Mary’s closest friends, all were aware of these facts.

(b) Mary came from a family of suffragists and pacifists and was unalterably opposed to war. She was also a free spirit who had sought out Timothy Leary at Harvard to experience LSD, which she introduced to the President. Under Mary’s influence and the influence of the drug, and in the wake of the nearly catastrophic Cuban Missile Crisis that came so close to incinerating the planet, JFK resolved to sidestep the Pentagon and the CIA and seek world peace in a serious way. In fact, he was already engaged in secret negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev about a test ban treaty and other confidence-building measures that, they agreed in writing, would lead to an end to the Cold War. He had also dispatched a personal envoy to Cuba who was meeting with Fidel Castro about similar measures on the day he was murdered. And, weeks before his assassination, JFK issued an executive order to bring back 1,000 troops from Vietnam in 1963 and all the rest by 1965. All this has been documented.

(c) When President Kennedy was murdered, Mary was convinced that the CIA was involved. She was close to many prominent CIA officials, including her ex-husband and Jim Angleton, who had been the godfather of their three sons. She had been making the rounds in Washington and elsewhere, asking questions about the assassination and making no secret of her suspicions. She was determined to learn the truth and make it widely known.

(d) Mary had been a life-long diarist who wrestled with her most intimate thoughts in writing. Her diary, which has never publicly surfaced, was thought by all her friends as well as the CIA to contain revelations not just about JFK’s turn toward peace but about his murder as well. The few who had seen it confirmed those suspicions.

It’s difficult for anyone who didn’t experience that time in our history to appreciate the high stakes in politics at the top in Washington, D.C. then:

Early in Kennedy’s Presidency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spearheaded by a notoriously bellicose Air Force general named Curtis LeMay, presented a plan to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the USSR in June 1963. Kennedy disgustedly rejected the plan out of hand — and thereafter was deemed “dangerous” by the Chiefs and their allies in the CIA. For its part, the CIA essentially ignored orders from the White House from that time on.
Ever since 1953, when Allen Dulles was named Director of the CIA, the agency had been compiling an astonishing record of illegal behavior. The agency had overthrown the governments of at least six nations, not just Iran and Guatemala (which are so well known). CIA agents and contractors had attempted to assassinate a number of world leaders in addition to Fidel Castro, and the agency had undertaken extensive surveillance of U.S. citizens within the borders of the country. All this, too, has been well documented.
Following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, President Kennedy was incandescent with fury at the CIA, and they with him. Kennedy wanted to break the agency up into “a thousand little pieces” and scatter them about the government. He fired Director Allen Dulles and replaced him with an inexperienced outsider, effectively leaving the agency under the control of counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton and his inner circle, a handful of other wealthy sons of Yale, Princeton, and other Ivy League colleges who held high-ranking posts in the agency.

Given this set of facts, is it any wonder that the CIA would kill the President?

After reading Mary’s Mosaic, my mind is awash with a hundred other facts and factors, but I won’t reveal any more. Although the focus is on Mary Pinchot Meyer’s murder, the book contains extensive information, much of it revealed only within the last 12 or 13 years, about JFK’s assassination. It makes the case convincingly.

According to the book’s website, author “Peter Janney grew up in Washington, D.C. during the Cold War era of the 1950s and 1960s. His father Wistar Janney was a senior career CIA official. The Janney family was intimately involved with many of Washington’s social and political elite that included the family of Mary and Cord Meyer, as well as other high-ranking CIA officials such as Richard Helms, Jim Angleton, Tracy Barnes, Desmond FitzGerald, and William Colby.”
Profile Image for Sketchbook.
677 reviews218 followers
January 9, 2015
Once upon a time...the king of a mythical country decided to take a magic potion called LSD with a princess who believed in its powers. Members of the court found out. They feared the king's decisions and decided the king & princess must die...
Profile Image for KOMET.
1,088 reviews128 followers
March 26, 2019
In "MARY'S MOSAIC", Peter Janney shares with the reader his 30-year odyssey and carefully meticulous endeavor to determine whom were responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963 and the afternoon murder a year later on a public towpath in Washington DC of his close friend and lover Mary Pinchot Meyer.

At face value, one will wonder: Who was Mary Pinchot Meyer? Well, there was much more to Mary Pinchot Meyer than meets the eye. Indeed, like President Kennedy, she came from a privileged background and had met him when both were in their teens. They moved around in similar social circles for the following couple of decades. Mary Pinchot Meyer was a very smart, shrewd, attractive woman who knew her own mind -- and was unafraid to speak truth to power. But it wasn't until 1961 that President Kennedy and Mary Pinchot Meyer (by then divorced from Cord Meyer, a high-ranking CIA official) developed a closer, discreet relationship. "MARY'S MOSAIC" looks into Meyer's "explorations with psychedelic drugs" and the influence she wielded over President Kennedy in turning him away from a Cold War mindset "toward the pursuit of world peace."

"MARY'S MOSAIC" is a book that will challenge a reader's assumptions about the pervasive power and influence the CIA has exerted in the U.S. government since its creation in 1947, as well as what manner of democratic government we have in the U.S. I advise any reader to come to this book with an open mind, for its content is weighty, explosive, and revelatory.
Profile Image for Carlton Phelps.
426 reviews10 followers
August 13, 2021
This book is full of historical information, that I needed to take my time reading. It covers JFK's affair with Mary Pinchot Meyer. Also, according to Mary's information, they took LSD together. She even spent time with Timothy Leary.
She was married to one of the key people in the CIA and she knew too many things.
This is a conspiracy theory book that has a lot of research, and this makes the book a great read.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
922 reviews22 followers
May 4, 2013
It will be 50 years this November since JFK was killed, and the truth about the assassination has been trickling out ever since, despite the CIA's giant coverup and murder of many people who knew too much. I've read a lot of books about those events; this is one of the most credible and most shocking.

Mary Pinchot was a beautiful, captivating, and idealistic Vassar grad who strongly believed in and yearned for world peace. She became a journalist after her graduation. She met Cord Meyer, a brilliant Ivy-League vet who had lost an eye in WWII and who shared her ideals. Both were assigned to cover the opening ceremonies of the U.N., and they married quietly before they left for San Francisco. He was disillusioned by the conference and predicted accurately that the U.N. would accomplish little. He hoped for an academic appointment, but didn't get it, and instead allowed Allen Dulles to recruit him into the newly formed CIA.

Cord and Mary had three sons, Quentin, Michael, and Mark. Michael and the author were best friends as boys until Michael was killed after being struck by a car at age 9. The author's father, Wistar Janney, was also, like Cord Meyer, high-level CIA. Although Wistar never told his son CIA secrets, there were moments from his childhood that allowed him to connect the dots and put the pieces of the events described here into a shocking whole. He had admired and adored Mary Meyer and was horrified when he realized his own father had been involved in her murder.

Cord Meyer's idealism had not survived his work with the CIA. Mary was disillusioned and angry, and divorced him. He was furious, and his love for her turned to hate. By all accounts, he turned bitter and sometimes violently lost his temper.

Mary was one of JFK's women, but not just that. Their affair lasted for at least two years, and according to Kenny O'Donnell, one of JFK's closest friends and a member of the "Irish Mafia," he planned, after leaving office, to divorce Jackie and marry Mary. A number of people were concerned about the influence she had over the president. She had experimented with LSD, and asked Tim Leary to help her become a guide for others taking LSD trips. These included 8 of her closest women friends, several of them CIA wives, and eventually JFK himself. One of her women friends, probably Katherine Graham (publisher of the Washington Post) let the secret out.

Mary's sister, Tony, was married to Ben Bradlee, Managing Editor of the Washington Post. Janney alleges, with considerable documentation, that Bradlee was closely connected with the CIA top brass, especially the Counterintelligence section, led by James Jesus Angleton. After Mary put the pieces together regarding JFK's death, she angrily confronted her ex-husband and threatened to go public with the information she had. She was killed not long afterward while taking her daily walk along the Canal Towpath by the Potomac, in a perfectly professional CIA hit, complete with patsy. The patsy was tried and acquitted, thanks to excellent legal work by his attorney, but the case is still considered solved.

There is much more to this story, and it is told in great detail, complete with more than 150 pages of appendices, notes, bibliography and index. Writing it was an agonizing personal journey for Peter Janney, who is a clinical psychologist. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what really happened to JFK.

Profile Image for David Wayne.
Author 1 book16 followers
May 1, 2012

The Assassination of Mary Meyer: The framing of an innocent man and how it all relates to the JFK assassination

Consider that:

Mary Pinchot Meyer was assassinated, a short time after the assassination of her lover, President John F. Kennedy;

Unlike President Kennedy’s many affairs, his relationship with Mary Meyer was a very serious relationship;

Mary had been married for many years to a high-ranking CIA officer who was later named as being directly involved in the planning and execution of the assassination of John F. Kennedy;

The Warren Report had been publicly released just weeks prior to Mary’s murder and she was openly outraged at how it was such an obvious whitewash of the truth;

The CIA had pre-knowledge of Mary’s murder;

The CIA’s Counterintelligence Chief was found in Mary’s home, frantically searching for her diary;

The official version of what happened to Mary’s private diary was a pack of lies.

Sounds like a great movie, doesn’t it? Except that it all actually happened.

“Mary’s Mosaic” is one of the most dramatically compelling books to come out in a long time. It operates seamlessly- and at the exact same time- as Murder Thriller, Courtroom Drama, Spy Story and Historical Mystery. The author, Peter Janney, had a unique perspective as an insider growing up in the CIA spy circles of Washington, D.C. and he harnessed those unique connections to weave together the facts on one of the most interesting “cold cases” in history.

The book answers questions that are not only intriguing in themselves, but also of great historical importance.

Why was Mary Meyer’s romantic affair with President Kennedy such a serious relationship and unlike all of his other indiscretions?

How did President Kennedy make the personal transition from “war hawk” to man of peace?

Why is it not even possible that Mary’s accused murderer was actually guilty of the crime?

Why did the CIA’s COUNTERINTELLIGENCE CHIEF make a mad rush to grab Mary’s diary right after she was killed?

Mary Pinchot Meyer was a magnificently interesting woman— she was intelligent and beautiful and her charms captivated the attentions of President Kennedy. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the 1960s in general and the JFK assassination in particular. It’s an important work because it corrects the myth that has surrounded both the relationship between President Kennedy and Mary, as well as the true circumstances of her assassination. It also conveys, in a personal sense, how President Kennedy made the transformation from Cold War warrior to a leader who was extremely distrustful of both the Military and Intelligence establishments and knew the horrors that they were all-too-capable of performing.

Some revelations are established in the process: the author proves that the CIA had foreknowledge of Mary Meyer’s murder even BEFORE the police had identified her body.

The responsible party for the assassination of Mary Meyer is also revealed, but— like a great movie, don’t spoil it for anybody— just get this great book and enjoy it!
Profile Image for Pete daPixie.
1,505 reviews3 followers
September 10, 2014
For those readers who have been long on the trail of the JFK assassination, this book is somewhat unique. A 2012 publication, 'Mary's Mosaic' is a 'who-dunnit' that comes off the page like a fictional Stephen King murder mystery. For author Peter Janney, son of a CIA operative and personally knowledgeable of the Meyer family during childhood, the almost spiritual illumination of this dark and troubling shadow must have been a cathartic journey.
With distinct similarities to the JFK Dallas hit, Mary Pinchot Meyer was assassinated in the middle of the day in Washington DC on October 12th 1964. A patsy was set up to take the rap. It was another case closed. Christ! There was even the ubiquitous Nash Rambler on the scene.
It is a rare thing to find a book on my 'conspiracy schmiracy' shelf with so many twists, themes and seemingly irreconcilable intrigues. The Pinchot/Meyer/Janney/Kennedy backgrounds. The court trial of the accused Ray Crump Jr and his successful defence by Dovey Roundtree. Mary Meyer's links with Dr Timothy Leary and her 'trips' to the White House that may have further influenced JFK to move toward world peace in '63, while in the background the machinations of CIA's Angleton/Meyer/Janney, helped along by Ben Bradlee, who's lies provided the author with a key to unlock the mystery. A fascinating offshoot to the JFK case.
A fav with many folk on Goodreads it appears are quotations, and this book tops each chapter with some little gems.
'History would be an excellent thing, if only it were true.' --Leo Tolstoy
'A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.' --Edward Abbey
'It's not the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up.' --President Richard Nixon
'Think of the press as a giant keyboard on which the government can play.' --Joseph Goebbels
'There is a huge difference between patriotism and nationalism. Patriotism at the expense of another nation is as wicked as racism at the expense of another race. Let us resolve to be patriots always, nationalists never. Let us love our country, but pledge allegiance to the earth and to the flora and fauna and human life that it supports-one planet indivisible, with clean air, soil and water; with liberty, justice and peace for all.' --William Sloane Coffin
'All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. There is no "they." There is no "other." It is all one.' --Ram Dass
'He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.' --Martin Luther King Jr
'Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.' --Tiberius Claudius
'You believe in redemption, don't you?' --President John F. Kennedy
Profile Image for Pastor Greg.
188 reviews14 followers
June 23, 2020
In my opinion, this one is only for someone who is very familiar with the JFK assassination, the Warren Commission and the various theories (including conspiracy theories) involved. If this is your introduction to that world, you will probably feel a bit lost and out of place much of the time.

However, if you are familiar with the vast and ever-increasing information surrounding the terrible day of November 22, 1963 then you will be fascinated by this back story. It seems terrible to call the vicious murder of Mary Pinochet Meyer two days before her 44th birthday in 1964 a "back story" but that is the reality.

Based upon a very large amount of evidence and testimony, Mary was one of "JFK's women". And it would appear that she was the most important woman in his life, to the extent that many believe he would have divorced (or would have been divorced by) Jackie and would have been with Mary if he had lived beyond his term(s) in the White House. Sadly, that is what might have got Mary killed.

This isn't just some wild conspiracy theory (compounded with the overall JFK assassination conspiracy) written by one of the dozens of authors who had no connection to the story and wanted to either make a "splash" or make a BUCK. This is written by a man who was a family friend of the Meyers. A man whose father knew JFK and Mary Meyer well and was a CIA agent at the time of both murders, and who seems to have played a role in the whole event. Peter Janney knew Mary Meyer personally.

In other words, this is a book that attempts to untangle the web of deceit surrounding the JFK assassination AND the assassination of his lover who discovered information about his murder that could have exposed the real killers. If you believe the case made in this book, Mary Meyer was assassinated.

This author documents his information very well and is very clear about the matter when he is presenting information that cannot be corroborated or is his opinion or is just a possibility based upon what we know. I came away no less convinced that the Warren Commission Report is about as true as any Grimm Fairy Tale. I also came away better informed.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to those who fit the mold described in my first paragraph.
Profile Image for Jim McGowan.
12 reviews9 followers
November 19, 2015
Excellent. Full of remarkable details of this wretched period in our nation's history. We, as a nation must know the truth so as to regain our footing and return to a truly worthy path. The author's father was in the highest echelons of the CIA. His best friend as a youth was Mary's son whose godfather was James Jesus Angleton, Director of Counterintelligence for the CIA, Israeli lionized participant in the JFK murder / coup d'etat / cover-up and great friend of Ben Gurion's Israel and Angleton was honored by Israel with public statue. Mary Pinchot Meyer was among JFK's closest confidantes, Vassar educated she came from a very prominent family - her grandfather was formerly governor of Pennsylvania and close to President Theodore Roosevelt. She was quite beautiful. She was murdered in broad daylight along the Chesapeake Canal towpath just below Georgetown University by a CIA special kill team. Ben Bradlee*, Washington Post managing editor and "hero" of Watergate (played by Jason Robards in All the President's Men) is Mary's brother-in-law. We learn that Ben was in fact a CIA asset and likely complicit in her murder. Mary did not believe the Warren Report which had just come out ... she had the knowledge, the social contacts and the ability to blow the "lone gunmen" and Jack Rubenstein (aka Ruby)sanctioned/ordered murder of LHO - cover story sky high. Why she was brutally murdered in cold blood. Peter Janney, the author believes he has found the killer and wishes to bring this murder to justice. There is no statute of limitations for murder. The book is available for easy download via Amazon ... includes pictures. *Ole Benny as it turns out is no real friend of JFK or America. As he was the step and fetch of St. Katherine Graham ... the xxxxxxxx daughter of a Federal Reserve CHAIRMAN pretty much explains her REAL position on the murders of JFK, RFK and if she was alive then JFK Jr. (John John)... Marina Oswald has it right ... no understanding of the murder and coup d'etat of JFK is complete without understanding the Federal Reserve role ... JFK was moving steadily but surely to depose this entirely private accountable to NO ONE but the owners international banking cartel (cartel: fancy word for CRIME SYNDICATE)deceptively, maliciously known as the Federal Reserve as federal as Federal Express ... arch Zionist Katherine Graham was pivotal to making sure regular Americans NEVER understood the true nature of the murder - coup d'etat of John F. Kennedy. Exactly the reason the lets be real now Jewish owned/controlled Federal Reserve must never be connected in the American mind to this heinous crime of murdering the President of the United States and the Washington Post complicit/instrumental in covering up this crime by deliberate and sustained distraction away from real truth ... the "American" press ... what fucking liars and haters of the American people they indeed are by their actions. Shame on Ben Bradlee shame on Katherine Graham shame on those born in America but have NO real loyalty to their country but only to their tribe.

Profile Image for Susan Albert.
Author 129 books2,227 followers
November 13, 2019
Caveat: This is the first JFK conspiracy theory book I've read (and there appear to be a great many of them), so I'm learning as I go. It's hard to assess the strength of the evidence reported in this book without consulting the many sources. But it's fair to say that the author is in the right place (the son of a CIA family, personal connections with all the significant players, decades spent passionately pursuing the story) to tell it. It's persuasive, to say the least.

This is a true crime about the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, the last (and apparently the longest and most significant) of John Kennedy's many sexual affairs. The story: Mary (the ex-wife of a prominent CIA official) was murdered by the CIA because she knew who killed JFK and why, and was determined to find the best way to tell the world what she knew. So the book is also--and most importantly--about the murder of JFK (who, how, why) and the coverup.

There are plenty of issues with the story-telling. This edition (the third) bears traces of the earlier editions: there are redundancies, unnecessary digressions, narrative meanderings, and endless appendices. The notes (both footnotes and endnotes?) need a complete reorganization. The style is clunky.

But these are fairly superficial editing issues, and a patient, charitable reader will be rewarded with a memorable reading experience. The writer has made this his life's work. The story itself is hugely compelling. In its totality (if not in every detail), it rings true. It is frightening--and all the more terrifying because it feels very real. If it didn't happen this way, it could have.

If you're interested in the murder of JFK and have the time and patience to wrestle with a difficult and unsettling book, I recommend this one. It will open a troubling view onto one of the most tragic episodes of our national life, and perhaps give you an unsettling context for some of the intelligence-community issues of our own day.
144 reviews13 followers
May 21, 2012
“Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace” by Peter Janney re-explores that hidden time in history—during JFK’s Camelot years and after his assassination, when the country what trying to come to terms with what happened.

The author, the son of a high-level CIA official and the former friend of Mary Meyer’s son, was only a child at the time the events unfolded, but was traumatized enough by them to pay attention when in the early seventies, the National Enquirer did a story revealing that Meyer was one of JFK’s lovers and that they shared a very close relationship. The author’s interest in the revelations ultimately resulted in this book—which, while focusing on solving the mystery of what happened to Mary, tried to solve the mystery of what happened to JFK to cause his assassination.

The book starts off with Mary’s murder, which happened barely a year after JFK’s murder. Meyer is taking her daily walk back from her studio when a mysterious man assaults her and murders her. The book then focuses on the ensuing court trial, when the wrong man gets charged for Mary’s murder and prosecution does everything possible to put him to jail and shut the case closed. The book then spirals backwards—into Meyer’s early years, her meeting with JFK, her marriage to CIA official Cord Meyer, her divorce, and ultimately her relationship with JFK and the perils of politics surrounding them.

Janney manages to meticulously document Mary’s life and all of the discrepancies surrounding her story, while revealing betrayals, the clashing of political agendas, and power struggles of JFK’s White House years in all of their full glory. The book is compromised of three parts: the first one focusing on Mary’s murder and the ensuing court trial, the second part focusing on Mary’s early life and her gradual relationship with JFK, and the third part dissecting JFK’s assassination and the afterwards. Even if a little too dense in parts, the author paints a pretty complete picture. As someone who likes who is interested in this time period and likes to read mysteries, I found this to be an interesting read.
Profile Image for Dale Stonehouse.
435 reviews7 followers
September 4, 2012
For those who have immersed themselves in Kennedy assassination and related histories, Mary's Mosaic is another step toward ultimate truth. The author has the advantage of having known many of the characters involved, including being a childhood friend of one of Mary and Cord Meyer's sons, killed when hit by a car on a busy DC highway. As an advocate for peace, Mary Pinchot Meyer helped turn President Kennedy away from the Cold War and toward cooperation with the Soviets and Fidel Castro's Cuba. As such they both became enemies of any power brokers who stood to lose money in the absence of a war economy, and thus targets for elimination. The emotional involvement of the author along with dogged determination to get the truth about things which were puzzling to a child give this book a bite others can only aspire to. There is little animosity toward the bad guys, more so curiosity about why they were the way they were. An underlying sadness is never far away, and the connections of family and politics are almost shocking in their entanglements. If you love peace you cannot dislike Mary Meyer and war-lovers will love to hate her.
Profile Image for Don.
67 reviews5 followers
May 1, 2017
I was literally captivated reading this book, as it is a poignant, passionate and methodically researched account of the assassination of Mary Pinchot Meyer. The author, Peter Janney, was quite familiar with Mary, as she was the mother of Janney's childhood friend, who was tragically killed as a young boy.

Janney provides a unique view of Mary's murder, as his father was a CIA operative, and had involvement with the conspiracy to cover up the crime.

This is a very sad story, and demonstrates the reach of the tentacles of the rouge elements of the C.I.A., most notably by the late James Jesus Angleton, one of the most despicable and reprehensible figures in the Twentieth Century, who served as the Chief of Counterintelligence Staff for Allan Dulles' CIA.
98 reviews1 follower
August 25, 2012
The last ten years or so of Kennedy Assassination books have had some winners and far too many losers. This is one of the later. Yes it was heavily researched and yes it does have a conclusion but by the time I was done reading 400 pages I no longer cared. Dry and lifeless prose would be a complement. Mary the murdered woman was rumored to have kept a diary of her time with JFK and her thoughts about the cover up of his assassination. The reader is teased into thinking we will actually get to read it....no such luck. I was hoping for so much more. No suspense, no drama.
Profile Image for Alexander.
200 reviews1 follower
October 29, 2017
Well that was amazing

While reading this book, I also watched JFK, which I hadn't seen before. I'm left with this uncomfortable feeling of not being sure of anything anymore.
12 reviews
February 7, 2022
The book is loooong and redundant, but it is written well, and it has kept my interest. I am convinced that the author's conclusion is correct.
Profile Image for Melissa T.
204 reviews
September 30, 2012
Overall, I believe Janney presents a strong case for his explanation of Mary Meyer's death, and the events precipitating it. Janney has a personal connection to the family, and it is quickly obvious the admiration and affection he feels for the mother of one of his childhood friends. However, even though this affection may encourage him to tout her qualities excessively; I did not feel his judgment was clouded regarding the facts and logical conclusions he drew from his rather exhaustive research.

Certainly, he is emotionally connected to the story, but it is that emotion, that hunger for the truth, that propels him to seek. I did not feel he simply wanted to write a "Camelot" tale, he genuinely sought to uncover the truth surrounding a senseless murder whose unsatisfactory explanation had plagued him for years. And, to his credit, he was not deterred by the potentially gut-wrenching truth he could uncover. On the contrary, as he discovers painful truths about his own father, he manages to accept them unflinchingly, arduous though they may be, and he presents them as relevant collaboration to the facts he has uncovered.

My only real difficulty arose from the outline of the book itself, and some elements of the writing style. Janney jumps around a bit, repeating key details again and again, and weakening their impact by doing so. Also he subscribes to the "more on that later..." tactic of suspense building, which can be irritating and unnecessarily feeds the reiteration of findings too. Also, I don't care for foul language, and there are half a dozen instances of this. Not enough to stop reading, but it is there.

However, what he does masterfully well is elucidate the frightening power of the Cold War era CIA and 1950's and 60's governmental intrigue. The manipulation of innocent people, the perverting of basic Constitutional rights, the oh-so-ironic transition from a capitalistic government with checks and balances to a much more socialistic and controlling government, the very governmental system that the key corrupters were pledged to fight against!

We may never know the whole truth behind Mary Meyer's or JKF's death. But we'd have to be either very ignorant or very foolish to believe the "official" explanations offered. Both murders reek of governmental involvement and CIA puppet masters. It's small comfort that the rancid governmental corruption eventually poisoned itself, its reign of terror finally terminated.

I believe Janney has extracted a great deal of truth from his research, personal feelings and occasionally less-than-credible sources aside. He refused to give up, he probed and examined and ultimately found, if not all of the truth, enough to make sense of one noxious chapter in the still mysterious and mesmerizing history of an era. He offered to both a woman he loved and a president he respected, the only homage he could, his unflinching explanation of their assassinations. I only hope, for Janney's sake, that the truth set him free.
Profile Image for Matthew.
59 reviews19 followers
April 1, 2013
Peter Janney's research into the death of JFK lover Mary Pinchot Meyer is both touching and creepy in a synchronicity kind of way as Mr. Janney adored Ms. Meyer as a childhood friend of her sons and his ultimate thesis is that his own father, a mid-level CIA executive, was the key to understanding the intelligence agency's role in Ms. Meyer's death. If you don't know about Meyer, you will be be amazed by Janney's telling of her role in turning the Cold Warrior JFK towards peace and her idealistic but naive determination that may have hastened her lover's death and her own as well. Janney is a good storyteller and this book is certainly a cathartic and necessary telling of his own brush with destiny in a time of betrayal and dark motives.
Profile Image for Robert Clancy.
112 reviews3 followers
July 11, 2016
Wow. After reading Mary's Mosaic, I'm 95% convinced that she, and her lover, JFK, were killed by the CIA. Specifically, James Jesus Angleton and his counter-ops unit. Of course, it went down with some high placed military, State Dept., senators and LBJ on board, too. Very well researched. Many a bit too much details, however. And Janney's whole argument would have been better summarized, listing all the "facts" pointing to the CIA. He tends to go off the grid sometimes too much in tangents about William Mitchell, CIA assassin, Det. Shimon, other authors, etc. He needed a better editor to streamline a ton of research.
111 reviews
March 4, 2017
Goodreads winner. After decades of well-documented research regarding the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer "Mary's Mosaic" came to fruition. This third edition of "Mary's Mosaic " was updated with a final chapter that includes information that came to light for the author after a couple more years of inquiries after the original publication.
Mary Pinchot Meyer was President Kennedy's mistress and a former CIA wife. She had pieced together the truth behind the assassination of President Kennedy and wanted justice. She knew too much and paid with her life a year later.
This is her story...the story of her murder and its coverup.
2 reviews
November 16, 2018
I have ready many books on JFK assassination ,but this one ties in all the loose ends for me. Excellent read.

I couldn't put the book down. Mary Mosaic : Brings Mary to life and how she influenced a powerful man who had the life of millions of Americans in his hands. What would life be today if JFK survived. And if she hadn't influence his decisions. Would we still be alive ? I feel like I've met Mary and a sense of lost to our humanity. What more could she have accomplish if she'd lived out her full life! Thank you Mr Janney you didn't hold anything back. Refreshing,honest and forthcoming!
85 reviews
January 28, 2019
It was as if this book was written by two authors. One was the psychophantic, verbose, melodramatic, bore crying for an editor. He wrote about three-fourths of the book. I was ready to put the book down several times. He was ready to nominate a dope smoking slut for sainthood. He was so enamored with nearly every blue-blood mentioned that it went from tedious to sickening. For the quarter, he was factual but maintained a storyline. This is an important story and it is unfortunate that a more professionally objective author (or editor) couldn't tell it.
Profile Image for Brent.
69 reviews
February 7, 2013
While this book is a real-life murder mystery, it's also another puzzle piece in the never-ending mystery surrounding the Kennedy assassination(unless, of course, you accept the Warren Commission's conclusion.) Mary Meyer was an "intimate" friend of JFK, and it's asserted by the author that her influence on Kennedy was one of the key reasons he was killed. Speculative, intriguing-- but probable? You'll have to read the book to decide.
233 reviews
March 14, 2013
Good book about the killing of JFK's last mistress, Mary's Mosaic…convincing arguments that the CIA was in on it, written by the son of a CIA man and a friend of Mary's family - whose husband incidentally was also a CIA agent. The most interesting thing in the book was that James Jesus Angleton supposedly said that the movie Executive Action was an accurate account of JFK's assassination. Check it out… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbF5hi...
Profile Image for False.
2,262 reviews10 followers
March 21, 2013
I've read other...better...books on this topic. The prose reads purple and I half wonder if it's because the author's family was involved in some degree with agencies and officials of the time. I would recommend you look elsewhere if you wish to read on this subject, but if you want to read all then certainly you would add this to the list.
October 20, 2013
Peter Janney, my heart goes out to you!

The book is fantastically written and quite personal.

Peter Janney, I hope, in some ways, after writing Mary's Mosaic, that a burden has been lifted from your shoulders. I'm sure this was not an easy task.

Much love from Canada. Best book that I've read in 2013.
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