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On the Trail of the Assassins

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,221 Ratings  ·  79 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. DouglassHigh Treason by Robert J. GrodenOn the Trail of the Assassins by Jim GarrisonPlausible Denial by Mark LaneRush to Judgment by Mark Lane
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Andrew Breslin
Feb 01, 2015 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
Sep 09, 2011 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
Dec 04, 2012 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.
Dec 29, 2010 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
Kyle J. Merriam
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books in American history. Garrison makes his case as to who killed JFK.
Manoj Patel
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." - excerpt of John F. Kennedy's speech at American University - June 1963.

Woodrow Wilson once said: "If you want to make enemies, try to change something"

Jim Garrison's book is an essential insight into JFK's assassina
David Renderos
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Este libro relata y refuta muchas de las teorías generadas durante el asesinato de John F. Kennedy . Recomiendo bastante este libro porque muestra una versión más realista en cuento lo que sucedió el 22 de noviembre de 1963.
Chris Campion
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't read this book fast enough. Quite a page-turner. While I'm skeptical on a lot of conspiracies, I have to admit that Garrison (a New Orleans DA at the time of the investigation and later a judge for the Court of Common Appeals) writes a pretty compelling argument that Oswald (although contradicting The Warren Commission) was not the shooter and that there were possibly other shooters (particularly in other buildings and behind the grassy knoll). Along with this is the plausibility that ...more
Jan 05, 2008 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
Erik Graff
Jan 08, 2015 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
Pam White
Feb 16, 2014 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
Mar 17, 2014 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.
Apr 28, 2009 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 rated it liked it
Hot on some trails, but the presidents brain is still missing.
Roan Proudley
Jul 04, 2013 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.
Jul 30, 2011 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.
Kealan O'ver
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely terrifying and compelling version of the real culprits behind one of the greatest crimes ever committed and the awful repercussions it had for the last 50 years of world history.
Dec 10, 2010 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
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this book. No way Oswald did it.
Bijan Fallahi
Nov 14, 2010 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.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
good detail; logical; it really reels you in & makes you think
Nate Briggs
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a crackpot - that's my enduring impression. The media portrayed the pursuit of Clay Shaw as a desperate lunge for free publicity - but, when Garrison presents his case, it does all hang together very well. It's Garrison's matter-of-factness that draw much of the opposition, I think. The Warren Commission decided on a narrative, and then just trimmed the facts to fit. It wasn't the truth - although it's hard to see how the truth will ever be known. This is an easy read, and very convincing. B ...more
Nov 09, 2014 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
Oct 14, 2010 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
Nov 09, 2013 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
Martina Frammartino
Sep 23, 2014 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
Alan Wells
Mar 21, 2013 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
Jesse Showalter
Mar 12, 2015 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
Robert Paxton
Oct 03, 2013 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
Del Johnstone
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Planning on re-reading this in the near future - I've read it twice already. I'm not really a conspiracy theory fan but the JFK thing is endlessly fascinating to me, and whatever you think of Jim Garrison, some of the facts laid bare here are astonishing. I'll get into this more once I've given it another go.
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the jim 1 6 Nov 12, 2013 12:06AM  
  • High Treason: The Assassination of JFK & the Case for Conspiracy
  • 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?
  • Best Evidence
  • Deep Politics and the Death of JFK
  • 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 Last Investigation
  • The Kennedy Conspiracy
  • Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK, A ballistics expert's astonishing discovery of the fatal bullet that Oswald did not fire
  • The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
  • The Deep Zoo
  • The Girl on the Stairs
  • Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination
  • They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons to Believe There Was a Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK
  • The Echo from Dealey Plaza: the True Story of the First African American on the White House Secret Service Detail and His Quest for Justice After the Assassination of JFK
  • The CIA And The Cult Of Intelligence
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.” 1 likes
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