June 10, 2007

Reclaiming History - holy moly!

A few days ago, Fred Butler posted a favourable impression of prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi (best known as the prosecutor of Charles Manson and the author of the bestselling true-crime book Helter Skelter, based on the Manson murders), with respect to his newest book, Reclaiming History, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

At the time I had already placed a request for the book at the public library. It arrived (by surprise) yesterday, so I went to pick it up.

My first impression: This book is heavy. Anvil heavy. Family Bible heavy. New York City phone book heavy. I was reading it on the bus, and now my arms ache just from holding it up. It's oversized and still comes in at over 1500 pages - and if that isn't enough reading for you, it includes a CD-ROM just for the endnotes. When it gets published in paperback, I think they might have to do it in two or three volumes, because I don't think perfect binding is even physically capable of containing that many pages.

Anyway, I'm about 100 pages in, maybe a little more, and I'm quite enjoying it. Bugliosi makes no secret of his contempt for JFK conspiracy theories, and this new book purports to debunk them. A few years ago I was willing to entertain the possibility that JFK's death was not all it seemed. But then I read Gerald Posner's book Case Closed. No more. I'm fully convinced that John F. Kennedy died a meaningless death at the hand of Communist and general failure Lee Harvey Oswald. Interestingly, I've skimmed a few sections of Bugliosi's book, and it looks like he really doesn't like Posner, even though they reach the same conclusions.

I've never tackled 1500 pages before in three weeks. It'll be interesting to see if I can finish Bugliosi off before I have to hand the book off to the next borrower. I'd hate to have to read such fascinating subject matter in shifts.