BOOK REVIEW:


THE KILLING OF A PRESIDENT:


THE COMPLETE PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD

OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION,

THE CONSPIRACY, AND THE COVER-UP


AUTHOR: ROBERT J. GRODEN





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GET THIS BOOK FOR THE PHOTOS,

NOT THE THEORIES


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Robert J. Groden's "THE KILLING OF A PRESIDENT: THE COMPLETE PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION, THE CONSPIRACY, AND THE COVER-UP" [whew!] is a very good resource book for many of the photographs connected with the events surrounding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The softcover version of "TKOAP" that I own, published in 1994, consists of 223 pages and is printed on thick, high-quality paper. The book measures approximately 9-1/4" (W) x 10-7/8" (H), and has a nice "collectible" feel to it.

This volume is just crammed full of high-quality photographs and still-frames from motion-picture sequences that were taken on November 22, 1963 (the day of JFK's murder). Some of the pictures depicted here are large-sized and take up entire pages, with a few filling out full two-page spreads.

Several of JFK's autopsy photos are published within this volume as well, and are rather graphic and gruesome in nature (especially if you've never had the chance to view them before via other means). So, be forewarned before you turn to Pages 72 through 85.

The book's text and photo captions are all "pro-conspiracy" in nature (i.e., pushing the idea that a vast, multi-shooter conspiracy existed to assassinate President Kennedy in Dallas' Dealey Plaza).

It's a nicely-styled publication, in my opinion. But the book's style certainly doesn't mean that Mr. Groden has proven that any type of conspiracy existed on 11/22/63. I do not think he has. And I also don't think that more than one man (Lee Harvey Oswald) was aiming a weapon at JFK that day in Dallas.

The overwhelming evidence in the case (on the whole) tells me that one lone killer was involved in ending the President's life that sunny Friday afternoon.

I'm forced to chuckle when reading in this book of Mr. Groden's "8-Shot" shooting scenario that he believes took place in Dallas on November 22nd. (He even suggests that there might have been up to TEN shots fired at the President's limousine, despite the fact that ONLY THREE of these many shots were heard by the large majority of the witnesses at the scene.)

Mr. Groden obviously realizes that in any such 8-to-10-shot scenario, a total of up to seven of the bullets had to somehow disappear from view before they could enter any kind of official record in the case (because Oswald, the resident "Patsy" in the JFK killing, per the accounts of many conspiracy theorists, could only have fired three shots from his rifle in the allotted timeframe during the shooting).

And we must also keep in mind -- per Groden's theory (in which he has Texas Governor John B. Connally hit TWICE, not just once) -- that FIVE total bullets, including the JFK head-shot missile, must disappear completely from the record after having gone into TWO different victims' bodies (JFK & Connally).

And this includes the disappearance of two bullets that struck a man who LIVED through the shooting (Connally). Talk about "Magic Bullets"! Mr. Groden apparently has not just one, but five such miracle (vanishing) missiles. Quite remarkable indeed.

How in the world could any "plotters" possibly expect a crazy multi-shot plan like this to succeed? It's completely nutty to think that anyone wanting to "frame" Lee Oswald would be willing to shoot that many times at the ONE intended target....and from multiple angles and locations. (Hilarious.)

Another thing to ask yourself (if you believe in this notion of 8 or 10 shots actually being fired at JFK) -- Just what kind of crappy shooters were being employed to rub out the Chief Executive in Dallas?

Mr. Groden is purporting that up to HALF the shots that were fired (5 out of 10 in the ludicrously-high ten-shot theory being proposed) not only missed their intended target (which was obviously JFK), but all these various shots missed the ENTIRE AUTOMOBILE!

Some great riflemen, huh?

Want another good belly-laugh? Keep reading......

Good Gosh! Would you look at this! .... Up to TEN shots and (per Groden) NOT ONE OF THEM being fired from Oswald's "Sniper's Nest" in the Texas School Book Depository Building?! (Go to pages 20 through 40 of "The Killing Of A President".)

Groden hints that one, and only one, of these many shots could have come "possibly from the so called 'Oswald' window" [TKOAP; p.28], but he feels that even THAT shot "more probably [came] from the second floor of the DalTex building" [TKOAP; p.28].

You would think, given an 8-bullet or 10-bullet shooting scenario, that Mr. Groden might have a few more of the shots emanating from the ONLY POSITIVELY KNOWN SOURCE OF GUNFIRE -- the southeastern-most window on the sixth floor of the Book Depository, from where Lee Oswald HIMSELF was positively identified as firing a rifle at the motorcade!

Evidently, Mr. Groden must think that this rifle-toting "Oswald Look-alike" in the southeast corner window on the 6th Floor of the Depository was only PRETENDING to fire his rifle at President Kennedy, in order to further implicate "Patsy Oswald".

I guess it didn't matter to any of the conspirators that none of the wounds on the victims would line up properly if the plotters don't have some bullets coming from that Oswald window. But that (apparently) didn't concern the architects of this doomed-to-fail-from-the-start "Frame The Patsy" conspiracy plot.

And then there's also the testimony of Harold Norman to consider when evaluating the overall validity of any of Mr. Groden's claims. Norman worked in the Book Depository Building and was situated on the fifth floor, directly underneath Oswald's window at the time of the shooting. Norman actually heard the working of the rifle's bolt above him, and he also heard three cartridge cases hitting the floor right above him.

Given such detailed testimony from someone within the Depository itself (including his preciseness about hearing "THREE" shells/"hulls" dropping to the floor and exactly "THREE" shots being fired), how can Mr. Groden possibly purport a theory which includes ZERO shots (or just ONE shot) coming from the Oswald location?

Mr. Groden also postulates in this book, as I previously mentioned, his belief that Governor Connally was hit by two separate bullets, the last of these (which Groden says caused the wrist injury to Connally) supposedly occurring six-tenths of a second AFTER the fatal head shot to JFK.

This "2-shot" Connally theory is totally unsupported by the evidence and the filmed (Zapruder) record -- not to mention the fact that neither of these bullets, per this theory, is ever found by Parkland Hospital personnel.

The one single bullet discovered at Parkland, according to conspiracists, was "planted" by someone (Bullet CE399). Connally's doctor (Dr. Shaw), however, said on 11/22/63 that all of Connally's wounds were probably caused by "one bullet" (not two).

And then there's the Zapruder Film, which (IMO) verifies that Connally's wrist was struck by a bullet well prior to the fatal shot that hit JFK in the head. This verification, IMO, occurs on the Z-Film in the form of a very rapid movement of Connally's right arm just a few Zapruder frames after what I consider to be the one and only shot to John Connally's body -- that being the "Single-Bullet Theory" missile, which occurs at Z223-Z224 on the Zapruder home movie.

The extremely fast UP then DOWN movement of Governor Connally's right arm just after Z224 confirms, in my mind, the fact that his wrist has been hit by something at that precise moment. It's obviously an involuntary arm movement:



















I also get particular amusement when I read anything pertaining to the so-called "Umbrella Man" in connection with the Kennedy murder. The "Umbrella Man" was a bystander in Dealey Plaza who held an open umbrella above his head as JFK's car passed by him on Elm Street. Some conspiracists seem to feel that this man fired a poisoned dart or some other type of projectile into the throat of JFK, thereby paralyzing the President just prior to the fatal head shot.

While Mr. Groden doesn't come right out in this book and say he believes such a cockeyed theory, he does give "The Umbrella Man" a nice two-page layout in "The Killing Of A President" (pages 188-189), and hints at the possibility that this man waving his rain-shielding device was more than just a man carrying an umbrella.

Re: "Umbrella Man" --

Can you just hear the plotters, on November 21st, planning the details of the assassination which would be occurring the following day? I can. It would have made for a very amusing powwow. Here's what such a pre-assassination conversation amongst the conspirators mapping out the shooting just might have sounded like:

"Marty, you're our umbrella guy, and you shoot first -- right out in plain sight on Elm Street where many dozens of people will probably be filming you and therefore will have you on movies and still pictures. But don't worry, the post-assassination "Cover-Up Team" can explain away those pics as fakes like everything else we're about to do tomorrow.

"OK, so, Marty, you've checked out that Umbrella Dart thing-a-ma-bob, right? It's working OK, right? It wouldn't do to have a misfired poisoned dart, because you might then hit the DCM (Dark-Complected Man), who's gonna be standing next to you and wave to JFK as a final sign to him of who it is that's about to kill him, remember.

"OK, so Marty's got the umbrella thing down cold. He'll fire the warning shot into Kennedy's neck so that he'll be paralyzed for a shot that comes many seconds later. There's no real need, of course, for this dart shot; in fact it's pretty stupid if ya ask me -- but them's my orders from upstairs guys, so we gotta live with it.

"OK, so then Francisco in the Dal-Tex is going to fire next, after the umbrella shot. But Francisco's second shot into JFK's back is also a low-powered shot, like the umbrella shot. It'll only go into the President's back about two inches.

"Remember, guys, we don't want to kill him yet! Not after just a mere two shots! We want him to have TWO "warning" shots, so that Kennedy and his many Secret Service agents will have ample time to get wise to what is about to happen, and he'll have time to duck away from our kill shot. After all, fair is fair, right?

"Plus, we also want this patsy plot of ours to be so overly-complicated and impossible to pull off in order to make as much work as possible for our cover-up operatives who will be taking over the conspiracy case tomorrow at 12:31 PM -- like having to fake AS MUCH EVIDENCE AS WE CAN POSSIBLY DREAM UP. We want these guys to have to dig out of Kennedy's body AS MANY USELESS, NEEDLESS BULLETS AS POSSIBLE in order to earn their keep tomorrow!

"We could just use Malcolm here (who kinda looks like Oswald) as the lone shooter from the sniper's-nest window -- but -- nah! Let's go whole hog and clog the works with as many futile and needless shots as possible to give the cover-up crew a good workout tomorrow! OK? OK! Let's do it!"

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TO SUMMARIZE:

"The Killing Of A President" is definitely a good publication for any JFK assassination buff or researcher (conspiracy theorists and "LNers" alike) -- but only for the large photographic record of the tragic assassination that is documented within these 223 pages. If all of the pro-conspiracy hogwash that is printed in this book could be eradicated, it would be a far better volume.

David Von Pein
November 2005


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BONUS DVD REVIEW:


JFK: THE CASE FOR CONSPIRACY --

THE ASSASSINATION FILMS



























"JFK: The Case For Conspiracy -- The Assassination Films", produced and narrated by Robert J. Groden, is an excellent piece of Kennedy Assassination resource material. It's a program that places all of the motion-picture films that were taken by the various amateur and professional photographers on November 22nd, 1963, onto a single DVD.

The "Delta Entertainment" DVD version of this program, which was released in 2003 under the slightly-different title of "JFK: Assassination Files", runs for approximately 70 minutes and includes a bonus program in the form of the 20-minute color film ("The Last Two Days") taken by White House cinematographer Tom Atkins during JFK's fateful trip to Texas in November 1963.


Each of these more than one dozen films on this DVD has been "optically enhanced" for the best possible video quality. I've seen these films presented on other videos -- but, I must admit, many of these sequences look better than ever before thanks to the clean-up and enhancement effort done for this program.

Each film appears to be complete and uncut in each case too, with nothing trimmed off the beginning or the end, which is valuable from a "completist" (and historical) standpoint.

Two good examples of this come in the chapters for the Zapruder Film and the Mark Bell Film -- with each of these films containing footage on this DVD that is not normally shown on JFK documentaries or assassination videos.

The very beginning of Abraham Zapruder's film is shown here, which includes a couple seconds of footage taken a few minutes before the Presidential motorcade arrived in Dealey Plaza that November afternoon. These initial frames show two people sitting on one of the park benches located on the "Grassy Knoll", as well as Mr. Zapruder's assistant, Marilyn Sitzman, standing in front of this bench. Sitzman turns to face Zapruder's camera just before this segment ends. The film then goes directly to the famous footage of the motorcade motorcycles turning onto Elm Street.*

* = There's actually even more footage at the very beginning of Zapruder's famous film that even precedes the Sitzman/park bench footage, some of which depicts Zapruder's secretary, Lillian Rogers, on the morning of 11/22/63. Those frames are not included on this DVD. But the footage featuring Rogers can be seen HERE.

The version of the Mark Bell film on this DVD is also of interest for its "complete" length. After the motorcade is seen leaving Dealey Plaza, Bell filmed some additional footage from an elevated position, across the street from the Elm Street activity. This footage is not usually shown when Mr. Bell's film is utilized for a video, etc.

The Zapruder Film, which is the most famous of any of the motion pictures taken on November 22 (and the only one to show the entire assassination from beginning to its gruesome end), is given the most detailed examination of all the films presented in this program (and rightly so).

A variety of different copies of the Z-Film are shown here, and it's quite interesting to see how lousy some of the original copies are. But, along with a bad-looking copy or two, Groden also shows us some enhanced copies as well; plus an original "unspliced" copy of the famous home movie, which Groden had in his possession before the film was accidentally damaged by the Life Magazine people shortly after that company purchased the original film from Zapruder.

Other films shown on this DVD (in addition to Zapruder's and Bell's) include the footage taken by: Orville Nix, Marie Muchmore, Robert Hughes, Tina Towner, Elsie Dorman, Charles Bronson, Tom Alyea, Jack Daniel, Ernest Mentesana, John Martin, Mal Couch, and NBC cameraman Dave Wiegman.

Wiegman's original film is one of the most chilling taken in Dealey Plaza that day. Wiegman was riding in one of the press cars (just a few car-lengths behind JFK's limousine). Just as the shots rang out, Wiegman jumped from his car, camera rolling, and ran toward the action taking place in front of him. His film is a total blur in many places, because he's running as he's filming. But it's a fascinating piece of film nonetheless.

Elsie Dorman's film is quite interesting as well, mainly because of Dorman's location at the time she filmed the motorcade -- the location in question being the very same building from which the fatal shots were fired -- the Texas School Book Depository. Dorman was filming from the fourth floor of the Depository, two floors below Lee Harvey Oswald's sixth-floor sniper's perch. Dorman's film, therefore, gives us a similar view of the limousine to that of what Oswald would have been seeing at the exact same moments.

Thankfully (in my opinion anyway), Groden's narration focuses primarily on just the content of the various films themselves. He just briefly interjects his beliefs that some of the images we are seeing within these amateur films "proves a conspiracy existed to kill President Kennedy" [paraphrasing].

I, for one, do not subscribe to any of the many conspiracy scenarios that have been formulated since JFK's murder. In my view, Lee Harvey Oswald was the one and only killer located in Dealey Plaza on November 22nd. Of course, many people (most, actually) will vehemently disagree. But, so be it.

But, even for a person who advocates the "Lone Nut Assassin" scenario, this DVD is still a very worthwhile addition to the ol' Digital collection, for one very good reason -- this program collects all of the available assassination-related films and puts them all onto a single DVD.

Plus, it's nice to be able to have this complete filmed record of November 22nd on the higher-quality DVD format. And being able to go directly to any of the various films via the disc's "Chapter" selection is also a handy and time-saving advantage over a VHS videotape version.

David Von Pein
May 2004
November 2006
July 2009





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PICTURES AND LINKS:





















































































































































Robert Groden's Official Homepage


Robert Groden Interview (September 18, 2008)


DVD Review -- "JFK: The Case For Conspiracy"


JFK Videos Galore


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