Review: A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History

A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History
A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History by Joan Mellen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To put it simply; this must surely be the mother and father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle and next-door neighbour of all books about the Kennedy assassination cover up. No doubts about it. If there’s a stone still remaining unturned, bush un-peeked behind, a shopping list uncategorised, it surely ain’t worth peering into or under. If you have even the remotest interest in the killing and the (obvious) cover-up afterwards (and you have a few weeks to set aside to reading this) you need to read this book. I have read many, many books about the assassination of JFK, but I have never read one as thorough as this.

Before you start though, if you’re looking for a description of what happened on the day, you won’t find it here. You might, deep inside, come across a name – or two – for who did the actual trigger-pulling and the killing, but what you will actually find, laid unarguably bare, is the conspiracy behind the events of the day, before and afterwards.

If you’ve seen the film JFK with Kevin Costner as Garrison, Joe Pesci as David Ferrie and Tommy Lee Jones as Clay Shaw, you’ll be pretty familiar with the bones of the book. She says she began writing it as a biography of Jim Garrison, but found she needed to go deeper into his thwarted investigate. There is still a life of Jim Garrison, of sorts, but of course, that life, once he launched the investigation, was totally consumed by it. He does go on, once his case had failed, but he could never escape it.

There can’t be many who don’t think there was a before and after conspiracy. It could well be *laughs* that you believe the Warren Commission. If you believe the Warren Commission, you’re a bigger fool than you’re trying to make me out to be. A commission is an admission of failure, or unwillingness, to get the case to court. It was a way to sweep the whole thing under the carpet. The Warren Commission was set up so the true crime would never get investigated. It beggars belief that the only court case in, for the USA at least, the biggest crime of the twentieth century, was left to a relatively obscure local attorney. And then forced to fail. Then…nothing. How fishy does that sound? No wonder there are conspiracy theorists. Only, once you’ve read this book, they’re not theories – they’re facts.

She proves successfully (for me) that there was a conspiracy. And who, which ‘organisation,’ was behind it. Then how it was covered up. From, amongst others, at least one very surprising source. However, if there is a problem with the book, it is that there are so many names, so many connections, so many FBI agents, CIA agents, ex-CIA agents, CIA agents pretending to be ex-CIA agents, pro-Castro, anti Castro groups, pro-Cuba groups that were actually anti-Cuba groups, anti- Cuba groups that were…well, you get the picture – that they do actually become a little meaningless. Added into that people who seemingly changed sides like they changed their socks, then it’s hard to keep up, make sense of, or form anything other than a general impression of what was going on. You just have to trust that she has control of what she’s trying to do with it all. I can understand why she wants to prove in every way shape and form that she’s on the money (to head off the ‘yeah, but…’ cottage industry of conspiracists), but the hundreds of names, their links and interrelations do tend to lead to a little confusion at best. Not being a Kennedy scholar by profession myself, or about to write a thesis on it, so unable to devote the man-hours and bits of paper with diagrams and lines on them necessary to take all this in – it becomes difficult to continue to take in after a point.

But, after reading such a thorough, unbelievably thorough, account of the evidence, it’s hard to see how anyone could come up with any other kind of scenario, or a name not mentioned and/or discussed here. I’ve got two more JFK assassination books sat on the shelf waiting to be read – I’m wondering now if it’s worth bothering.

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2 thoughts on “Review: A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History

  1. Right, thanks for the tip. I’ll add that to my Christmas list. I’ve got a couple to go at, as I think I said. One called ‘Not In Your Lifetime’ by Anthony Summers, which looks interesting. The other by Mark Lane, who is mentioned several times in Joan’s book. Though, as I say above, how much more there actually IS to say on the subject after reading this magnificent book, I’m not so sure. It reminded me, in its thoroughness, of Richard J Evans’ ‘The Coming of the Third Reich.’ Quite apart from anything, you just have to marvel at their organisational skills, to marshal so much information into a readable/understandable form.
    Thanks for your comment, it is most appreciated.


  2. Great GREAT book! I would recommend this one to anyone who has even the slightest thought about events concerning the assassination. Larry Kaplan also has a great book called When The Past Came Calling, his site is He has a very compelling look into the events surrounding Kennedy’s death.


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