The Lone Gunman
Vincent Bugliosi spent 20 years and used 2,000 pages to write Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting President Kennedy. The Atlantic's Thomas Mallon reviews the book and describes his impressions in an interview. Here are some of Mallon's remarks.
I think actually it’s healthy to see somebody [Vincent Bugliosi] who seems to have solid liberal credentials, who was very pro-Gore in the 2000 election, still taking the pro-Warren Commission view. ...
There are a few supposedly respectable academics who have gone way out there in conspiracy theory, but I would say that most of them are kind of gumshoes, amateurs, and people who probably were impacted by the assassination. Their emotions were impacted by it in what was originally a genuine way, but somehow the tissue around that impact has become infected, and it’s become something that they don’t want to let go of. The thing that they would hate most is for anything that they would have to regard as definitive proof to come along. I think we do have definitive proof that Oswald killed Kennedy, but if definitive proof of their own theories came along somehow, I think they’d be terribly bereft.
Inevitably any book about the Kennedy assassination becomes a book about the conspiracy theories that grew up around it. It necessarily preoccupies itself with clearing away the accumulated mythology of decades. Mallon emphasizes Bugliosi's liberal credentials for a reason. Few might otherwise believe Bugliosi's assertion that the Zapruder film actually confirms there was a lone gunman. It also helps to disconnect Oswald's pro-Castro politics from the act of assassination itself.
I think all of that goes into Oswald. Something was very wrong with Oswald, and it wasn’t his politics. Something was very wrong with him at the deepest interior spot. If he had not killed Kennedy that day, Oswald was certainly not through with violence. I mean, Oswald’s shooting of General Edwin Walker is tremendously central to understanding the Kennedy assassination. Let’s say Oswald were working somewhere else, didn’t have the job at the depository, didn’t have any chance to get near the parade route—Oswald was not through with violence. Oswald was going to kill a political figure at some point.
Oswald can be acknowledged the assassin but only at the price psychologically profiling him like a rightwing nut. But maybe that's the cost of recovering the facts -- assuming those are the facts. Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.