JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters


Author: James W Douglass
Publisher: Orbis Books
ISBN: 9781570757556
Format: Hardback
Page Count:
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In this fascinating and disturbing work, James Douglass presents a compelling account of the assasination of President John F. Kennedy and why unmasking and accepting this truth remains crucial for the future of our country and the world. The title comes from a phrase of Thomas Merton, naming of the attitudes, forces and interests that generate and support international tension and conflict.

Drawing on a vast field of investigations, including many sources available only recently, Doulass lays out a sequence of of steps over the last three years of his life that transformed JFK from a traditional “Cold Warrior” to someone determined to pull the world back from the edge of nuclear apocalypse. Beginning with the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs invasion (which left the President wishing to “splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces”), followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis and his secret back-channel dialouges with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, JFK pursued a series of actions
right up to the week of his death
that caused members of his own U.S. military-intelligence establishment to regard him as a viritual traitor who had to be eliminated.

As the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination approaches, the story of why he was killed
his turn toward peace
is not ancient history, and bears crucial lessons for today in the light of a decade of war and continuing revelations of clandestine national security and military activities. Douglass shows convincingly how those who plotted the death of JFK were determined not simply to eliminate a single man but to kill a vision.

Douglass’s book has all the elements of a political thriller. But the stakes couldn’t be higher. Only by understanding the truth behind the murder of JFK can we grasp his vision and assume the urgent struggle for peace today.


James W. Douglass is a longtime peace activist and writer. He and his wife Shelley are co-founders of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, and Marys House, a Catholic Worker house of hospitality in Birmingham, Alabama. His books include The Nonviolent Cross, The Nonviolent Coming of God, andResistance and Contemplation.


“In JFK and the Unspeakable  Jim Douglass has distilled all the best available research into a very well-documented and convincing portrait of President Kennedy’s transforming turn to peace, at the cost of his life.  Personally, it has made a very big impact on me.  After reading it in Dallas, I was moved for the first time to visit Dealey Plaza.  I urge all Americans to read this book and come to their own conclusions about why he died and why – after fifty years – it still matters.” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.


“With penetrating insight and unswerving integrity, Douglass proves the fundamental truths about JFK’s assassination . . . by far the most important book yet written on the subject.” – Gaeton Fonzi, former Staff Investigator, US House Select Committee on Assassinations


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