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Audiobook Review / Not in Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK

It is shocking that the issue of whether JFKs assassination was a conspiracy or not, despite the overwhelming evidence to the former. Less appreciated, perhaps, is whether or not the assassination was due to a lone nut in the form of Lee Harvey Oswald, or multiple gunmen, not necessarily including him, and again even though there is plenty of evidence to the latter.

Not in Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK compiles an excessive and continually updated collation of the available evidence surrounding the assassination. It was one of the highest rated books on the list of JFK assassination references, out of the huge available range, and so was the first port of call for me to seriously delve into this long-studied and extremely dividing topic.

Of course, any JFK assassination research is going to include an in-depth study of the alleged perpetrator, Lee Harvey Oswald, whose name - much like John Wilkes Booth of the Lincoln assassination fame - will ever be remembered alongside his presidential counterpart. The problem is that the study of Oswald in this book does everything but confirm he was a "lone nut", and merely from the evidence cited within if I were on a jury with him as defendant I'd find it incredibly difficult to pass a guilty verdict, at least of murder. Such enormous discrepancies in Oswald's movements on that day at the Texas School Book Depository, witnessed by many who knew him personally, offer such a frantically opposing view of alleged sixth floor events that make it more likely he was not on that floor at the time of the shooting. He was, though, in the building and he did leave on discovering the president had been shot. Was it that moment he realised he had been setup in some way? But delving into Oswald's past, and uncovering such things as a reported high intellect, connections to top secret bases, a defection to Russia (then back again) and involvement in both the pro and anti-Castro movements, Oswald seemed nowhere near the man he is so often portrayed to be. He also expressed admiration for Kennedy, not least after he was arrested and asked directly about how he felt about the president. I haven't read enough of the huge rabbit hole that was this assassination to think he had nothing to do with something going on that day, but if he did, I would say almost for certain at this junction he did not act alone.

The book also delves into the Cuban connection, that many have tried to relight again and again over the years, in an attempt to blame Fidel Castro for the assassination, and again, presenting strong reasoning by those involved (including Castro) that bites back against this narrative. It also looks into the Communist and Marxist movements at the time, Oswald's strangely incoherent Russian wife whose stories never quite wound up in the same place twice, and the various other players such as the Mafia and the infamous Jack Ruby - a man just as misrepresented as Oswald for different reasons - and presents some incredibly interesting and compelling exposes from various interviewees. I found the breakdown of Ruby and his connections particularly fascinating, and have since rewatched the shooting of Oswald, who was conveniently paraded right in front of cameras at the time of his movement to another jail. There is something so strange and coincidental about how Ruby managed to bypass on-duty police officers into a placed closed off the the public and surrounded by cops, with a gun and shoot a prisoner. One, by the way, who had never been charged with the assassination.

Not in Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK has been updated consistently over the years, to amend weaker sections and add new evidence to the story. It offers an exceptionally balanced view of all involved, and to my knowledge at this point, has not missed out important details of such people to forma bias. Though incredibly compelling, and well worth the read (or listen) for the new researcher, I am also aware of some excellent scientific research regarding the validity of the Zapruder film that was not documented in the book, but has been around for many years now. A more in depth look at the Warren Commission and the Assassination Committee would also have been welcome, however, I know these have been extensively studied elsewhere and are on my list.

All in all, at just under 13 hours, the Audible version of Not in Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK should not be missed by anyone even with a passing interest in the events of 22nd November 1963. You may find you're suddenly in a very deep dark hole and discovering things you never knew you'd want to know. Narrator Ronan Summers does an excellent job at keeping the pace, the intrigue and the passion to tell the story without fatiguing the reader or losing interest himself.

Though an American tragedy, JFK's assassination is probably one of the few major incidents in US history to have (and hold) such a huge psychological effect across the world, and which still, I think, most people would have an opinion on, well-researched or not, purely for its emotional context. This is probably because JFK was given the rose-tinted sheen of being a brilliantly liberal, peacemaking individual doing his best for his country, and a total innocent murdered by a nut as he drove through Dallas on a peaceful trip. Being murdered JFK did not deserve, certainly, but as complex a man and leader he was by no means perfect and, as he was, the people involved in his demise - or alleged to have been - were also such in their own lives, which has helped muddy the waters since his death. Maybe we'll never know the genuine truth of why Kennedy was killed and why Oswald ended up as the alleged perpetrator, as Jack Ruby insisted in a confession. But whether that is cause to ignore the facts and pretend something happened in a way that seems not to have been the case is a question most will make for themselves. I commend those who have seen fit to use their time to bring some sense of justice for a murdered man, and help the world see the lies we are told by the "authorities" for what they are.


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