Sunday, March 2, 2008
JFK and the Unspeakable
Why He Died and Why It Matters
by James W. Douglass
Advance Praise for JFK and the Unspeakable
"JFK and the Unspeakable is an exceptional achievement. Douglass has made the strongest case so far in the JFK assassination literature as to the Who and the Why of Dallas. The conjunction of unrestrained elements in cold war America—defense industry elites, Pentagon planners, and the heads of the intelligence community—were the forces that led inexorably to Dallas and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”--Gerald McKnight, author, Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why
“With penetrating insight and unswerving integrity, Douglass probes the fundamental truths about JFK’s assassination. If, he contends, humanity permits those truths to slip into history ignored and undefined it does so at its own peril. By far the most important book yet written on the subject.” --Gaeton Fonzi, former Staff Investigator, US House Select Committee on Assassinations
“Douglass presents, brilliantly, an unfamiliar yet thoroughly convincing account of a series of creditable decisions of John F. Kennedy—at odds with his initial Cold War stance—that earned him the secret distrust and hatred of hard-liners among the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA. Did this suspicion and rage lead directly to his murder by agents of these institutions, as Douglass concludes? Many readers who are not yet convinced of this ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by Douglass’s prosecutorial indictment will find themselves, perhaps—like myself—for the first time, compelled to call for an authoritative criminal investigation. Recent events give all the more urgency to learning what such an inquiry can teach us about how, by whom, and in whose interests this country is run.” --Daniel Ellsberg, author, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
“For forty years Jim Douglass has been our leading North American Catholic theologian of peace. But this monumental work on the witness of JFK is something deeper still. Douglass is trying to get us to connect the dots between our ‘citizen denial,’ the government’s ‘plausible deniability,’ and the Unspeakable. This book has the potential to change our narrative about our country, and our lives as citizens and disciples. May we have ears to hear these truths, hearts able to bear their burden, and hands willing to build a new story.”—Ched Myers, author, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus
“This book’s story of JFK and the ‘unspeakable’ is a stunning mix of political thriller and meticulous scholarship. Even as it points persuasively to rogue powers at work in the U.S. military-industrial complex, it also witnesses to the power of spirit, inspiring prophetic voices like Thomas Merton’s, turning a president like John Kennedy toward peace, thus also enabling readers to see into the current deep structure of U.S. war and empire. Douglass’s book offers a goldmine of information and is indispensable for building prophetic spirit and hope.”—Mark Lewis Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary
“A remarkable book: devastating in its documented indictment of the dark forces that have long deformed the public life of this country, while also illuminating JFK’s final vision of world peace and documenting beyond reasonable doubt the unspeakable assassination of our last partially admirable president. This book should be required reading for every American citizen.”—Richard Falk, Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University
“This is the most thoroughly researched and documented book ever written about President Kennedy’s determination to prevent a nuclear war—and how his success in that struggle cost him his life. And yet, Douglass leads us well beyond the ‘whodunit’ dimensions of the story. He leads us straight into the urgent implications for the present, into what Thomas Merton called the ‘unspeakable.’ In the shadows of our own time we begin to become better prepared to break free of the violence that threatens all of us today.”—Don Mosely, co-founder Jubilee Partners
“A remarkable achievement, outstanding even in an overcrowded field. It is profoundly conceived, researched, considered, argued, and written. Douglass shows persuasively how Kennedy’s innovative steps in foreign policy produced dangerous opposition within his own national security establishment. Not all will agree with his detailed speculation as to what happened in Dallas. But Douglass’s large picture of America’s political agony is, I believe, incontrovertible and certain to last.”--Peter Dale Scott, author Deep Politics and the Death of JFK
"Jim Douglass’s spiritual and eloquent telling of President John F. Kennedy’s martyrdom for peace is a peerless and extraordinary historical contribution.”—Vincent J. Salandria, author, False Mystery: Essays on the Assassination of JFK
“Douglass writes with moral force, clarity, and the careful attention to detail that will make JFK and the Unspeakable a sourcebook for many years to come, for it provides us with the stubborn facts needed to rebuild a constitutional democracy within the United States.”--Marcus Raskin, co-founder, Institute for Policy Studies
“Jim Douglass never ceases to surprise us, taking us where we do not expect or often wish to go. In this fascinating work he links politics and spirituality. In re-forming the past he reshapes the future, with hope, thank God.”--Bill J. Leonard, Dean and Professor of Church History Wake Forest University Divinity School
“Jim Douglass is a courageous and single-minded Christian whose convictions are reflected in his life and witness. In this provocative new book, he brings together history and spirituality at the intersection of one of the most pivotal—and yet still mystifying—events of the past century. A myth-exploding story and compelling read.”--Timothy George, Dean Beeson Divinity School of Samford University
“In JFK and the Unspeakable Jim Douglass steadily guides us toward a strategy of peace. By dramatizing JFK’s remarkable conversion away from a U.S. foreign policy based on military threat and force, Douglass holds forth hope for current generations to similarly dismantle our addiction to war. Douglass’s dedication to nonviolence could have salvific effects as people ponder this astonishing book.”—Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
An astonishing new examination of the Kennedy assassination and its meaning today for the struggle for peace.
James Douglass lays out the journey that led JFK in the course of three years from his position as a traditional ColdWarrior to his determination to break with the logic of the Cold War and lead the world in an entirely different direction. This sequence of steps led his adversaries in the military and intelligence establishment to view him as a virtual traitor who had to be eliminated.
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.
“For forty years Jim Douglass has been our leading North American Catholic theologian of peace. But this monumental work on the witness of JFK is something deeper still. . . .This book has the potential to change our narrative about our country, and our lives as citizens and disciples.May we have ears to hear these truths, hearts able to bear their burden, and hands willing to build a new story.”—Ched Myers, author, Binding the Strong Man
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 Mary’s House, a Catholic Worker house of hospitality in Birmingham, Alabama. His books include The Nonviolent Cross, The Nonviolent Coming of God, and Resistance and Contemplation.