Detail from the assassination dossier
Not surprisingly given the title, this is about the events of November 1963 in Dallas; it was compiled and designed by Deighton with Michael Rand and Howard Loxton.
This is less a book, more a dossier reviewing key evidence, encouraging the reader to make up his or her own mind. The pack was part of the ‘Jackdaw’ series of publications which were designed for educational purposes. Deighton’s interest in this subject was piqued by receiving from the great philosopher and London resident Bertrand Russell a copy of the book Rush to Judgement by Mark Lane, which started the trend in conspiracy theories and questions about the Warren Commission’s report. It contains some fascinating facsimile documents plus images which go into gruesome detail about what happened to the president.
Why it's interesting
It’s a curious creation: half part-work, half cardboard model of Deeley Plaza. It was produced only four years after the assassination and, while drawing no firm conclusions either way, the text suggests that the authors were, like a lot of conspiracy theorists, looking at where the evidence was lacking and inferring more than perhaps they should do. All the anomalies have, subsequently, been satisfactorily explained. Given that these were primarily educational folders, few have survived and they are now very collectable.
'When the Warren report was published, an American newspaper editor wrote, "No material question now remains unresolved so far as the death of President Kennedy is concerned."
Most responsible journalism took the same line. Like so much jounalism, however, it relied more on trust of the sources than investigation of the facts. Dissenting voices were lumped together as myth-makers, rather like the people who think Bacon wrote Shakespeare, "what's the difference?" the world asked, "It's done, who cares exactly who did it?"'
Each Jackdaw folder cost 11 shillings 6 pence.