Take a Hand

There’s no analysis to speak of in Bill Minutaglio’s and Steven L. Davis’s account of life and events in the city—Dallas—that much of the world came to hate after the Kennedy assassination.  There is instead chronological recitation: this person, that person; words, deeds, threats, accusations, pleas, apologies, gestures; an amassing and piling up of facts, carefully researched, carefully winnowed, and selected for their effects on readers wondering for one reason or another about the most extensively chronicled event since World War II.

The mythology of the Kennedy assassination is by now set in concrete: a City of Hate, dominated by hatemongers such as H.L. Hunt, Gen. Edwin Walker, and the publisher of the Dallas Morning News, facilitated through its hatred the murder of a president.  Oh, it wasn’t, you know, that Hunt and the others actually wanted Kennedy dead.  Nevertheless, the shrillness of their views and their language made inevitable, more or less, the shots that ended Kennedy’s life.  The facts, on Minutaglio’s and Davis’s showing, speak for themselves.  This happened, that happened.  One, two, three.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc.  Isn’t that enough?

Actually, no; it isn’t.  Recitation of facts—even undeniable facts—gets you so far and no further. ...

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