What happened in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963 shocked the American people to their core, though less so to the rest of the globe, including the Chinese. Still, in the same way that Dr Martin Luther King’s renowned speech “I Have a Dream” had deeply influenced the world, President Kennedy’s famous request that one should ask what one can do for one’s country has long affected the way in which Chinese people view themselves as citizens.
The Chinese are forever practical and focused on the facts that can help to enrich and empower their lives. However, there is no doubt that all the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy, even those suspecting people at the highest levels of government, are absolutely intriguing. To the Chinese, the fact that American people can and are allowed to express such a sense of distrust (and even disgust) against their government helps to shed light on the nature and significance of democracy.
And there is and should be no denial that Chinese readers view the life and death of President Kennedy as an important episode of the great American “soap opera”. Did you see how the “American imperialists” have tasted a dosage of their own medicine? Surely a great man like him was allowed to have a couple of girlfriends? Didn’t his wife just go ahead and marry another rich man after her husband’s death? Look at how their government worked secretly with the FBI, the CIA, the Mafia, and whatever dark forces lurking among the undercurrents of their society? And you still call America the most powerful country in the world?
Which is why it would be interesting to observe how Dr Jerry Kroth’s Coup d’etat: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy as a Chinese ebook will be received in the Chinese world. Based on his previous book, Conspiracy in Camelot (2003), and on the admissions of a grassy knoll gunman and the deathbed confession of a CIA spymaster, this book presents what Dr Kroth refers to as “the single, most plausible theory of the assassination” — that “Lyndon Johnson, the CIA and the Mafia, acting in concert, carried one of the greatest crimes in American history”.
Indeed, not only has Dr Kroth examined in Coup d’etat the strengths and weaknesses of the major conspiracy theories already out there, but he also scrutinizes his own composite theory as diligently and mercilessly as a biologist would with a specimen mounted on his microscope slide. Much emphasis is placed on Lee Harvey Oswald and how he could have been framed as one of the most notorious killers in American history. Dr Kroth’s account on how various parties could have conspired to have President Kennedy and his brother Robert murdered is vivid and chilling. There is a sense of dark humor as well: “At the time Tippit was shot, Oswald was eating popcorn in the Texas Theater.”
What is fascinating – that is, if you think horror stories are fascinating – is how, according to Dr Kroth, a web of deceit and manipulation could have been cast around Oswald to slowly but surely set him up as a coldblooded lone killer. Also fascinating is how so many people from a great diversity of political, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds could have hated President Kennedy so much that they had been happy to actively support or passively allow the planning and implementation of the assassination plan. As for the 78 mysterious deaths, many of them violent, that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s – it is certainly fascinating to know that a great number of these people had been ignored by the Warren Commission and, had they lived, could have finally had a chance to testify for the House Select Committee Intelligence.
So, yes, Coup d’etat: The Assassination of President John K. Kennedy is a fascinating book. Believe it or not, the book is an indicator of the extent to which one man could have had a chance to make a whole nation so much better that some of those around him could not wait to kill him. It shows how precious hope is and has always been, and surely will continue to be, even in the darkest hours of the American history.