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"Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story" Lisa Pease review
Dawn Meredith Wrote:Full Article Archive

Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story
By C. David Heymann
Reviewed by Lisa Pease


As a researcher into a controversial subject – the assassinations of the sixties – people often ask me this question: How do you know which sources to believe and which to disbelieve?

My answer is this: When you read an author for the first time, check every single fact you don't already know from elsewhere. If a nonfiction book isn't even footnoted, it's not worth your time other than as a source of leads you'll have to check out on your own. Leads are not data. They are only possible data.

Hearsay, what someone said when they were not under oath, when nothing was at risk for them personally, I also treat as a lead, not data. Personally, I don't trust interviews much because people often misremember things, or enhance or embellish the truth, sometimes without realizing it. And some will simply lie for their own reasons, and none of us is so good that we can "just tell" who is lying or not. But by interviewing people you can sometimes get a lead on data for which there is some sort of a verifiable paper trail. And that can be valuable.

If the book is footnoted, check out the footnotes. And I mean, really check it out – don't just see if there is a footnote. Go to the library, go to the book referenced, go to that page number, and see if the note is correct. Was the correct reference on that page? Or did the author miss it? (Sometimes book pages change from one printing to the next so check a few pages on either side of the reference in case it's nearby.)

Most important, check to see if what is in the footnoted text is accurately represented. I've gone through people's footnotes and found sometimes, to my dismay, that the author misread the original text or is deliberately misrepresenting it.

What about things you can't check out, like interviews with people? Then two additional considerations come into play: the credibility of the person being interviewed, and the reliability of the interviewer. Did either person have a reason to lie? Did either person work for an intelligence service, a career which requires one to lie well? Have they lied or misquoted people in the past?

It is with these considerations in mind that I read C. David Heymann's latest book, Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story. If I had to describe the book in a single word it would be this: puerile. But because this book has gotten so much media attention, I will say more than one word. And because the book depends nearly entirely on hearsay, I have to examine the overall credibility of the author, as well.

Words to the wise.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

Messages In This Thread
"Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story" Lisa Pease review - by Peter Lemkin - 04-11-2009, 08:01 PM

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