DAVID VON PEIN SAID:
"Reclaiming History" author Vincent Bugliosi has, in my opinion, written a very factual book, with only a very few mistakes cropping up here and there (that I noticed).
That doesn't mean I always agree with everything Vince Bugliosi [VB] says in his JFK book. Because that's not the case at all. In fact, I disagree with him on several different issues re. the Kennedy case....e.g., the timing of when the "Single-Bullet Theory" bullet struck the victims; the specifics of what happened to the bullet from Lee Harvey Oswald's first (missed) shot; the very strange flip-flop that Vince seems to do on pages 423-424 regarding the HSCA's insane "upward" trajectory of the SBT bullet path through JFK's body; and VB's criticism of Gerald Posner in a couple of places (particularly with respect to a John Connally bullet-fragment issue).
But even with my own above-mentioned criticisms, Vince has still written the best book ever penned on the JFK assassination. And when placed next to Dale Myers' comprehensive book on the J.D. Tippit murder ("With Malice"), a researcher doesn't need to buy any other books dealing with the events of November 22, 1963, in order to know the full truth about what occurred that day in Dallas. (IMHO, that is.)
TYPOS AND SMALL ERRORS OF FACT.....
There are very, very few misspelled words within this mass of text, which I found impressive all by itself. There are some misspellings, though...."bullet" comes out "bulled" on page 480, and "Dealey" is missing its second "e" in at least two places in the book, but the total number of such spelling mistakes is extremely small for a publication of this length.
There are, however, a few small factual errors within the tonnage of information supplied to the reader on these many pages. But none of the errors in the book, in my opinion, are major enough to discredit (in any way) Bugliosi's bottom-line "Oswald Acted Alone" conclusion.
On this webpage, I discuss what I believe are some errors made by Vince B. relating to the bullet fragments removed from Governor Connally's body by Dr. Gregory.
I've catalogued a few more minor mistakes in "Reclaiming History" below. I did this for no particular reason; perhaps just to illustrate that not even the "King of Common Sense and Logical Thinking" (who is, IMO, Mr. Vincent T. Bugliosi) is totally immune to making a mistake every now and then.
Here's my short "Errors" list:
1.) Vince tells us that the Secret Service follow-up car that was used in the Presidential motorcade on 11/22/63 was a "1955" Cadillac. (It was really a 1956 Caddy. In fact, Vince twice errs on the model year of that vehicle, at one point labeling it a "1958" car.)
2.) VB has Eddie Barker located at Parkland Hospital when JFK's death was announced. (Barker was really at the Dallas Trade Mart at that time.)
3.) Patton Avenue is called "Patton Street" and Beckley Avenue is referred to as "Beckley Street" at various points throughout the book. But, to be fair, VB also mentions Beckley "Avenue" correctly, on page 765. (I'm really nitpicking now, huh?)
4.) In footnotes on pages 118 and 1475, Vince three times identifies the man who shot Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, as "William Hinckley". (He should have said "John Hinckley". Vince, though, correctly calls Hinckley "John" on several other pages in the book.)
5.) This one has me scratching my head a little bit (although it's only a very small issue and doesn't mean much at all) -- In Chapter One (on page 37), Mr. Bugliosi includes a very strange version of Nellie Connally's last words spoken to JFK that I had never heard before.
Just prior to the shooting in Dealey Plaza, Nellie turned and said to the President, "You can't say that Dallas doesn't love you, Mr. President". But Bugliosi's version of this quote is quite different. In fact, it's not even close to the quote I just mentioned. I could be wrong I suppose, but I don't think VB's variant is an accurate one.
6.) Vince has the date of Elvis Presley's death listed incorrectly on page 872. VB has it as August 17, 1977 (it was actually August 16th of that year).
7.) Page 897 contains an error with respect to Secret Service agent George Hickey. On that page, Bugliosi claims that Hickey was in the "vice president's car" during the motorcade. Hickey, however, was one of eight SS agents riding in the Secret Service follow-up car immediately behind JFK's limousine.
VB repeats this same oddball error on page 925. Oddly, though, Vince gets it right on the very next page (page 926) as he correctly says that Hickey was riding in JFK's Secret Service follow-up car.
8.) In a lengthy and excellent footnote on page 953, Vince makes a slip of the tongue when he says that Bullet CE399 caused the President's head wounds. Obviously, he didn't mean to say "Commission Exhibit No. 399" caused JFK's head wounds. It was an honest mistake.
But I'm guessing there are some rabid conspiracists out there somewhere who will contend that this error negates every argument in the ENTIRE book and, therefore, Bugliosi cannot be trusted.
9.) Vince gets his DPD officers mixed up on page 938 of the CD's endnotes, when he claims that is was "Officer McDonald" who stopped Oswald in the 2nd-Floor lunchroom. (It was actually Officer Baker.)
Mr. Bugliosi, of course, knows full well that it was Marrion Baker in the lunchroom, because of the many other times in the book when VB gets Baker's name right when referring to the lunchroom encounter with Oswald.
10.) Another confusion about names crops up on page 942 of the endnotes, when VB says that Ralph Paul (a close friend of Jack Ruby's) had several telephone conversations with "Oswald" over the weekend of the assassination. Vince, of course, meant to say that Paul was speaking to Ruby, not Oswald.
(Note -- I noticed that the number and frequency of small mistakes like this increases during the last several pages of endnotes on the CD-ROM. I don't know if this indicates a lack of proofreading these pages in the days just before the book went to press or not; but I suppose that's one potential explanation for it.)
11.) Vincent B. tells us multiple times in the book that Lee Oswald started out the day on November 22, 1963, with "$13.87" in his pockets. But this has to be incorrect. Why? Because the $13.87 figure is the exact total that Oswald had on his person when he was arrested on that day. And we know that he spent $1.23 on bus and cab rides PRIOR to being arrested. So, Lee had to have started the day with at least $15.10 on him.
It was probably even a little more than $15.10, because LHO also bought that Coke, remember, from the TSBD soda machine (and I can only assume he didn't break into the machine and pilfer the beverage).
But even the Warren Commission must have forgotten about the Coke purchase, because it's not reflected in the WC's microscopic examination of Oswald's finances that is furnished in the Warren Report, but the odd amount of precisely "$1.23" is mentioned for Oswald's bus and taxi fares on 11/22/63.
12.) Page 25 contains what I think is an error regarding President Kennedy's 1961 Lincoln Continental limousine. I could be wrong about labelling this item as an "error", but I don't think I am. On page #25, Mr. Bugliosi says that JFK's limousine weighed "about seventy-five hundred pounds with its special build and heavy armor".
I think the comment about "heavy armor" is incorrect, because I don't think the limo was equipped with any "armor" until after the assassination of JFK.
Furthermore, according to the two source notes that Bugliosi provides on page 25 that relate directly to the "armor" issue ["2 H 66, WCT Roy H. Kellerman; 2 H 129, WCT William Robert Greer"], the word "armor" does not appear on either of those two pages of Warren Commission testimony.
13.) An error pops up on page 5 when Vince claims that Wesley Frazier's car was parked "in the carport" on the morning of 11/22/63. But, to be technical, Frazier's car was actually parked outside the carport that morning, as is illustrated in Warren Commission Exhibit No. 447.
14.) Another trivial mistake concerning Wesley Frazier's automobile crops up on page 6 of "Reclaiming History", when Bugliosi says that Frazier owned a "beat-up '59 Chevy four-door". But Wesley actually owned a 1953 or 1954 Chevrolet. I'm not exactly sure which year is correct. But it was either a '53 or '54 Chevy. It was definitely not a '59 vehicle.
15.) At least twice in the endnotes of the book (on pages 340 and 393), Bugliosi incorrectly states that Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was found "in the sniper’s nest". But Vince, of course, knew full well when he was writing his book that the gun was found on the other side of the sixth floor of the Book Depository, not in the "sniper's nest".
16.) On page 277, when talking about the aftermath of the murder of Lee Oswald by Jack Ruby in the DPD basement, Vince makes an error when he says:
"Pettit manages to corner Captain Fritz next. "Do you
have the man who fired the shot?"
"We have a man, yes," Fritz replies tersely."
But the person to whom NBC reporter Tom Pettit was talking was not Captain J.W. Fritz at all. It was another Dallas police officer. Bugliosi, however, is not entirely to blame for this "Fritz" gaffe. The blame goes primarily to TV Guide Magazine and its January 1964 article entitled “America’s Long Vigil”. It is within that lengthy TV Guide article, which is the source used by Mr. Bugliosi for the above quotes which appear in "Reclaiming History", where that mistake about Pettit speaking to Fritz occurs.
17.) On page 117 of endnotes, we find this rather embarrassing error [see the highlighted text in the image below]....
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, however, died on May 2, 1972, some three years prior to the writing of the FBI memo mentioned by Vincent Bugliosi in the book excerpt seen above. Clarence M. Kelley was the FBI Director in 1975, not Hoover.
The "Jean/Joan" Davison error by Bugliosi was discussed here in May 2007.
Plus, I recently took note of another very tiny, insignificant misspelling of a person's name in a couple of places in VB's book, when he sometimes spells Ted Sorensen's last name "Sorenson". (A very common slip. I think it's really spelled "...sen"; at least it's spelled that way on the covers of the books that Ted has authored; and that's a pretty good place to go for spelling verification.)
Detailed "Reclaiming History" review HERE.
David Von Pein