What I’m Reading
Did Dulles Do Dallas? The Devil’s Chessboard: David Talbot’s Epic Expose on the demise of JFK
Baby Your A Rich Man: Stan Soocher pieces together the Financial Fights of the Fab Four
JFK Research has entered a new phase recently. As the ‘Crime of the Century’ (the 20th Century that is) reached its’ 50th anniversary in 2013 researchers began to feel that many of the pieces to the puzzle had fallen in place. The half-century of researching, debating and arguing had broadened our perspective as to what transpired that fateful day in 1963.
David Talbot’s well written volume on CIA spymaster Allen Dulles, The Devil’s Chessboard (Harper) is perhaps the most interesting JFK volume since Jim Douglass’ epic 2010 book ‘JFK and the Unspeakable’ . Talbot does not make an overt argument that Dulles, whose long enigmatic career takes up more than half of this 700 page tome, orchestrated the plot that led to JFK’s death. He really doesn’t need to. The plot was intricate, precise and diabolical and the reality is that the people with the abilities to create such a plot only exist in a certain strata of our social world: the intelligence community.
Talbot is a smooth and easy to read writer. He takes complex scenarios and manages to illuminate them with such ease that you are able to digest their implications quickly. Perhaps the largest and most significant piece to the puzzle that Talbot highlights in The Devil’s Chessboard is the fact that it appears that Dulles was a supporting force in the attempted coup against De Gaulle in 1961. In between the Bay of Pigs operation and JFK’s famous visit to Paris in 1961 a serious overthrow of the French government was in place that came very close to happening. You won’t read about it in history books, but it bore all the hallmarks of those pre-packaged coups in Guatemala, Iran and Indonesia that the CIA and its’ allies have admitted to orchestrating.
Did Dulles do Dallas? Who is #1?…….That would be telling…;-)
I actually found lawyer and associate professor Stan Soocher’s book on the Beatles legal woes a bit more disturbing that Talbot’s conspiratorial implications. Well read Beatle fans think they know much or the story of how the Beatles financial fortunes spiraled out of control in the late 1960s and eventually led to their demise in 1970. What is not too well know are the facts, figures and actions outlined by Soocher in this dry matter-of-factly- written book that covers many of the financial pitfalls the band faced from the origin on up until today. The amount of time and energy that consumed the Fab Four after they broke up in attempting to untangle their financial arrangements is mind boggling. Needless to say Allen Klein is in the middle of a lot of these problems but isn’t the only one. A far more sinister character, Morris Levy, is covered in many of the chapters on John Lennon’s 1970’s legal battles. Levy apparently was a harder, meaner and perhaps even more cut-throat version of Klein and he fought Lennon tooth and nail over a copyright lawsuit and then a recording deal that left Lennon so disillusioned with the music industry that he went into retirement in 1975.
Lennon’s lawsuits with Levy were highly charged and personal and ending with rulings that effectively favored Lennon when they came to head in the late 1970s. Of course we all know the final chapter of Lennon’s comeback in 1980. He begins recording new material, signs a record deal with the newly formed Geffen Records and spends his final days, hours and minutes in the midtown recording studios close to his Upper Westside home…..finally on December 8, 1980 he is brutally gunned down. Was Chapman a lone nut? Did certain parties have a real motive to murder Lennon??? Soocher has perhaps given up ample food for thought as to who else may have had the means, motive and opportunity to snuff out the outspoken Mr Lennon. hmmmm