What People are Saying About
Here are some of the comments that have been received from those who
have already finished reading Real Answers:
Recommended as a purchase for libraries by
Vol. 95, No. 13, page 1132, March 1, 1999
American Library Association
Ready to take a trip into the HCSA's records and find some real
answers to many unanswered questions over the last 30 plus years? Gary Cornwell has done
just that with his excellent work Real Answers. As a former prosecutor for the Department
of Justice, Cornwell knows how to obtain and present facts. This book is the perfect
example of, what I would consider, his best work. Cornwell has an exceptional ability to
make the reader want to know more. Unable to put this book down, I was completely drawn
into 1963 and the streets of Dallas. Cornwell presented information in a clear, concise
and well-researched manner. Cornwell is able to sift through the assumption and present
the Real Answers. For anyone interested in the JFK assassination, or for those researching
the case, here is a definite addition to your collection. I have read over twenty books on
the subject and for the first time, Real Answers makes real sense. A job well done.
Review published in Amazon.com
The assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
was one of those pivotal events of the twentieth century that so impressed those living at
the time that they forever after would be able to tell you where they were and what they
were doing when the news of his death was announced on that tragic November day in
1963. Based on the ensuing Warren Commission investigation, the official
governmental explanation was that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone and unassisted
assassin. Relatively few believe that was the truth. What most people don't
realize is that there was a second and separate governmental investigation; even fewer
know what evidence and shocking revelations came from it. Between 1977 and 1979,
forty-five attorneys, investigators and researchers conducted the most thorough
investigation that has ever been made to determine whether there really was a
conspiracy. As the Deputy Chief Counsel for the Select Committee on Assassinations,
Gary Cornwell led that investigation. Finally, he reveals in Real Answers
the inside story of the Kennedy case, told by someone who was there. Cornwell
separates history from the speculations, rumors, guesses, and wild accusations that have
so long been obscuring the Kennedy assassination. In the end. Cornwell leaves you
with the honest and profoundly troubling truth concerning the killing of this American
president. Highly recommended.
The Midwest Book Review
My name is Alfredo I'm 17, a junior in highschool and ever since I saw the
film JFK by Oliver Stone, a door opened up in my mind. That was a couple of years ago when
I was younger, now I am doing a research paper on the JFK assassination for my english
class and I am currently reading a copy of Gary Cornwells' book Real Answers which I find
quite interesting and I have learned many more things which I was not aware of! My mind is
opened up for any information or theories but my theorie is this...Oswald was just a patsy
who was involved in the conspiracy but did not pull the trigger on Kennedy. Most of my
friends say I'm obsessed with the whole conspiracy on JFK but to me its important to
understand why and how this whole great movie was written, directed and produced...who
shot Kennedy, who had the power to cover it up,
and who benefited? At my age no one would think that I would be interested in such a
topic in my life but I am. My one wish is to travel to Dallas and to visit Dealey Plaza
for myself. Its one thing to see it on television than to actually be standing in the
place where the biggest conspiracy took place and where our 35th president was in my words
"Brutally assassinated". That to me would impact my life...the book Real Answers
really hooked me so much that I am almost done with it and its only been a couple of
days...this book is very informative and I believe very true...although I have my own
beliefs I find the book to be quite appealing to my own theories. Just remember that
whoever the conspirators we're they have already payed the
price...nobody escapes anything they do in this world...God sees all!
Alfredo L. Blume, Miami, Fl
*Pick of the Week*------------------Chosen by the editors of InfoBeat.com
REAL ANSWERS: THE TRUE STORY TOLD BY GARY CORNWELL, DEPUTY CHIEF COUNSEL
FOR THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS, IN CHARGE OF THE
INVESTIGATION OF THE JOHN F. KENNEDY ASSASSINATION - Gary T. Cornwell (Paleface
Press/Hardcover/205 pages) - (C) 1998 InfoBeat/Amazon
Throw out phrases like "Warren Commission" and "lone gunman theory"
and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy immediately pops into your head. But
the name "Select Committee" doesn't ring many bells, even thought the team was
convened in 1977 by the U.S. House of Representatives to get to the bottom of everything
from the conspiracy theories to the real facts of the Nov. 22, 1963, shooting in Dallas.
In "Real Answers," author Gary Cornwell addresses the lingering questions that
have long dogged the case since Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger. Cornwell, who was
the Deputy Chief Counsel for the SelectCommittee for Assassinations, presents an insider's
look at one of the most puzzling crimes of the 20th Century. Conspiracy theorists will
still havesomething to hang on to by book's end, but the ultimate lack of what can be
called "real answers" seems to open the door for many more questions that may
never be answered.
I am 18 years old and very interested in American History. I
Cornwell's approach to writing this book was very well chosen. The fact that
he does not try to tell the reader exactly what happened, but rather he
presents many theories, makes the book even more believable.
Surprisingly, there are only a handful of
books totally devoted to the House Select Committee on Assasinations. Gary
Cornwell's crucial role on the Committee makes his book a valuable contribution to the
study of the HSCA, and by extension, the JFK assassination.
The Last Hurrah Bookshop, Williamsport, PA
Mr. Cornwell has put together an exceptionally well-written account of
the Kennedy assassination and the work of the second government investigation, also known
as The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). I heartily recommend this fine
book to expert and novice alike; in fact, this is "the" book for the skeptic out
there. One word of warning: you won't be able to put it down!!!
(Author of "The Third Alternative-Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service and the JFK
Murder" (1993/1997) and "JFK: The Medical Evidence Reference" (1998) The
Vince Palamara on
pages xvii and 138 of ARRB's Final Report: Vince Palamara's Secret Service and General
Thank you, thank you. I LOVED "Real Answers," and am promoting
it whenever I can.
(Author of November Patriots, The Murder of John F. Kennedy)
I am thoroughly enjoying reading "Real Answers." The book is
both concise and well written. Of particular interest is your presentation "So, was
it a coverup?"
At the time of the assassination, I was a 24 year old Special Agent with the Intelligence
Division of the Internal Revenue Service stationed in Lubbock, Texas. On the week
following the assassination, I was in Dallas and visited in the office of James M. Cooner,
the Chief of the Intelligence Division for the Dallas district. During my visit with Mr.
Cooner, he told me how proud he was that two fellow Special Agents in the Dallas office
(one being special Agent James DePrato) had determined that Oswald had used a postal box
address in Dallas to order the rifle that had been used in the assassination. In my
meeting with Mr. Cooner I asked the question, "If the investigation (of the
assassination) determined that a conspiracy was involved, will this be made public?"
Mr. Cooner's response was "No, because of National Security reasons."
It should be noted that Mr. Cooner had over forty years experience in the Intelligence
Division, and prior to the "Reorganization" was in charge of all I.R.S.
Intelligence Activity west of the Mississippi. He was to the I.R.S. Intelligence what J.
Edgar Hoover was to the F.B.I.
James A. Ullrich, Attorney At Law, Conroe, Texas
In many ways this is one of the best books I've ever read on the
assassination. This is another book that would be a good book for newcomers to the case.
The book's primary purpose is to provide the reader with an overview of the work and
conclusions of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Warren Commission critics
will disagree with some of Cornwell's conclusions, such as his views on Lee Harvey Oswald
and on Oliver Stone's movie "JFK." However, Cornwell presents valuable facts and
arguments on such issues as the eyewitness testimony that a gunman (a second gunman) was
firing from the grassy knoll, the suspicious deaths of so many witnesses in the case, the
pronounced failure of the Warren Commission to seriouly investigate the possibility of
conspiracy, the acoustical evidence that a shot was fired from the grassy knoll, the rush
to judgment on the part of the Justice Department and the FBI in favor of the lone-gunman
scenario, and Oswald's association with right-wing Mafia man David Ferrie.
Michael Griffith, Author of
Compelling Evidence: A New Look at the Assassination of President Kennedy.
Reprinted from "The Best New Books on the JFK Assassination,".
(More of Michael's comments are set forth below)
Here is my comment: DONT READ THIS BOOK unless
you can risk loosing the hope that
cover-ups do not exist. The insights gained by taking the reader behind the scenes
changed my outlook and gave me chills.
C. Hill, Lakeway, Texas
This is an intriguing new spin on the matter of the Kennedy
assassination. D. Smith, Dallas, Texas
I have twice read your book, Real Answers. I had a short break between readings
but couldnt put it down during either of them. Congratulations on a very readable
and clearly argued piece of work. What you have to say is very interesting indeed. There
is one major argument that you make which I find especially compelling -- that the Warren
Commission was not engaged in a willfully deceitful `cover up as much as it was a
virtual prisoner of its own preconceived ideas. It was also acting under great political
pressure to present an explanation of what had occurred, an explanation that would allay
public fears and anxieties. In circumstances like this the old saying that `seeing is
believing is reversed: `believing is seeing. A collective organizational
mind-set takes over, which shapes the selective perception of `relevant and
`irrelevant evidence, and allows little scope for alternative or dissenting views.
As you rightly argue, because the WC arrived at the conclusions it did does not
necessarily mean that it was engaged in a conspiratorial attempt to mislead. It might
have been, but I find your explanation much more convincing. However, there are some
issues for me that are not resolved or explained in your book to my personal satisfaction.
For one, the WC was to a large extent `captured in its investigations by Hoover and
the FBI, who were hugely committed to the view that Oswald did it and acted alone. Also,
is it not possible that what you say of the WC also applied to the HSCA? Did the HSCA have
a mindset that led them to see only the evidence that Oswald was a guilty party and
disregard evidence to the contrary? Regarding the HSCAs view that the single bullet
theory was at least plausible and by no means outrageously contrived (as later depicted in
Stones JFK), cant it also be judged to be of a very low level of
probability, especially if it is claimed that the intact bullet found on the stretcher was
actually the single bullet in question? Does it not stretch credibility to believe that
the intact bullet that was found was the one that passed through both Kennedy and
Connally? What are the chances of such a bullet finishing up with this sort of low-level
damage after having passed through two bodies? I have watched the Zapruder film on
numerous occasions, and have seen many printed photos taken from its frames, and I
certainly agree with you that its messages are highly ambiguous. In my view the film does
not demonstrate conclusively that a/the headshot was fired from the right front.
Dr Robert Gregory
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration
Victoria University of Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
I am simply floored by your book.
I was going to track you down today and call you . . .
but I couldn't put the book down long enough to do that. Congratulations!
L. Hebert, Austin, Texas
I recently finished reading your book and felt I had to commend you for
a job well done.
I felt your book was going in the "Oswald did it. Period." direction at first,
but I was very pleased that your approach was more even tempered and without the vitriolic
emotion that often times detracts from well researched material. Real Answers is quite
readable and well written.
My best to you and I hope that your book does very well.
J. Scanlon, Kent, Virginia
Let me thank you for the autographed copy of your book.
It will always be a special part of my library. As you noted, interest in the death of
president Kennedy has become a part of my life that never seems to diminish. I've read
dozens of books, visited many web sites, watched every television program available and
had countless conversations with friends. I was thirteen years old at the time and
certainly remember what I was doing. I didn't realize what a profound influence this event
would have on my life until years later. I don't speak of this much to others since many
regard it as an obsession. I look it as more of a burning desire to know the truth about
an event that perhaps reshaped the lives of more people than actually realize it. If
nothing else, I've learned about the history of the time and reflected on the possible
ramifications to our society. You're absolutely correct, Gary, about the enormous volume
of information, theories and speculation surrounding the assassination and how confusing
this is to the average person. I've found myself over the years absolutely convinced after
reading each book that it was the definitive answer (even Gerald Posner had me switched to
the "other side" for a time!). From "high cabels" to agent's guns
going off to secret airplane compartments... the rollercoaster ride has been dizzying. I
work in the publishing business (newspaper advertising) and realize the power of the
written word. Hopefully I've learned to be somewhat more objective and skeptical over the
years thanks to the experience. Let me say that I found your book clear, concise and
refreshingly devoid of the redundant ramblings so often characteristic of books on the
subject. You were able to highlight the important issues of the assassination without
dwelling on issues designed to convince the reader of a pet theory. I easily got a sense
from your book that I was reading facts and information resulting from professional
investigations, not speculation. Please don't misunderstand. I'm sure there are many
serious researchers who propose theories in good faith and have substantial reasons to
back them. Many have devoted a lifetime of work in search of the truth. These people have,
right or wrong, kept the issue alive. I was especially impressed with your assessment of
the acoustic study. Being an electronic hobbiest and amateur scientist, I can appreciate
the value of the evidence. Further study in this area, as you propose, may be the only
remaining source of hard information. Further, I feel that your book has shed new light on
the Select Committee's work. It's true that most citizens have either not been aware of
the committee's work or have assumed the final report tainted with political or
"cover-up" influence. It was enlightening to read the perspective of someone
involved in the actual investigation. There are just a couple areas I might question. And,
of course, this may be a result of misinformation I've come across in the past. First,
regarding governor Connelly's wounds, I was under the impression that the bullet shattered
both a rib and wrist bone. When test fired into a goat and hitting bone, the bullet was
quite deformed. Also, I agree with your observation about delayed reactions to trauma but
in the case of the governor I wonder if the "puffing" of his cheeks is an
accurate marker of a hit, being an unconscious or involuntary reaction rather than a
conscious one. This, occurring after the president has obviously been struck, is very
compelling evidence to me as a layman of separate hits. Congratulations and thank you for
the excellent book. I admire the work you and the committee did and strongly feel you have
indeed provided "Real Answers."
J. DiPaolo, Willingboro, NJ
Let me just say that I am about a third of the way through your book REAL ANSWERS. I have
been very impressed with what I've read thus far. I'm sure I'll have a number of questions
and comments about your book once I've finished it, but I would like to briefly
discuss an argument you make on pp. 78-88 about Oswald's marksmanship and the firing time
of the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. You note that you took part in the HSCA rifle test, in
which the Carcano was fired at a rate of about 1.66 seconds per shot. Also, you suggest
that Oswald discarded the scope and either point-aimed or used the iron sights. You opine
that if Oswald point-aimed, this could explain how he could have missed the entire
limousine with one of his shots. As someone who has many years of experience with
marksmanship, and as someone who has qualified at all three Army levels of rifle
qualification (Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert), I have some doubts about your position
here. Is it not the case that none of the shooters in the HSCA rifle test managed to score
two hits out of three shots while firing the rifle at 1.6-1.7 seconds per shot? In vol. 8
of the HSCA volumes, we read: It is apparently difficult, but not impossible . . . to fire
3 shots, at least two of which score kills, with an elapsed time of 1.7 seconds or less
between any two shots, even though in the limited testing conducted [i.e., the HSCA rifle
test], no shooter achieved this degree of proficiency. (8 HSCA 185) So, according to this
statement, no shooter in that test actually managed to hit the target twice while firing
at a rate of 1.7 seconds or less per shot. I would add that in the HSCA test, any shot
that landed anywhere in the silhouette targets, which portrayed a man from waist to head,
was counted as a hit (or "kill") (8 HSCA 184). Yet, no one hit the target twice
while firing rapidly. In the 1967 CBS rifle test, eleven expert riflemen fired a Carcano
from a 60-foot tower at a moving target sled. Not one of those men scored two hits on his
first attempt, and seven of them failed to do so on any attempt. Oswald, who was described
by his Marine colleagues as a rather poor shot and as somewhat uncoordinated, would have
had only one attempt. If I read your argument correctly, you're saying that one of
Oswald's shots missed the entire limousine but that the other two struck Kennedy. I view
this scenario as unlikely. It seems unlikely that the same man who could miss the entire
limousine from 60 feet up and from less than 140 feet away (assuming the miss came on the
first shot) could then turn around and score two hits out of two shots in 5.6 seconds,
especially given the fact that he would have had ample time to track and draw a bead on
his target for the first shot. The first shot is usually accurate, as was the case in the
Warren Commission's rifle test. If it's going to be argued that Oswald was suffering from
buck fever, it seems rather arbitrary to theorize that this fever ended after the first
shot. The alternative is to suggest he was suffering from buck fever throughout the
shooting and that it was by sheer luck that his last two shots struck Kennedy. This theory
likewise strikes me as arbitrary and doubtful. And, if we assume Oswald used the iron
sights, wouldn't this make it very hard to explain how he could have missed the entire
limousine with his first and closest shot? I have a very hard time with this proposition.
Frankly, even assuming Oswald was excited and was point-aiming, I find it hard to
imagine how he could have missed the entire huge presidential limousine from 60 feet up
and from less than 140 feet away. I sincerely hope my comments above don't come across as
argumentative. It's just that from the time I first began to study the case, I have
been struck by the problems involved with Oswald's alleged shooting performance. The more
I have read on the matter, the deeper my doubts have become about the accuracy of the
various Oswald shooting scenarios.
Allow me to tell you a little bit about myself. I
became interested in the JFK case in 1991, after watching Oliver Stone's movie
"JFK." As a conservative Republican, I was sort of dragged to the film by my
mother. I was, to put it mildly, stunned by the film's claims. My interest aroused, I
began a reading adventure into the case that continues to this day. I have been very
frustrated over the nature of the literature on the case. Pro-Warren Commission and
pro-conspiracy books alike often contain egregious errors and even seemingly deliberate
distortions and omissions. This has led me to acquire and study the Warren
Commission volumes and the HSCA volumes. I have also read a great deal of the material
relating to the medical evidence that was released by the Assassination Records Review
Board over the last few years.
One last point, if I may: A keen area of interest for
me has been the backyard rifle photos. As a 16-year veteran of Army intelligence, I happen
to know some highly trained professional photographers and photographic lab technicians.
In the course of my research into the backyard rifle photos, I conducted interviews with
Mr. Art Kramer (an expert in photography who has taught advanced photography at the
collegiate level and who used to write a weekly column for a leading photography journal),
with two British photographic lab technicians (both of whom were members of the leading
photographic society in Britain), with Ms. Davette George (a professional photographer and
photo lab tech with an extensive background in graphic retouching), and with Mr. Brian Mee
(a highly experienced professional photographer and photo lab tech who has studied
advanced photography and negative analysis at two prestigious photographic institutes), to
name a few of the professionals whom I interviewed. In particular, I spent many hours with
Mr. Mee going over the HSCA authentication of the backyard photos. After studying the
Photographic Evidence Panel's authentication, Mr. Mee expressed skepticism about several
of the panel's claims and also pointed out errors in their methodology. One point that
came under considerable criticism by the professionals I consulted was the panel's
explanation of the variant shadows seen in the backyard photos. Panel members Kirk and
McCamy explained in their testimony that the panel believed it had resolved the problem of
the variant shadows by way of a vanishing point analysis. Mr. Mee expressed strong
disagreement with this approach. He said that such an analysis did not really explain the
conflicting angles of the shadows. When I questioned the other professionals with whom I
was in contact, all of them were quite firm on the point that the variant shadows could
only have resulted from two different light sources. While I'm rambling on here a bit, I'd
like to mention another point that Mr. Mee brought up. The panel attempted to refute the
claim that the same background was used in all the backyard photos by pointing out that
there were minute differences in the distances between objects in the backgrounds,
differences so small that they had to be measured photogrammetically. This caught Mr.
Mee's eye. He observed that these tiny differences in the distances between background
objects were actually evidence of forgery. He stated that, given the manner in which these
photos were reportedly taken, the odds were astronomically remote that the distances
between objects in the backgrounds would vary to such a minute degree. Mr. Mee said that
if the camera had been handed back and forth twice to advance the film, as was reportedly
the case, the differences between background objects should have been much, much greater,
and that such a similarity in backgrounds would be difficult to achieve even when using an
automatic camera and when snapping all three photos in rapid succession.
Anyway, I apologize for rambling on. Allow me to again say how much
I'm enjoying your book. I think you have done a real service to the public and to the
historical record. I agree that it is unfortunate that the public isn't more aware of the
HSCA's work and findings. Though I don't agree with all of the Select Committee's
conclusions, I believe the information the committee produced was an historic step forward
in our understanding of the assassination.
I resumed reading your book today and just couldn't put it down until I finished. I would
just like to say that I think your book is one of the best books I've ever read on the
case. I believe it is just that good.
Michael Griffith, Author of
Compelling Evidence: A New Look at the Assassination of President Kennedy.