Dennis Sewell

What Conspiracy?

The Killing of Robert F Kennedy


W W Norton 416pp £20.95 order from our bookshop

Some time ago Christopher Hitchens disinterred an aperçu of Conor Cruise O’Brien that ‘intellectuals who were too fastidious to sacrifice civility and objectivity for the revolution could quite often be induced to make these very sacrifices for the counter-revolution’. A similar trait can be observed among the panjandrums of American publishing. Although they make a lot of noise about freedom of speech, they nevertheless set impossibly high thresholds of authentication before anyone seeking to advance a conspiracy theory, but lay down a welcome mat for authors of emollient rebuttals.

Thus, from the presses of Random House in 1993 came Gerald Posner’s Case Closed (Oswald did it), and last year from Little, Brown, Norman Mailer’s Oswald’s Tale (Lee acted alone). Meanwhile, the doyen of the Warren Commission’s critics, Mark Lane, can only get published by a one-Apple Mac outfit in the boondocks.

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