Reporting on the Kennedy Assassination

Willem L. Oltmans; Michael A. Rinella, ed.; David Stephenson, trans.

In March 1964 the Dutch journalist Willem Oltmans (1925–2004) encountered Marguerite Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother, at JFK International Airport. In April 1977, he found himself testifying before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). In the thirteen years between these two events, Oltmans conducted his own investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy—an undertaking that would bring him into contact with a host of individuals with prominent roles in the case, most notably George de Mohrenschildt (1911–1977), whose involvement with Oswald and whose own untimely death remain mysteries to this day.

Reporting on the Kennedy Assassination is Oltmans’s account of his investigation, published here for the first time in English. Combining personal memoir and factual reporting, the book chronicles the journalist’s interviews with figures such as Jim Garrison and Cyril Wecht, his long and complicated friendship with de Mohrenschildt and his wife, and his own whirlwind experience in the media spotlight. Most saliently, Reporting on the Kennedy Assassination offers an intimate look at Oltmans’s collaboration with de Mohrenschildt on the book that would later become Lee Harvey Oswald as I Knew Him, and at the circumstances surrounding de Mohrenschildt’s death and his possible implication in Oswald’s actions.

“Rinella’s commentary is a vital reminder of the importance of reading primary source material critically; indeed, it should serve as inspiration and model for other editors seeking to embed fact checking into primary sources. . . books like this one are a vital resource for anyone who cares about truth in public discourse.

—H-Net Reviews

“Astonishing. ”

—Oliver Stone, to Willem Oltmans describing his reaction to an early English translation of the book, July 1979.

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Systematically annotated and fact-checked, with an insightful introduction from editor Michael Rinella and a wealth of rare photographs and letters, this book provides a fascinating portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial journalists even as it completes a critical chapter in the investigation of the Kennedy assassination.

About the Author

Dr. Michael A. Rinella is Senior Acquisitions Editor at the State University of New York Press. He is the editor of George de Mohrenschildt's Lee Harvey Oswald as I Knew Him, also from Kansas.