Josiah Thompson was headed for a dull career as a college philosophy professor when he took an interest in the assassination of JFK.
In 1966, he gained access to Abraham Zapruder’s film of the assassination, then under lock and key at the National Archives. By analyzing the film frame by frame, Thompson became was the first person (outside of the CIA) to forensically analyze the most important piece of evidence in the case of the murdered president. In his classic book, “Six Seconds in Dallas,” Thompson posed–and answered–a question that the Warren Commission studiously avoided: what does Zapruder’s film tell us?
In many ways, the parameters of Thompson’s analysis set the terms for decades of JFK debate. Thompson showed that the Warren Commission’s account did not not reflect what can be seen on the film; that the gunfire that struck to the presidential limousine occurred within six seconds, and that it came from two directions, and The book was a milestone in JFK research, demonstrating that JFK researchers could do more authoritative analysis than the Warren Commission. It was a turning point for Thompson too. He threw over academia and he went on to a long and fascinating career as a private eye in San Francisco, which he recounts in his memoir, Gumshoe.
Now Thompson is revisiting the JFK story with new findings and thinking about the crime of Dallas. He sequel to “Six Second in Dallas,” titled”Last Second in Dallas,” will be published next November.
At once a historical detective story and a deeply personal narrative by a major figure in the field, Last Second in Dallas captures the drama and sweep of events, detailing government missteps and political bias as well as the junk science, hubris, and controversy that have dogged the investigation from the beginning.