Coming: ‘Last Second in Dallas,’ by Josiah Thompson 

Josiah Thompson was headed for a dull career as a college philosophy professor when he took an interest in the assassination of JFK.

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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.

23 thoughts on “Coming: ‘Last Second in Dallas,’ by Josiah Thompson ”

  1. I just received my copy of “Last Second in Dallas” and read it in 48 hours.
    Thompson’s earlier book, “Six Seconds in Dallas,” was the best of the early assassination studies. The new book adds quite a bit more:
    1. The Ramsey Panel, which contradicted the findings of Dr. Barger and the HSCA acoustics panel, was actually run by Dr. Luis Alvarez. He was a ringer for the WC. His “studies” of the “jet effect” and “neuromuscular reaction” to explain frames 313-315 were discredited and dishonest regarding non-supportive data. He did the same ting with the Barger data, ignoring the accuracy of the sound impulses and relying entirely on “cross talk” that did not affect the validity of the results. At the same time, he completely ignored other examples of cross talk which disproved his theory. He performed a similar function for the government on the “Vela” Panel, where he completely ignored verified evidence of an Israeli-South African nuclear test in the Indian Ocean on 9/23/79.
    He was an “expert” and also a Nobel laureate. He was also what we call in trial law a “painted lady” (meaning a whore). He was completely dishonest in his work. He was the scientific equivalent of William Harvey – a die hard enemy of dissenters.
    2. Thompson declares that the errors of the Bethesda autopsy team were probably unintentional and due to incompetence. Hard to argue that one, but, in a footnote, he quotes Sandra Spencer, one of the Naval photographers working the autopsy. She said the photos shown to her by the WC were not the same ones she had taken. She also stated that some of the photos she took were taken after the procedure and while the morticians from Gawler & Sons were preparing the body. This might account for the “clean” photo of the rear of the head, despite everyone agreeing that a large avulsive defect existed in the right lower occiput.
    3. Something new, at least to me: The x-rays revealed “a snowstorm of radio-opaque minute metal fragments” beginning above the right temple and extending upward and rearward. Full metal jacket bullets such as those fired by Oswald’s rifle do not shed lead after striking a body. Only soft-tipped hunting ammo has this effect. The “snowstorm” of fragments seen on x-ray could not have come from LHO’s rifle.
    4. The DPD motorcycle tape, now proven accurate, along with the Z film and Zapruder’s reflexive “jiggle” response upon hearing the muzzle blast of each shot, make it clear that the 313 shot came from the knoll, and was followed by a second head shot, at 328, originating from the TSBD.

    The Army football team won several national championships in the 1940’s with Glenn Davis (Mr. outside) and Doc Blanchard (Mr. inside). The Green Bay Packers of the 1960’s had the same arrangement with Paul Hornung (Mr. outside) and Jim Taylor (Mr. inside). In terms of this debate, I like to think of Thompson as “Mr. inside” and Jeff Morley as “Mr. outside.”
    Or, in newspaper terms, Thompson answers the “what, where and how” and Morley provides, or attempts to provide, the “who and why.”

  2. You don’t even need the Z film to prove the official story bunk. The low bullet hole in the President’s jacket and shirt. The testimony of FBI agents at the autopsy about wound location. The photo(s) of JFK just before the shots rang out, showing his jacket hiked up only minimally. The Single Bullet Theory dies on the spot. Whatever other theory you want to put forward, you have to base it on these facts.

  3. I look forward to this book which I knew was coming a few years ago because I saw a presentation given by Josiah Thompson at the JFK Lancer Conference in November of 2013, where he covered some of the topics in his forthcoming book.

    Some eye-opening stuff.

  4. I feel that after 56 years the truth about what happened on 22 November 1963 can only be ascertained as nothing more than very sophisticated military/ defense intelligence operation. When reading and studying the real history of that period it is very clear that these entities felt that President Kennedy was a threat to national security. But in reality the military/defense intelligence apparatus was the real threat to national security. The emergency room trauma surgeons and nurses who tried to save President Kennedy at Parkland Hospital were not “country bumpkin” doctors, but highly trained trauma room specialists who saw 20–30 gunshot victims a week. They knew that President Kennedy was shot twice from the front, once in the throat, and high in the forehead that exited the right rear of his head. They observed cerebellar tissue. The point is these medical professionals knew what entrance and exit wounds looked like. If you really have doubts as to what these doctors saw with their own eyes, then I suggest you listen and watch Douglas Horne’s presentation about what took place at Bethesda Naval Hospital hours later. The Naval autopsy doctors performed clandestine post-mortem pre-autopsy surgery on President Kennedy to remove bullets and to obliterate any evidence of frontal shots to President Kennedy. The only entity that murders in this fashion are the military and defense intelligence agencies. Furthermore, Attorney General Robert Kennedy on the night of his brother’s murder asked CIA director John McCone, “did the CIA killmy brother?” The mainstream media since that day in 1963 to this very day, August 10th, 2020 has always known this but could never tell or report this horrible story to the AMERICAN public. As you all very well know, Lee Oswald was never convicted of anything. This man was not the,nut job lone maniac as MSM has made him out to be. Rather Lee Oswald was a low level intelligence operative who got hung out to dry.


    Anybody here (or on MaryFerrell or anywhere) know if there has ever been a dna test of Lee’s 2 daughters and Robert’s son and daughter to prove one way or another whether they are closely related??? And therefore the guy who came back from the Soviet Union is the real original Lee H. Oswald or not??? Let me know–seems kind of obvious this should have been done to verify one way or the other. Mrs. Marina is still alive and so is Mrs. Vada so let me know because I intend to call them and see if we can get this done with their children before I’m dead. And I may actually write some of my brilliant ideas about this murder which are mostly how about the investigations were and similarly how incompetent all the persons were who had the actual witnesses and they didn’t ask all the questions they should have (or did it badly as some of them actual admitted in their books!).

  6. This is a reply for Seth about the limo. Yes Seth I do believe that the limo would have been a key piece of evidence and I would think (even though I’m no expert) that if the windshield had a bullet hole in it showing it came from the front that would be pretty hard to ignore. The blood splatter evidence? The bullet fragments that they would certainly find would most certainly dispel the single bullet theory and that there had to be more than one shooter. But none of that happened because they destroyed valuable evidence while the limo sat at Parkland hospital. You don’t find that strange?

    Thanks again for the chance to comment but I cannot let the limo evidence rest. It would have been a key piece of this puzzle but orders from someone destroyed all of it and key evidence. Have a great day.

    And it’s also pretty clear to me and many others that the Z film has been altered so why study frames when many believe it is not legitimate. That too became part of the coverup. So keep watching that as it’s right in front of you to see too.

    I appreciate the response

    1. Ed. The Limo is full of evidence. Of course, since you mention the word “ IF”, I discount the rest of your theory. There was no hole in the window.

      “They”. Another bend leading to more speculation. No if… no they…

      Altered film? If you sincerely believe that?! Ok.

      I do not need to “ keep watching” Ed. I’m embarrassed to say this BUT…the evidence that a Single bullet struck both JFK and JC is sitting directly in front of the eyes of every last researcher who has ever undertaken the effort to actually examine the Zapruder Film WITHOUT bias. You know, from an evidentiary perspective. And everyone has simple missed it because they don’t make notes on what it is that they see. Soon enough.

  7. Seth, you don’t have any information at all. Your statements lack logic-evidence and sense. Listen to the acoustics(don’t be misguided by the untruths of echoes) There were too many shots fired for the bolt action on Mannlicher It couldn’t be done by experts (Oswald was not an expert) You can’t hinge everything on camera timing. How about “magic bullet” theory I suppose you subscribe to that insanity? Sorry about the nastiness of my post I have too much information on this subject

    1. My 2 cents is needed here : O.P. Wright said to “Tink” Thompson the ” magic bullet HE held for 45 minutes was ” lead colored” with a ” POINTED TIP” !! I have found that there is ONE particular round made for the 6.5mm Carcano rifle which is NOT copper jacketed and is NOT round nosed, liked C.E. 399. It is made of STEEL and it IS POINTED !! I’ve read somewhere about a well known GERMAN marksman and hunter who LOVED the Carcano as his favorite rifle and who owned a large game preserve where prominent Americans were hunting as JFK’s head exploded in Dallas.As Dulles loved Reinhard Gehlen and helped hide the SS backgrounds of more than a few rocket men……not to mention that Oswald stayed at Michael Paine’s house the night before the assassination and Paine’s BOSS at Bell Aerospace was Walter Dornberger, Hitler’s CHIEF of the Nazi rocket program…..people should start considering NAZIS as well as mobsters and CIA rogues !!

  8. robert e williamson jr

    On May 26,2020 at 10:13 pm I commented on you original post: “Seth did you come up with any more info on the precision of the speed of the spring drive in the camera?”

    I’m pretty curious about what you have bought up here. I’m even more amazed that with all the effort expended by others this subject has not been investigated before now.

    I’m not even in the same league with so many who write here but I was alive then and I care about the truth here a great deal.

    It seems to me that CIA would undoubtedly support this scenario if it would prove their story. What your theory doesn’t explain is the extensive lying and misrepresentation of fact they have engaged in all these long years.

    If we are going to split hairs with respect to the film speed you might benefit from knowing, for instance the temperature in Dallas Nov 22 1963, metal expands and contracts according to the ambient air temperature.

    It was cold enough that morning that citrus growers were concerned about frost, but the weather warmed as the day went on.

    That said other sources claim the low the night before was 40-50F and temps warmed to ~ 70F.

    Thanks Jeff

  9. Hello folks. I’ll start at the top and work my way down IF you don’t mind ( and even if you do).

    Robert: You’re so correct. However, the truth is often so hard for people to accept, especially with regard to the JFK assassination. I do like your logic however. In fact, I think I’m going to actually give your idea a very good going over and, as I actually do like the logic you presented about spilling the beans, I am beginning to lean toward doing just that. I really will consider it and make up my mind by the end of May.

    Yet, at the same time I do feel a bit lessened with your opener to me. Doubtful is the word I would use. I respect that you took the time to write. Yet, I would really want to know the answer to my question to you: Can you disregard what you think you know what the Zapruder film shows. Is an open mind out there Robert. Let me know.

    Ed: Best Evidence of where shots came from determined by examining the Limo? If you say so….but I do not feel that way about the Limo at all. I don’t think Oswald, he, his wife, etc are anything other than sad and depressing. You speak of forensics as if the hole in Kennedy’s back, wrappings, shirt, and jacket mean nothing. Oswald’s actions prove him to be a very confused and angry young man. He bought a rifle, he bought the PO Box, he broke routine and went to Paine house, he left ring behind, he told his own brother, after his arrest nothing….yet hammed it up to the tv in hall passing. But really, the issue is hard to accept after years of distortions, lies, and out-right deceptive authors and books on the subject. The evidence is on the Zapruder film. You actually have heard the truth Ed. You just accept want you read w/o looking deeper into it it appears. I could care less about Case Closed 1,2, 6, 7. I care about number, angles, time. The numbers don’t lie Ed. Just the guy reading them. Don’t let authors tell you their views of the Zapruder film. Study every frame. And, NO, I don’t think the forensics of the limo tell us anything about where the shots came from. Oswalds history, pattern, past, actions already tell us all we need to know.

    John: I think Oswald did it, knew he was screwed, took the Bus, grabbed a Cab, changed his clothing, went to go to Ruby’s but was intercepted by Tippit just a few yards from Ruby’s front door, and then was caught and killed two days later. The only reason to go near Ruby’s Apartment is 1. Get to Ruby’s House or, 2. Get to Bus Terminal and get out of Dallas. I vote number 1. But that’s ok…. he still pulled the trigger of the gun he bought and paid for and shipped.

    1. Seth, if you concede that LHO was headed to Ruby’s apartment, you have already agreed to a conspiracy. Why did he head to Ruby’s apartment? And why did Ruby kill him 48 hours later?
      (Please don’t give me Posner’s lament of Ruby’s concern for Jackie having to testify, leaving the dog in the car, the Western Union, etc.
      Mobsters know how to construct alibis. They also know to obey their capos…or else.)

      1. Ed. I’m not totally sure of your point you’re trying to make to me. I’m pretty sure I was clear that Oswald headed directly as he could, after leaving the TSBD, to get his gun and head toward Rub’s front door. Yet, the Bus Depot was near there too. I already feel that Ruby was supposed to get Oswald and stood him up. Proof? Well, none except that some people/workers at the Club claimed they saw the two together. This is not proof though. Just gravity moving them toward the same place. But, back to the main point: Oswald and Ruby may be connected and I vote they were. I do not put any stock in Posner’s “ I did it for Jackie” theory.

        Robert. The Camera speed is something that is a red-herring. Zapruder’s Camera ran at x-speed. If adjusted to the highest or most full trigger speed it means nothing. What is on the film happened at the speed we see it. Comparing it to anything else means nothing actually. In other words: It is what it is. My view is unchanged on the 18.3 FPS. It shows what it shows at “x” speed. It’s not like it started at 25fps and wound down to 17fps. It is constant. Period. The cold? Wear gloves I guess.

        Chuck: I’ve no idea where to start with your note. Acoustics? Depending on where you stood you heard x shots. The first witnesses reported 3 shots. More shot nonsense didn’t begin until much later. Single bullet?? Well, I don’t subscribe to theory. I subscribe to facts. Camera timing??? Who cares about the camera? I care about the distances and this is measured in time and linear feet and the individual frames of that film are nothing more than a visual stopwatch. That why I care about the camera’s ability.

        As for Oswald’s ability with the rifle: Oswald had tested with a score of 212, 2 points higher than the minimum score for a “sharpshooter”. He did not get the required 220 -250 for “Expert Status”.

        Don’t worry about the tone of your post sir. You can’t help that you’re misinformed, or biased, or just plain wrong. Once again: Watch the Film CAREFULLY. It’s sitting right in front of your eyes. And every last one of you has missed it.

    2. I can prove (and have in front of five different impartial audiences) that Oswald not only did not shoot anyone, but that he could not have. All one really needs is a stopwatch (Zapruder film as a backup) and trig tables. You cannot get a rifle in the “Oswald window” higher than 42 feet. Unfortunately, the sill of his supposed window is 56 feet off the street surface. Next?

  10. Why did oswal d go home to get his pistol? Because he saw right away that he was set up. His help promised for a get away wasn’t there.


      Ok let’s get the wording right—I started 20 years ago and never wrote everything I have to say, but since I finally got around to trying to read Bugliosi’s masterpiece and he can’t get it right either—the damn gun is not a “pistol” in modern terminology, it is a “revolver”.

  11. Edward Nierstedt

    I agree with Robert. Let’s hear it Seth. Proves Oswald did it? Would love to see that or hear what you have to say because that’s pretty funny. Oswald??

    It’s just a shame that forensics experts never got to examine the limo. That would have been the best evidence of where the shots came from don’t you think. If only we had that evidence now so we could start Case Closed 2 and saved Mr. Posner all the time he wasted on his book trying to prove Oswald did it too.

    Have a great Tuesday and again would love to hear the TRUTH some day but we never will. Very sad.

  12. robert e williamson jr

    Mmmm, seriously Seth? Well I have great news for you. What you have described above seems a reference to something that has been missing from this saga all along, the TRUTH.

    The good news is that if you were to simply spill the beans here about what it is you are so excited about I’m sure you will end up famous.

    For IF, you in fact are sitting on the solution to this puzzle no one will be able to steal the TRUTH from you.

    So let’s have it.

  13. It is unfortunate that this man’s work, hailed as ground-breaking, is incorrect in so many observations. Six Seconds in Dallas was full of hype and conspiracy hoops. The entire shooting lasted, by using the Zapruder Camera as the standard, from frame 160 (missed shot) to 313 (last shot), approximately 8.35 seconds. Yet incredibly, this time standard may not even be accurate as Zapruder spring-loaded mechanism would only be clocked at 18.3 frames per second when fully wound. We have no way to determine for sure it’s last wind-up.

    1. Yeah, imagine how fast Greer really turned his head as would have been evidenced by a properly moving film. If only Zapruder had remembered to wind his camera to film the president. But remember, he had vertigo and chose a dangerous place to stand to film. His mind was on his precarious perch.

    2. Actually, Oswald fired all three shots over a period of 11.2 seconds, i.e., from 1.4 seconds *before* Zapruder resumed filming at Z-133 until the fatal head shot at Z-313.

  14. I also have my take on each frame of the Zapruder film. It actually proves that Oswald did it and, if there is a writer out here who would like to partner up on a last book about the assassination, from what we can actually prove, I’ve got a story for you. Actually, it’s not a story. It’s something that hasn’t appeared in print, on tv, in papers, on discussion boards, or anywhere that I’ve seen. And I’m dying to share it with someone.

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