Judyth Vary Baker, author of Me & Lee: How I came to know, love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald.
Very few people still believe the “official” line that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone-nut assassin of President John F. Kennedy. So much information has been coming to light in the past decade or two that that “official” position has lost all credibility.
If any doubt still lingers in your mind, this book, Me & Lee, will convince you! Recreating her memories of the summer of 1963 in New Orleans, Judyth Vary Baker tells her story, her own story, and her relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald. She relies on a prodigious memory, on scrapbooks full of momentos, photos, plus talking to others who were involved in her time in New Orleans (those that are still alive).
Judyth has kept quiet all these years, afraid for her life, essentially. After most of the main players from that summer died suspicious deaths (i.e., “murdered” – like Oswald), she feels lucky to be alive into the 21st century. She currently lives outside the USA, under the protection of another country. Even after fifty years, she pays, “. . . my own price for speaking up. Not only have I been subjected to rude insults and conspicuous harassment on the internet I have experienced mysterious car crashes that appear to have been efforts to discourage me from telling the world what I know. I have experienced death threats so terrifying that I applied for political asylum in a Scandinavian country.” (p 559)
It is almost beyond comprehension that fifty years after the events of Dallas on November 22, 1963 US government officials are still so threatened by the truth surrounding those events that they would harass someone who was involved, no matter how peripherally.
What Judyth knows and tells about, is that she and Lee Harvey Oswald were young lovers that summer. She tells the story of a very intelligent, sensitive, caring young man who worked with the FBI and CIA, attempting to thwart assassination attempts on the President. Judyth got pulled into this sinister and covert world through her interest in cancer research. As she began to work with some of the leading cancer researchers in the country she gradually became aware that what she was working on was a cancer-biological weapon designed to kill Fidel Castro. The thinking was that if Castro was dead, Kennedy would be seen in a more positive light, and his life would be more secure. Those in the CIA, like Oswald, were increasingly aware that there were plots to kill the President, coming from some within their own organization. Many of those in the know were opposed to this death plot. They patriotically supported the President, and thought it totally diabolical to cold-bloodedly plan to eliminate him.
This book deals only with the fringes of this plotting; it focuses instead on the relationship between Judyth and Lee. It is a tender-hearted, delicately-crafted love story. Very well-written, it contains elements of classic tragedy. We all know, before reading the story, what the outcome will be. We all know there were evil forces at work to thwart the intent of the young lovers.
I found this riveting story to be a real page-turner; periodically I had to give my head a shake to remind myself that this story was real, that the author was relating events that really happened, that this romance “novel” was not fiction.
This book can be read on any number of levels. It can be read as a story of romance; it can be read to understand how an extremely gifted young woman in the 1960’s came to find herself involved in the highest levels of cancer research in the country; it can be read by those interested in knowing more completely the facts, the real story, behind the JFK assassination. It is a fascinating read; I cannot wait to read Judyth’s follow-up story of another player in New Orleans during the summer of 1963, David Ferrie. The author has done the world and her country a great, great favour in daring to tell her part in the history-changing events of 1963. I applaud her courage in sticking her neck out, knowing she was risking her life, to tell her story.