THE YANKEE and COWBOY WAR. Conspiracies from Dallas to Watergate by Carl Oglesby

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Carl Oglesby’s book, a classic of its genre, is one of the earliest well documented and sober political analyses prompted by a need to better understand the politics that led to both the JFK assassination and the Nixon Watergate Affair. Its primary theoretical model is that of C. Wright Mills’s ‘Theory of the Power Elite; the framework is that of Carroll Quigley’s monumental Tragedy and Hope.

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The author argues that the JFK assassination was not the random act of a lone headbanger but a carefully planned and professionally executed coup d’ état à la Americaine, a not-so-silent coup by the same forces responsible for the murders of JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X, and possibly the demise of the billionaire Howard Hughes.

What these events had in common was that they were links in a chain designed to replace one set of power elite (members of the old moneyed Eastern Yankee Establishment) with another (the nouveau riche and newly arrived Western Cowboys represented by Johnson and Nixon). However, as a result of the growing disillusionment within the Yankee camp over the direction of the Vietnam War, Yankee elements sought to reassert their control within the national political-economic elite by a carefully orchestrated campaign to remove Nixon, without revealing the full extent of covert activities by government agencies—in effect, a second coup d’état. What Oglesby argues here is that the events connecting Dallas, Memphis, Watergate and the demise of the Hughes empire, are threads in a common fabric, growing and evolving directly out of the systematic corruption of American politics and out of contemporary political realities and, ultimately, lead directly to the White House of Donald Trump.

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