A critique of the Warren Commission’s inquiry into the murders of President John F. Kennedy, Officer J.D. Tippit, and Lee Harvey Oswald, with an introduction by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Popular reaction to the appearance of the Warren Commission’s Report was one of relief: the events with which it deals were so shocking that the official explanation of them was thankfully accepted. Since then critical doubts have multiplied. Did the Warren Commission fulfill its task with thoroughness and impartiality? Did Kennedy and Tippit die in the manner assumed by the Report or does the evidence point persuasively in other directions? And how was Jack Ruby permitted to kill Lee Oswald?
Rush to Judgment does not propound any speculative theory of the assassination. Closely reasoned, carefully documented and largely relying for its argument on the twenty-six volumes issued by the Commission (in other words, that part of the Commission’s evidence which has been made available to the public), it provides such a devastating commentary on the Commission’s procedures and conclusions as to throw its credibility and credit in grave doubt.
Some of the criticisms that Mr. Lane makes are new and based on fresh evidence: others have been made before but never so cogently. His main conclusions seem inescapable: that the Commission frequently chose to rely on evidence that was no stronger and sometimes demonstrably weaker than contrary evidence which it rejected; that its working methods were often prejudiced and inefficient; and that many of its findings can be disproved by internal evidence alone.
Rush to Judgment is as exciting as it is disturbing to read; and too seriously argued to be ignored or lightly dismissed. It is a book that has sparked off international controversy as heated as that which once surrounded the Dreyfus case, for few who read it are able to continue to accept the official version of what happened.
Rush to Judgment was originally published in 1966 by The Bodley Head, Ltd. in Great Britain. It was also published by Holt, Rinehart and in the United States. It was the number-one best-selling hardback of 1966 with 26 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Fawcett Crest published the paperback edition the following year and it became the number one selling paperback in the United States for 1967. Dell published an edition in 1975. In 1991, Thunder’s Mouth Press of New York published the twenty-fifth anniversary edition.
Rush to Judgment has been widely published in France, Germany, Spain, and in other European countries, as well as throughout Latin America and Asia. It has been the basis for documentary films, plays and theatrical films in the United States as well as in numerous other countries.
All of America is indebted to Mark Lane. He held the door open until the rest of us decided to examine the case critically. His book has been extremely valuable to me. (Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney and author of On the Trail of the Assassins, the basis for Oliver Stone's movie, JFK)
Rush to Judgment will live as a classic… Lane's book proves once and forever that the assassination of President Kennedy is more of a mystery today then when it occurred.
Mark Lane's evidence comprises one of the most remarkable documents I have seen and is an unanswerable indictment of the United States government's attempt to suppress the truth and can feel the circumstances surrounding the death of the President.
Rush to Judgment... makes one suspect that had the membership of the Commission allowed Lane – or someone as single-mindedly committed to Oswald’s defense—to function in the hearings, its proceedings would have more completely reflected the American judicial system, and thereby reached, if not a different conclusion, one that would not have inspired such books as Rush to Judgment.