I Was Mandarin…

Did Dallas policeman Roscoe White pull the trigger on President Kennedy, or is he pulling our leg?

I had been in some strange places and listened to some strange stories, but none of them had been as bizarre as this.

“Neither of us slept very well the night before the assassination,” she said, snubbing out one cigarette and lighting another. “He kept tossing and turning, and finally I asked him how he could go through with it. He said, ‘Honey, it’s like war. The president is a national security threat. If I don’t do it, we’ll be in a nuclear war very soon.’ ‘But he’s got two children,’ I told him, ‘just like you.’ But he said, ‘Honey, matters were taken out of our hands a long time ago.’ Then he turned over and pretended to be sleeping, and I started to cry’.”

We were seated in the living room of Geneva White Galle’s modest home in Odessa, and she was telling me how her late husband, Roscoe Anthony White, killed President John F. Kennedy. The story was shot full of contradictions and wildly implausible coincidences—if this had been a book I would have thrown it away after page one—and yet there was something interesting in the way she told the story. Like the heroine of a soap opera, she was able to weave the most intimate details of history into the fabric of everyday life and make it sound, well, not exactly believable, but compelling.

I already knew that at least two parts of the story were true. First, Roscoe White was in the

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