"Kennedy And Lincoln: Medical And Ballistic Comparisons Of Their Assassinations", published in 1980, is an impressive hardcover volume written by Dr. John K. Lattimer. This book, which spans 398 total pages, is one that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in researching the JFK case.

Though Dr. Lattimer has a habit of repeating himself in the text of this volume (sometimes providing triple or even quadruple redundancy when discussing many of the points brought up in the book), his writing style and paragraphing technique are very reader-friendly and easy on the eyes, with bold-face topic headers used frequently to isolate the various sections of evidence he is discussing.

For the first 120 pages of the book, Lattimer focuses his attention on the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, as well as providing interesting details concerning the other two portions of the intricate conspiracy plot that assassin John Wilkes Booth had devised for the elimination of two additional Government officials on that Good Friday back in 1865 -- which were the planned assassinations of Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward.*

* = The planned attack on Johnson, however, was aborted entirely; while Seward survived his terrifying ordeal after being savagely and repeatedly stabbed by would-be assassin Lewis Payne.

There are many fascinating tidbits of information about the Lincoln assassination conspiracy in this volume that I previously had never known, including practically a blow-by-blow description of Payne's attack on Seward and a fairly-detailed section in the book centering on the manhunt and eventual killing of John Wilkes Booth in Garrett's Barn twelve days after Booth had shot and killed President Lincoln.

And, too, there's a section in the book that mentions the irresistible similarities and coincidences between Lincoln's and Kennedy's deaths. Such as:

1.) Both victims were shot in the back of the head.

2.) The wife of each victim was sitting right beside her husband when the attacks occurred, with each First Lady holding the head of her husband just after the fatal blow.

3.) Both Lincoln and Kennedy were shot on a Friday.

4.) Each victim's Vice President was named "Johnson".

5.) Both Lincoln and Kennedy liked rocking chairs (Lincoln was fatally shot while sitting in such a chair).

6.) Both Presidential assassins (Booth and Oswald) were each confronted by an officer named "Baker" while in flight from their crimes.

7.) Lincoln's and JFK's killers were both shot by a single bullet before either man could stand trial, and each lived for approximately two hours after being gunned down (and both Booth and Oswald were shot by "Colt revolvers" as well).


The final two-thirds of "Kennedy And Lincoln" deals exclusively with the JFK assassination, which occurred almost exactly 100 years after Lincoln's murder (98.5 years to be exact).

Over the course of many years, Dr. Lattimer performed a series of very detailed tests and experiments, as he attempted to re-create certain aspects of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

Dr. Lattimer had been a surgeon during World War 2 and therefore, prior to writing this book, was very familiar with gunshot wounds, military type rifles, and the ammunition that was used in such weapons.

Lattimer was also aided greatly in his experimental work by having the unique opportunity to personally examine (in some detail) many of the crucial pieces of evidence connected with the JFK murder, such as being able to handle and inspect the famous "Stretcher Bullet" (CE399, deemed the "Magic Bullet" by conspiracists), plus the original Kennedy autopsy photographs and X-rays at the National Archives, and the actual clothing that JFK was wearing on the tragic day of 11/22/63 (consisting of JFK's suit jacket, shirt, necktie, and back brace).

Dr. Lattimer, in fact, in January of 1972, became the very first non-government person to ever be granted access to many of the sensitive and rarely-viewed original items of Kennedy-assassination evidence.

Each and every one of Lattimer's carefully-conducted experiments paralleled and generally corroborated the conclusions reached in 1964 by the Warren Commission panel -- i.e., conclusions to the effect that President Kennedy had been killed by bullets fired from ONLY behind and above him in Dallas (with both of the bullets that struck the President on 11/22/63 coming out of a gun owned by Lee Harvey Oswald -- a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano bolt-action carbine, model 91-38, serial number C2766).

That exact rifle, which was purchased by Oswald via mail-order in March of 1963, was found 52 minutes after JFK was shot. It was found on the sixth floor of the building where Oswald was employed -- the Texas School Book Depository; and three bullet shells, which were positively ejected from that very same weapon, were also discovered underneath the window where a sniper -- identified as Oswald -- was located during the shooting.

Dr. Lattimer's tests were done using the exact same kind of Mannlicher-Carcano rifle as Oswald's, and the very same type of WCC (Western Cartridge Company) bullets that Oswald used in his own weapon. In fact, Lattimer's test bullets came from precisely the same batch of bullets that it was determined that Oswald used in his Carcano back in '63.

I have found a few (minor) errors within the text of "K&L", however....including Dr. Lattimer telling his readers (on three separate occasions in the book) that a noisy freight train was clanking its way across the Triple Underpass railway bridge in Dallas' Dealey Plaza at the precise moment when President Kennedy was being shot and killed by rifle bullets.

The train info is positively an error on Lattimer's part, as a photograph [shown below] taken by James Altgens at the time of the shooting verifies. Altgens snapped a picture looking west toward the Triple Underpass (bridge) just seconds before JFK's limousine went underneath that bridge, and there is positively no freight train on the tracks at that time:

A motion-picture film taken by witness Mark Bell at the time the President's car was speeding underneath the Underpass also confirms that there was no train on the railroad bridge at that time.

There's also the fact that the Dallas Police, to my knowledge, had orders to keep all trains off of the bridge during the time when JFK's motorcade was driving through Dealey Plaza.


Here's a quote from "Kennedy And Lincoln" concerning the ammunition that Lattimer used:

"The cartridges used by Oswald were an excellent American-made Western Cartridge Company product. Four sub-lots had been manufactured, and we tested samples from all four. They had excellent consistency of bullet weights and powder weights. We fired about 700 rounds in our experiments, and various government agencies fired about 200 more. We had no misfires, nor did the other groups. They were sold in boxes of twenty, and it seems likely that Oswald was down to his last four, since no more were found among his possessions." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 252


Below I've written out several additional verbatim excerpts from this intriguing book, which are passages that go a long way toward firmly debunking many of the JFK conspiracy theories that have filled the landscape since 1963.

In particular, these text excerpts tend to irrevocably harpoon and destroy the widely-accepted theories which revolve around the general (unproven) idea that President Kennedy was shot one or more times from the front as part of a "multi-gun plot". ......


  • "These experiments [involving the firing of MC/WCC bullets at a simulated JFK upper back and neck] confirmed beyond all of my doubts that the smallness of the exit hole in the front of Kennedy's neck was due to the fact that the skin was supported by a firm collar band, which restrained it from bulging and bursting open ahead of the exiting bullet. .... If the bullet had not exited from the President's neck just AT the collar band, the exit wound might have been much larger." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 239


  • "Five cardboard skins simulating [wounded Texas Governor John] Connally were placed the same distance from Kennedy's neck as Connally was seated in the automobile in front of the President. The Carcano bullets that made the holes in these targets had passed through a simulation of Kennedy's neck, striking only soft tissues. Five of the six bullets tumbled end over end after leaving the neck and struck Connally's skin traveling almost sideways. .... These results confirmed our previous observations that these bullets almost always tumbled after passing through a neck." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 237


  • "An oval hole in our simulated back of Connally was caused by our test bullet that had first passed through a simulation of Kennedy's neck, causing that bullet to wobble and start to tumble end over end. Connally's wound of entry was elongated, like the one in the center of [the test] target. The punctate round hole, with black margins, of the type that always occurred when our test bullets struck the Connally target without hitting something else first, can be seen to the right of Connally's outline in the photograph [via Figure 106 on Page 265 of "K&L"]. These bullets never wobbled or tumbled spontaneously; they were stable in their flight to the target UNLESS THEY HIT SOMETHING ELSE FIRST [DVP's emphasis], such as Kennedy's neck, whereupon they turned almost completely sideways." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 265 (Via a November 1974 article by JKL that appeared in the "Medical Times")


  • "When the [test] bullet [simulating "CE399" and the "SBT"] traversed an experimental neck, it was slowed down, tumbled, and did not shatter the leg bone [of a simulation of John Connally]. Since Connally's leg bone was NOT shattered [during the actual shooting event on 11/22/63], the bullet that hit him must have hit something else first, such as Kennedy's neck, to slow it down." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 273

DVP Interjection -- Dr. Lattimer also explains that during his experiments of firing Carcano bullets into a simulated "John Connally", the bullets ALWAYS caused much more damage to the mock Connally bodies if those bullets struck the test Connally bodies without going through a mock Kennedy body first (with this extra damage always including displaced fragments of bone in the wrist and a fractured femur in the simulated Connally leg).

This, in my view, is an extremely-significant point in favor of the much-debated "Single-Bullet Theory" being a rock-solid FACT, rather than mere "theory".


  • "Some critics have contended that the four bullet fragments in Governor Connally are too many to be accounted for by the two grains of lead missing from bullet 399. In our experiments we were able to make forty-one such fragments from the two-grain piece of lead that extruded from our test bullet [illustration from this book shown below]. It can safely be said, therefore, that four fragments are by no means too many to be accounted for by the two grains missing from bullet 399." -- J.K. Lattimer; Pages 276-277

DVP Interjection -- A follow-up to the above excerpt......

In addition to the common conspiracy-flavored argument by the Warren Commission critics alluded to by Lattimer with respect to the bullet fragments that were physically removed from Governor Connally, many conspiracy buffs are also of the (false) opinion that the tiny pieces of metal that were left inside Connally's body, when coupled with the very small amount of metal that was taken out of the Governor, constitute "too many fragments" to have possibly come from Bullet CE399, which is a bullet that is missing an estimated 2.2 to 2.4 grains of its original 160 to 161 grains of total mass.

But the Warren Commission testimony of one of Connally's doctors, Dr. Charles Gregory, tends to put a different light on this matter and also tends to refute the "too many fragments" theory.

Here's what Dr. Gregory had to say about the metal (bullet) fragments that occupied space inside John Connally's wrist (and this would include ALL of the fragments in Connally's wrist, including the "2 or 3" fragments that were removed during surgery, because this testimony of Dr. Gregory's was given at a time when Gregory was talking about what could be seen in two PRE-operative X-rays of Governor Connally's right wrist):

MR. SPECTER -- "Will you describe as specifically as you can what those metallic fragments are by way of size and shape, sir?"

DR. GREGORY -- "I would identify these fragments as varying from five-tenths of a millimeter in diameter to approximately two millimeters in diameter, and each fragment is no more than a half millimeter in thickness. They would represent, in lay terms, flakes....flakes of metal."

MR. SPECTER -- "What would your estimate be as to their weight in total?"

DR. GREGORY -- "I would estimate that they would be weighed in micrograms, which is [a] very small amount of weight. I don't know how to reduce it to ordinary equivalents for you. It is the kind of weighing that requires a micro-adjustable scale, which means that it is something less than the weight of a postage stamp."


  • "This bullet [a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano missile like CE399] can penetrate four feet of solid wood or three pine telephone poles side by side and come out looking completely undeformed. On the other hand, if it is fired into the thick bone of the back of a human skull, the jacket and core of the bullet will separate, releasing a myriad of additional fragments of many different sizes." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 277 [Illustration from this book shown below.]


  • "All of the metal fragments [visible in JFK's head via X-rays] were confined to the right side of the brain area and all the fragments were above an imaginary line drawn from the wound of entry through the top of the frontal sinus. Their configuration was in keeping with the track of a bullet entering at the rear of the right side of the skull, near the midline, disrupting and exiting from the front of the head on the right. It was compatible with no other direction. There were no bullet fragments in the left side of the skull to indicate a transverse bullet wound, as from the front right." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 214

DVP Interjection -- I think a portion of the above statement from page number 214 deserves to be highlighted and emphasized once again:


I am, therefore, very tempted to ask conspiracy theorists the following question -- How is this even remotely conceivable if, in fact, the fatal blow to President Kennedy's head had come from the RIGHT-FRONT (i.e., the "Grassy Knoll" area of Dealey Plaza), as so many assassination researchers firmly believe?

Obviously (and realistically), if JFK had been shot in the head from the Knoll (located to the right-front of the President when he received the fatal blow), the X-rays of his head would have certainly indicated the presence of bullet fragments in the LEFT side of the skull/brain, which, by all rights, is a location (the LEFT side of the head) where an exit wound should logically have also been located if Kennedy had been the victim of a massive head injury caused by a Grassy Knoll gunman.

But the left side of the President's head was completely intact, and showed no signs of any metal fragments within the left hemisphere of his head and brain (as Dr. Lattimer correctly points out on Page #214 of this publication).

Therefore, either those official X-rays that reside at the National Archives (which verify beyond all doubt that the President was shot through the head FROM BEHIND ONLY) were elaborate and beautifully-prepared forgeries/fakes that managed to fool many, many experts over the years....or....the conspiracy quacks who relentlessly keep insisting that JFK was shot from the Grassy Knoll are just flat-out wrong. I can see no third option here.

Which of the above explanations regarding the head wound and the X-rays is most likely to be the correct one? (Not exactly too difficult a question there, huh?)


  • "Any [test] bullets fired into the skull from the right front always caused very obvious destruction of the left side of the skull and left bullet fragments against this side of the skull. Since there was no such damage to the left side of Kennedy's head, and no bullet fragments against the left side of his skull, and since Mrs. Kennedy was not hit by any fragments and photographer Zapruder was not visibly jolted from his perch by a deafening rifle shot almost beside him, we find it very difficult to believe that another supersonic bullet was fired from the grassy knoll in the general vicinity of Zapruder." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 258


  • "Combinations of human skull tops and melons were tested, and, again, all fell backward off the stand toward the shooter. No melon or skull combination ever fell AWAY from the shooter. Human skulls were then packed with solid melon contents and taped and sewed tightly together with strong tape and thread to simulate the scalp. We fired into these at the same point and at the same angle as the President was struck. The skull wounds produced were strikingly similar to Kennedy's [illustration from this book shown below]. Again, the skulls fell or jumped off the stand toward the shooter, and large fragments of the top of the skulls flew upward and forward for distances of forty feet or more, just as fragments of Kennedy's skull can be seen to have done in frames 313 through 318 of the Zapruder movie." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 251


  • "I wish to re-emphasize that none of our test objects in these experiments with melons and skulls ever jumped or fell off the stand AWAY from the shooter." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 251


  • "Our experiments verified that the backward movement of the President's head was compatible with his being struck from the rear, and that it was certainly not necessary to hit the head from the front in order to make the head move toward the gun." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 255

DVP Interjection -- The following slow-motion clip from the Zapruder Film verifies beyond all doubt that President Kennedy's head moved FORWARD (not backward) at the crucial MOMENT OF BULLET IMPACT, indicating the fatal shot to JFK's head came from BEHIND:


  • "When combined with the overpowering evidence that the X-rays of [JFK's] head show metallic bullet fragments arranged only from back to front in the right side of his brain case and with the skull damage all centering on the right side of his skull, we are left with absolutely no indication that he was struck from the front or right front by an additional bullet, as claimed by critics of the Warren Commission." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 258


  • "[Marina Oswald was often asked whether her husband Lee] might have been capable of joining with an accomplice to kill the President. Marina said: "Never. Lee was too secretive ever to have told anyone his plans. Nor could he have acted in concert, accepted orders, or obeyed any orders or plans by anybody else". The reason that Marina gave was that "Lee had no use for the opinions of anybody but himself. He had only contempt for other people. He was a lonely person, he trusted no one and he had the fantasies of a sick person; to get attention only for himself". The people who knew Lee in Dallas agreed with her." -- J.K. Lattimer; Page 333



In closing.....

I'd like to now pose the following logical question for conspiracy theorists to ponder --- If John F. Kennedy had, in fact, been shot one or more times from the front, what do you suppose the odds are that ALL of Dr. Lattimer's ballistics tests and assassination re-creations would have aligned and agreed with the "Single Assassin Firing From Behind" conclusion reached by the members of the Warren Commission in 1964?

If I were a conspiracy theorist who believed that JFK had been cut down by multiple shooters, I think I'd be scratching my head as I tried to reconcile the above inquiry in my own mind.

Thankfully, I don't have that problem. For I've seen the "Lone Assassin" light for quite some time now. And the excellent and revealing experimental work done by John K. Lattimer -- which is fully laid out in a very readable and directly-to-the-point manner in "Kennedy And Lincoln" -- only further solidifies the fact that President John F. Kennedy was killed by one lone assassin named Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22nd, 1963.

David Von Pein
November 2006
July 2009