Liverpool Can you see Lee Harvey Oswald as a Frank Sinatra fan?
If so, you’d probably enjoy Doug Brode’s new novel, “Patsy!”
The 346-page book paints a decidedly different portrait of the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. While Warren Commission investigators found the 24-year-old Oswald a sullen, self-involved ne’er-do-well who listened to classical music rather than to saloon singers, Brode’s Oswald revels in the fantasy world of the silver screen. He’s fascinated by the macho man image adopted by Sinatra. He’s thrilled when – as a serviceman deployed overseas – he happens to meet John Wayne.
All the while, this starry-eyed “Patsy” is being “run” by a shady CIA operative named George who manages Oswald’s intelligence career through the Marines, to his “defection” to Russia and all the way through to Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas.
Billed as a non-fiction novel, “Patsy” incorporates any number of conspiracy theories proposed over the last 50 years by critics of the Warren Report. The likelihood that Oswald was, in fact, some kind of low-level intelligence agent is only one of the theories Brode utilizes.
The author also describes a “twinning” of Oswald, the creation of a lookalike by a Mafia-controlled plastic surgeon. Shades of Sinatra’s 1962 thriller, “The Manchurian Candidate.”
A similar scenario has been chronicled by assassination researcher John Armstrong in his book, “Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald.” While Armstrong relies on meticulous research and photo comparisons, Brode’s book — a novel, remember — engages in fanciful possibilities.
For instance, real-life interviews with former psychological warriors such as Dr. Sidney Gottleib confirmed the federal government’s mind-control experiments in the 1950s, many involving the use of hallucinogenic drugs. In “Patsy,” Oswald is dosed with LSD and – get this – while tripping he meets both Robert F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe!