on January 18, 2011
More than a few have doubted the veracity of Mrs. Vary-Baker's story and now, with this book, they need doubt no more.
Mrs. Vary-Baker gives a frank and candid potrayal of her early years before meeting Mr. Lee Harvey Oswald and her start in Science. She pulls no punches, gives no information without footnote upon footnote and source upon source. She does not tell a story without more than enough physical proof to back it up.
She doesn't claim to be a "saint" (there are a few racy and romantic anecdotes of her relationship with Mr. Oswald as well as some revelations of emotional abuse by her father) and does not paint Mr. Oswald as a saint either, but gives the information as it happened and allows the reader to make of it what they will.
We are all complicated individuals with our faults and good points! Simply put, Mrs. Vary-Baker tells the truth, "warts and all" and at tremendous risk to her own safety and life to exonerate herself and the love of her life, Mr. Oswald. I always doubted Mr. Oswald's "guilt" and now have proof and know that he was a true patriot and innocent in all this and most certainly did *not* kill one of the finest Presidents the USA ever had! From the forward to the heart-breaking conclusion of her story, it is a bona-fide page turner and worth the time to read this. Buy this book as a gift for friends, demand your library keep a copy or two for circulation. This story must be told! An excellent companion to this book would be "Dr. Mary's Monkey" by Mr. Haslam to fill in some more of the scientific data/backstory. God Bless Mrs. Vary-Baker, Mr. Oswald, and may the truth set everyone free!
Here is an incredible inside story on the life of an American woman who, in the space of a few short years during the height of the Cold War, made history by being indirectly involved in or witness to some pivotal moments leading up to the assassination of JFK. While not a great fan of conspiracy theories, I find Vary-Baker's rendition of the times to have enough verifiable evidence to make it quite believable. Most importantly, her version of events ties in closely with some big names of key figures through photos and anecdotes. We follow her journey from being a very ambitious and successful science student in a Florida high school to becoming a young cancer research assistant in college to getting swept up in a nefarious CIA biological weapons plot to assassinate Castro to hanging out with the guy who will forever wear the mantle of JFK's alleged assassin. Although highly intelligent and motivated, Judyth was one of those young people whose naivete and yearning for a good time often got her in difficult spots. While she liked to inoculate mice with tumors and measure the effects, she also was a very affectionate and vivacious young adult who needed a man in her life. She was promised a cancer research job by the mysterious Dr. 'Mary' in New Orleans. As the great historian Carlyle once suggested that understanding history consisted of wading through hundreds of biographies strung together over time. "Me and Lee" is one of those incredible, hard-hitting, fly-by-the-seat-of-your pant's odysseys that gives the reader much more than he or she can ever expect in the way of thrills and spills. For a number of months, while looking for work and waiting to marry her college sweetheart, she hung out in the Big Easy with Lee Harvey Oswald, a discharged member of the Marine Corps who had infiltrated the local Mafia crime syndicate while working as an informant for the FBI. Based on many conversations and experiences she had with Oswald that year, she wrote this book to show the world that he could never have killed Kennedy. In fact, she became aware, through Oswald, as late as September 1963 of buzz between certain shady CIA and Mafia types that the president was a target in Chicago. While Oswald reported this information to the FBI, he failed to recognize that the conspirators probably had a back-up plan that included another city in the presidential itinerary. While the main motives for murdering JFK have been well examined and picked over, what we have in this account is the likely day-to-day hatching of the scheme that involved some truly nasty and degenerate cut-throats like Rubenstein, Ferrie, Marcello, Shaw, and Bannister. In the middle of all this clandestine activity committed to toppling governments and killing their leaders, we find another story of endearing friendship emerging between two love-starved individuals - Judyth and Lee - who enjoyed for a brief but memorable time each other's company. Read this book if you want to gain a deeper insight into the machinations of corrupt and evil people in their attempts to destroy others for personal gain. Keep in mind, however, that while bad people seem to pervade every corner of this bigger-than-life tale, goodness, justice and truth prevail in the end.
on November 13, 2012
This is a very in depth and extremely personal view into Judyth Vary Baker's heart and soul. She offers herself fully in her book, good bad or otherwise and she does this in part so that Lee Oswald's children will be able to better understand their father and the circumstances which lead up to his untimely death. Her accounts of the events that took place decades ago are uncanny and her attention to detail is at times staggering. Furthermore, Judyth surely endangers her own life as her book Me & Lee uncovers a secret circle of very educated and powerful people whom plot together to kill Fidel Castro and put an end to the Cold War.
Previous to reading "Me & Lee", I read "Dr. Mary's Monkey" by Edward T. Haslam. Mr. Haslam introduced me to Judyth Vary Baker and left me wanting more. So without hesitation, I ordered "Me & Lee" from Amazon.ca.
There is no doubt about it, Judyth has lived an extraordinary life. She was an exceptional high school student with an ambitious goal to cure cancel. For this was the evil which took her beloved grandmother's life. As she made unprecedented progress towards her goal, extremely powerful and influential people noticed her progress. She was quickly offered a plethora of awards and scholarships. It is at this point in the young Judyth's life, although unknowingly of course, that her destiny would carved.
My heart goes out to Judyth. To service a near fatal childhood illness, then to pull herself out from under such an overbearing father (essentially running away from home), then to struggle with her own religious beliefs only to wed a seemingly self righteous, arrogant man who treated her like an object rather than a person must have been horrifying in its own right. But to relentlessly work towards a cure for cancer, a mission of Judyth's right from a young age and then to innocently get caught in the middle of such a power struggle and watch your life's work be flushed away in a brief moment must have been devastating at best.
Judyth's book is a frightening read in that it uncovers corruption and so many levels - right from the ground floor. It is a heart wrenching read in that you get to feel the the joy of watching a young woman prosper only to later be discarded like a piece of trash. It is an educational read in that it sets the record straight once and for all regarding "The Assumed Assassin" Lee Oswald's role in the JFK assassination. Lee was made out to be guilty from the start, and I hope this book educates the people and shows another side of the coin. Lee's children need to understand who their father was and Judyth Vary Baker does a very good job of clarifying that!
on September 6, 2014
This is a book that is a great romance and is also amazing history. Judyth was 19 when she met Lee Oswald's age 23, and he became the love of her life. She knew him from May until Oswald died in November. This was the summer before she went from a rising Junior at U of Florida to a 1st year med student at Tulane. She has a photographic memory and had already been published in Cancer research. She was told to go underground after Lee Oswald was killed and almost everyone she hung out with died within a few years - often before being called to testify about the assassination. It is a very personal story about falling in love with this old ex-marine who went to Russia and then came back and was working for the CIA but also with the FBI and the mafia to help kill Castro. Judyth was surprised to learn her research that summer was actually to create a fast acting cancer with which to kill Castro. There are many surprises, and a "whose who" of people in the Oliver Stone movie "JFK."
on July 12, 2014
I found the book written like an autobiography of the author. I've read 5 other books on the JFK assasination. I found this book to have some new and technical information about lung cancer and Lee Oswalds' personal life and those of some of his friends and associates. I do however still think that Oswald was the main shooter, although others were involved as well. The book did very little to change my opinion on that. I did find it interesting.
on February 14, 2016
I loved this book! It answered many of my questions and confirmed some of my suspicions. It was totally enlightening and very disturbing on so many levels. I am slightly younger than Judyth Vary Baker but was easily able to put myself in her early 1960's shoes. I could see myself making many of the same decisions under the same circumstances, had I been presented with them. I wasn't as smart as she, though, so I only got to live vicariously through her. I remember that time in history vividly, and I so appreciate the glimpse into events leading up to the murder of the last US president for whom I held any respect. I am well aware that he was far from a perfect man, but no one since can hold a candle to him, in my opinion. Like the rest of the world, I watched him murdered on national TV and looked forward to seeing the perpetrator(s) captured and brought to justice. However, I knew in my soul, that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the culprit the world sought when Jack Ruby was allowed to get close enough to kill him in full view of a shocked and watching world! Then came the ridiculous Warren Report! Even my naïve teenage brain knew that was a crock, but I could not understand why the ptb's didn't scream bloody murder at such a travesty! Of course, I was totally unaware of Judyth, Dr. Mary, David Ferry and all the other's involved at that time, but much has been written about each of them since the assignation of a beloved president. I considered this purchase carefully for many months before finally purchasing it, but I'm very glad I did and I can recommend this book, without reservation to anyone who is interested in the events of that time and their affect on this one.
on November 11, 2014
This is an excellent Kennedy assassination-related book and one I recommend above all others. To me, it was like Oswald's life and words were coming to life through the pages of this book.
It goes into detail about Lee Oswald's life and actions in the months leading up to the assassination, something most books and official versions fail to do. The official version paints Oswald as a loner, misfit, unable to hold down a job, and disgruntled with society, a picture that was needed in order to fit him into the mold of the lone nut gunman. But here we see a different image of Oswald in 1963: a lover, intelligent, loved children, had a social life, had close connections to the mob, the CIA and the FBI, a man who was assisted in getting his jobs through "higher powers", a man who's every move had purpose. More importantly, he was a man who outright admitted he thought he was being set up to take the fall for Kennedy's assassination. How many people can say they actually knew an attempt on Kennedy's life was going to happen that day? She can, and apparently others knew too. Can we believe this story? Well, you can look at it in three ways. Either Ms. Baker is telling a big lie, or Oswald was lying to her and she totally fell for the lie, or she's telling the truth about events that really happened. When you look at her background, she was always known to be honest and intellectual, and she has references to corroborate a lot of what she says. When you compare what she says to other known facts about Oswald and the assassination, her story fits. She fills in some of the gaps that were always missing in the official story: why Oswald was in New Orleans (a huge missing gap in the official story), why he was in Louisiana and Mexico in the Fall of 1963, and why he ended up in Dallas. She admits she doesn't know all the details leading up to that fateful day, including details in Dallas on that day itself, but the amount of information contained in this account is invaluable. By story's end, one can only conclude that she has told a truthful account, to the best of her ability, of Lee's time in the months leading up to the assassination.
I disagree with the reviewer who thinks Ms. Baker's own life story is a waste of time. I found her career in cancer research to be thoroughly engaging and that background information establishes how she came to know Oswald, and why he himself became involved in covert cancer activity in New Orleans. The book is, after all, called "Me and Lee," so when you read the book, you are obviously going to be reading a bit about her life as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be reading it for a second time soon.
on June 23, 2014
I've been a firm believer that a conspiracy was at the root of the Kennedy assassination for many years, and while I strongly agree with the basic premise of Judyth Vary Baker's `Me & Lee' (Oswald's innocence, his being a low level US intelligence asset and the fact that his two daughters definitely deserve long overdue removal of the stigma that was unfairly dropped on them at infancy), I'm afraid that's as far as I'm able to ride this particular streetcar.
While JVB presents sufficiently convincing evidence to support her academic achievements, her having resided in New Orleans and being employed at the William B. Reily Coffee Company in 1963 while Oswald also was, it's my opinion that the remaining narrative covering the key events in New Orleans bears the unmistakable taint of zealous embellishment.
From the very moment JVB (a teenage student at the time) became involved in a covert plan to develop a biological weapon for potential use in the elimination of Fidel Castro, it seems that every single co-conspirator she came in contact with was in some sort of inexplicable rush to openly divulge every last bit of secret information they possessed in her presence. She was apparently also nonchalantly introduced to practically every major player (all of whom are now dead), including Dr. Alton Ochsner, Dr. Mary Sherman, David Ferrie, Guy Banister, Clay Shaw, Dean Andrews, Carlos Marcello, Jack Martin and "Sparky" Rubenstein (whom she apparently never knew was actually Jack Ruby (until 1999 ?!?), in spite of having supposedly met him on three separate occasions in 1963 and having later seen him murder the man she loved on live television). Also, the book all too conveniently explains practically every single unresolved question about Oswald's actions and whereabouts in the May-November 1963 timeframe in a rather facile manner through one of JVB's own firsthand experiences or another. As Hercule Poirot (played by Albert Finney) stated in `Murder on the Orient Express': "There are too many clues here"!
As much as I would have liked to believe everything in JVB's account of these events, experience has taught me to cast a wary eye on anything that seems "too good to be true". All of the supporting JFK/Oswald-related information contained in this book could have easily been gleaned from countless dozens of other currently available books and documentaries dealing with the JFK assassination. All that would have been needed to weave the necessary complementary elements into a cohesive narrative along with other available semi-related provable facts and documents would be patience and time, and 40-50 years certainly would be plenty of time.
Human nature being what it is, it's not at all uncommon for people who have been peripherally connected to a significant event, even by virtue of mere physical proximity, to inflate or exaggerate their own personal involvement in it. To be fair to JVB, I consider both Chauncey Holt (self-professed "Third Tramp") and James Files (self-confessed "Grassy Knoll Shooter") to fall within this category as well. The ability to prove one part of a story does not automatically make every other aspect of it completely reliable and true.
To those who profess that JVB's story must be 100% valid "across the board" on the strength of the documentation presented in the book, I'd like to point out that in their totality, all that the presented documents actually prove is that young Judy Vary:
1) Excelled in her chosen academic studies
2) Resided in New Orleans in the summer of 1963
3) Was married to a man named Robert A Baker III at the time (and beyond)
4) Was employed at the William B. Reily company at the same time Oswald was
Sorry "Juduffky", but the plain unvarnished truth would have been sufficient and far better appreciated from this end.
(The "From Noon Till Three" comment in the review title line refers to a lesser known Charles Bronson Movie released in 1976).
on February 10, 2014
This book is essential to understanding the assassination of JFK and is one of the top five books on the mystery of the JFK Assassination. The book provides so much information and fills in so many blanks on who Lee Harvey Oswald was and how he became the "patsy" for the assassination of the president. Judyth Vary Baker is a very courageous woman. She only survived assassination herself by keeping quiet until the "murder squad" of the CIA, Lyndon Johnson, the Mob, and possibly the FBI was disbanded because of old age or death of its members. The book provides many insights into Lee Harvey Oswald such as that he would always sit with the "colored people" at the back of the bus, and that in his last two phone calls to Judyth that he told her to remember that his handlerm the mysterious "Mr B (Bishop, Bennett)," was none other than David Atlee Phillips. On the last phone call he told her to remember the names "Billie Sol Estes" and "Bobby Baker," that they weren't behind the assassination attempt in Dallas, but it was because of those two that the president was being taken out (obviously to protect LBJ from being connected to those two scandals, which would cause him to be dumped as vice-president and also possibly to go to jail). The book also provides important insight to David Ferrie, Guy Bannister, Jack Ruby, and Carlos Marcellos and the web of espionage that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in and how he came to meet and fall in love with Judyth Baker through their involvement in a plot to kill Castro by producing an aggressive cancer virus (under the direction of renown medical VIP Dr Alton Ochsner that might have been used to kill Jack Ruby in the end. This material was unknown until Judyth wrote about it. Congratulations, Judyth! You are to be commended for your bravery in surviving and coming forward with your story. In a country with honest media, your story would blow the lid off the assassination of JFK mystery. But thanks to the mainstream media in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," the gutless cowards who run the American media want the public and younger generation to think that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin and that the bullet that killed Kennedy was shot from the book depository and not from the Grassy Knoll. Thank you for your attempts to restore credibility to the investigation and also to Lee Harvey Oswald.
on January 27, 2013
I simply cannot believe some of the reviews I see for this book on Amazon.com praising it as genuine, authentic, and heartwarming stuff about Lee Oswald, but I know that it has become a widespread abusive practice for friends, colleagues, and business associates, early on, to lard up the review section for any book with five-star praise, making it difficult for readers to find genuine reviews.
If there were an award for the most incomprehensible, confusing book ever written about the Kennedy assassination, Ms. Baker's book would surely be a serious contender.
Here you will find a unique blend of how I spent my teen years, the cheesy 1950s television series "I Led Three Lives," Laurel and Hardy playing spies, and a bodice-ripper from Harlequin Romance books. It is an indigestible mass out of which emerges absolutely zero insight into the personality of Oswald or into the background of the assassination.
The first hundred pages or so of this book have nothing whatever to do with Lee Oswald or the assassination, covering as they do the early life of Ms. Baker, especially her teenage years. Ms. Baker or whoever it is who wrote this material tries impressing the reader with her early brilliance, and it does seem she was a gifted young woman.
Her early school science projects and the recognition she gained for her work with mice and cancer cells are matters of which she is deservingly proud, but about a hundred pages of it in a book on an entirely different subject? A single slim chapter or introduction would have established her bone fides as a competent researcher.
One assumes that here the publisher was attempting to establish her as a truly worthy witness, intelligent and scientific-minded. The only trouble with that is that once we are into the matter for which people are reading the book, all pretense of science and logic evaporates.
I note also a rather cheap publisher's trick used here. Ms. Baker's story of her remarkable youth is documented with dozens of cuttings and documents, making it unmistakable that she is telling us a true story. But when we get to New Orleans and Oswald, these insertions become mostly completely generic and lacking in any connection with her, things like backgrounders on certain people or newspaper photos of places in New Orleans.
When Ms. Baker comes finally to New Orleans and Lee Oswald, I gasped at the idea that now she might offer some insights, but the truth is that there is nothing about her words that convinces the reader that she and Oswald were even acquainted, let alone intimate friends. I don't say they were not, but the author's words lack substance and indeed descend into a kind of logic-lacking fog differing considerably from the unnecessarily long but at least fairly lucid first hundred pages.
The confusions are too many to go into, and when reviewing a ghastly book one hesitates spending too much effort after the unpleasant realization you have wasted time and energy reading it.
Ms. Baker in the course of endless back-and-forths on streetcars, day and night, going to bizarre boarding houses, bizarre offices, and bizarre entertainments with Oswald manages, in a book supposedly telling us what Oswald really was like and written to support his supposed views, to plant every unproved accusation about Oswald you can find in the various hack books attacking him.
He was, according to her, a crack shot, demonstrating his prowess to her with an air rifle at an amusement park. He loved guns and weapons, taking her to a small arsenal in the Bannister agency's building and selecting a pistol, and wanting to take her for fun shooting birds. He was violent towards his wife, confirming never-proved assertions of an unbalanced Marina Oswald. He ran errands for Marcello mob interests, including a rather well known scene where a witness in the assassination literature says he saw Oswald taking a wad of money under the table from the man running the Town and Country Motel (some researchers suggesting another individual, a criminal, who slightly resembled Oswald as the person in the incident if it even happened). In Ms. Baker's version, she is there right next to Oswald, keeping her face demurely down and seeing the money being passed under the table.
All of Ms. Baker's story about Oswald and New Orleans, except for the silly romantic assertions, could have been derived from the popular literature. There is no unmistakable authenticity in any of it, so when it is combined, as it is, with laughable lines and events, the result is an unpleasant and indigestible mush.
Oswald, as portrayed by Ms. Baker comes off as a bizarre little man full of delusional ideas, a reading which entirely works against the picture I have of him through many books.
I should tell readers that I received an appreciative e-mail from Ms. Baker not long ago: she was thanking me for defending her in a deluge of comments on the Toronto Globe and Mail's website pertaining to an interview in the promotion of her book. I had not read her book, nor was I familiar with her background, but I simply opposed attacks based on "Oh, not another conspiracy theory!" believing as I do that we have never received the truth concerning the assassination and remaining open to the idea that there are still people from whom we have not heard who know important things.
Well, now that I have read Ms. Baker, I remain convinced we have never received the truth, and you can delete Ms. Baker's name from the potential list of those who could come forward with new information.