Joan Mellen

An Interview with Joan Mellen - Oct. 4th, 2008

(Last weekend, I traveled to the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, to attend the Making Sense of 60s conference. On Saturday, I had a chance to speak with author Joan Mellen about Jim Garrison, and the pioneering work he did revealing Oswald's links to the CIA. Mellen has authored two books on Jim Garrison. The first, A Farewell to Justice (2005), won the critical acclaim of such JFK researchers as Gaeton Fonzi and Gary Aguilar, and director Oliver Stone. It focused on Garrison's JFK investigation and the Trial of Clay Shaw. Mellen has now followed up with a prequel bio of Garrison, Jim Garrison: His Life and Times - The Early Years. Throughout this short interview, 9/11 researchers should be able to see parallels between what they are doing, and what has been experienced by JFK researchers.)


Joan, why did you feel that there was a need for a Garrison bio?

The reason I had the prequel published is that many people didn't understand Jim Garrison's motivation. Why would he investigate the Kennedy assassination? Why would he risk his political career? Why would he give up his entire political career just for this? What did he get out of it?

It must be that he's covering up for the mafia... it must be that he's getting paid... it must be something. So, the book is a biography of Jim Garrison's life apart from the assassinations investigation, and is meant to answer that question.

Many people were introduced to Jim Garrison by Oliver Stone's JFK. Did it seem like the real Jim Garrison to you, up on the screen?

It didn't. However, Oliver Stone created a marvelous film, I think. He did an extraordinary thing, and he too took a tremendous risk, he risked his entire career as a film director, and suffered for years as a result of it. Stone's film is about the investigation, much more than it is about Jim Garrison the man, so it didn't really matter. I asked Stone the question, is this really Jim Garrison? Because I know things about Garrison's life that are not in this film... and Stone said, 'Well, I could have added 15 minutes about his life...' but it didn't make any difference, what counts is the dynamic of the investigation in that film, and also how it all played out in the city of New Orleans.