In an exclusive interview, author Edward J. Bauer, who has a form of ALS, tells us he has used a power wheelchair for the last seven years of his 63-year life, which began with a genetic disability. He was diagnosed in childhood with a slowly progressive, juvenile form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) called ALS 4. Though this specific condition comes with a normal life expectancy, Bauer knew the day would come when his disability would require his using a wheelchair. He also knew the prevailing account of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 did not tell the whole story.
A serious news and history buff, Bauer lives in a single-story, handicap-accessible home in southern Maryland on the shore of Chesapeake Bay, where he spent the last three years researching and writing The Final Truth: Solving the Mystery of the JFK Assassination.” What he knows, and how he knows it, is fascinating.
Bauer describes himself as a smart, take-charge guy, even as a child. In his teen years, when the symptoms of his ALS began to emerge, his interests turned toward television, radio, film, and other forms of communication, and he recognized his flair for writing. After earning a BS and MS from Syracuse University, Bauer worked in radio and TV in Pittsburgh. He’s still a huge Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins fan, even though he now lives in Maryland, where he worked as a computer programmer and video producer/director before becoming the author of a book that may change history.
A Moment in Time Long Remembered
Critical to Bauer’s endeavor were a computer, an Internet connection, motivation, and confidence. The first two were close at hand. As it is with many of us who aspire to write, the second two had to come from within.
As Bauer recalls, “It was a slow, evolving process. At first I didn’t think I could write a book myself. I’d have to get someone else to do all that hard work. This slowly morphed into maybe getting a co-author to work with me. Gradually I began to suspect that perhaps I could actually accomplish this myself. When I began writing the first couple of chapters, I saw that it was turning out a lot better than I had thought. I had been underestimating myself. Once I got this shot of self-confidence, my skill at writing improved as I wrote.”
He was tackling some pretty heavy subject matter—a modern-day presidential assassination about which theories have been flying since moments after it happened in Dallas, Texas the afternoon of November 22, 1963. But, as Bauer points out, “The Final Truth is not based on theories. Theories are mere guesswork. This book’s conclusions are based on my real-world experience in small-bore rifle competition and motion picture film editing. Knowledge of both is critical to solving this mystery.”
It was more than the mystery surrounding JFK’s death and his relevant experience that was at the heart of Bauer’s decision to write the book. Like most baby boomers, he remembers the event vividly.
Thirteen-year-old Ed Bauer was in the 8th grade, and he tells the story in the preface of his book: “We 8th graders had just begun to appreciate the importance of our past and present when our history and current events teacher interrupted the Thanksgiving play that the 7th graders were putting on for us. “Today is a day that will go down in history. President Kennedy and the Governor of Texas have been shot.”
A Flash of Inspiration
Forty-seven years would pass before “the first flash of inspiration hit me.” It took him a few weeks to get his thoughts together, but he knew “there was a book here.” With his background and experience, all Bauer needed was the Internet and phone to accomplish the research required to prove his conclusion.
Bauer acknowledges, “Authors once had to traipse all over the world doing research. All of mine was done via the Internet. I spoke with many knowledgeable authorities, and whereas that was once done in person and then by telephone, I used e-mail. Internet search engines are another valuable tool in connecting with research material, websites and blogs. As I mentioned to friends, ‘It’s all out there, you just have to know where to look.'”
He spent a half-year perfecting an extremely detailed outline, which saved him significant time and effort. Over the next two years, he wrote 10 drafts before producing the final manuscript. Bauer didn’t mind. In fact, he says, “There was little that could put a smile on my face like writing this book.”
The First Edition—and Then Some
The Internet served the new author significantly before, during, and after he wrote the book. The first edition was a .pdf e-book, followed by a Kindle version, and just a few months ago, the paperback version at last, after three years of work. And that was the easy part!
“In spite of my handicap, there was nothing difficult about the research/writing process,” Bauer maintains. “What was difficult was marketing and publicizing the book once it was published. Most authors are required to travel all over, granting interviews in every city and town in the land. I have to do that from my desk on the Internet, which makes it more challenging.”
Bauer has been using Internet newsgroups and discussion forums related to the JFK assassination as a promotional resource. He says, “These come in varying degrees of validity. A self-publisher can’t hope to compete with the publicity budgets of the large publishing houses, but I am planning a modest advertising campaign for the near future.”
Solving the Mystery
As mentioned earlier, Bauer’s conclusion focuses on the rifle shots and film footage of the assassination, using his expertise in both small-bore rifles and motion-picture editing. He says his conclusion goes beyond theory. “Even the most significant works, Posner’s Case Closed and Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History, are just theorizing when it comes to arguing the rifle shots. Unfortunately, much of the controversy enveloping this tragedy is caused by individuals who have no hands-on experience to back up their theories.” Bauer does.
“Ironically, the conspiracy buffs and those who believe Lee acted alone could never agree on anything,” Bauer explains. “Yet the historical truth was a combination of both.” In our interview with Bauer, he told us the book details how Oswald was the lone assassin, but that a complex conspiracy erupted almost instantly to force the public to believe the ‘official’ way of thinking, including destruction of evidence, splicing of films and routine lying by the highest government officials. According to the author, his work offers clear explanations of sometimes complex factors, such as the reasons behind the FBI’s attempt to deny the existence of the fresh bullet mark on the south curb of Main Street.
The Final Truth uses ten films of the assassination and two reenactments to arrive at some surprising conclusions that run contrary to the prevailing belief. One of the more significant: Abraham Zapruder’s film did not capture all three shots as is commonly believed, but another filmer’s did.
He says, “If one were to read only a single work on this tragedy, The Final Truth would be that perfect book. It’s an easy read, relatively short, covers all the bases and actually solves the mystery. I call it ‘serious history finally written correctly.'”
Kennedy’s assassination, like 9/11, is one of those life events so incomprehensible, you never forget where you were, with whom, and what you were doing when you heard the news. Though it happened a half-century ago, mystery still shadows this chilling moment in history.
Edward J. Bauer