Four Died Trying


By John Kirby

Four Died Trying

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They fought for peace. They fought for justice. The fought for equality. They had to go.
In the 1960s, a series of catastrophic assassinations forever altered the course of American history. A generation that looked forward to remaking the world into a more equitable, just, and peaceful place was forever disillusioned. Nothing would be the same.

The consequences of the killings of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy remain with us to the present day. There is no understanding our current predicament without appreciating the forces that directed these earth-shaking acts of state, for in the final analysis, these four major assassinations and the lies that continue to attend them represent a lethal assault on democracy itself.

In over a hundred interviews with friends, family, colleagues, witnesses, and perpetrators, the feature documentary and series Four Died Trying makes a last attempt at a comprehensive and uncompromising eyewitness history of the assassinations and what led to them. This companion volume, edited by eminent cultural critic Mark Crispin Miller and the film's director, John Kirby, matches the sweep and scope of the film series. Transcripts from interviews with fascinating figures of the times, some of them giving their final word on the subject, are intercut by topic. Essays by prominent researchers and participants provide guidance and tone. Important speeches from the four assassinated men speak not just to the possibility of a better world, but to the likely motives that drove powerful groups to the extremity of political murder. Government documents, like the CIA's infamous "conspiracy memo," are provided as undeniable evidence of coverup at the highest levels. Evocative pictures from the time and stills from the set of the film round out the presentation.

Four Died Trying—book, feature, and series—presents the assassinations as a "false mystery," as self-evident state crimes against what had once been a flawed but functioning democratic republic. The evidence from the crime scenes and of the massive coverups that followed is abundant and undeniable. The only mystery that persists is: what are we going to do about it?
Four Died Trying