A BALTIMORE author's book about the assassination of President Kennedy is No. 3 on the New York Times paperback best-seller list.
The book, "High Treason," written by Harrison Edward Livingstone, 53, who lives in Charles Village, alleges that long-hidden X-rays and photographs of Kennedy's body prove the fatal shot was fired from the front -- not from the rear as the official investigation concluded -- and that X-rays and autopsy photographs that had been released to the public were faked to cover up that evidence.
The book publishes the authentic autopsy photographs for the first time, Livingstone says.
"This is the biggest story of the century," he says. "This is the biggest cover-up there ever was."
And yet, he says, his book has received scant publicity in the United States.
"I'm famous all over the world right now, but I'm totally unknown in the United States," Livingstone says.
He says the media has ignored "High Treason" because of its controversial allegation that Kennedy's murder was actually a military coup d'etat orchestrated by what Livingstone and others call "the secret team." The team, they say, is a shadowy, all-powerful group of men from industry, the military and big business that can orchestrate the government of the United States.
This team, Livingstone writes, played a pivotal role in "every stage of the murder and the cover-up which followed."
Livingstone was a fan of Kennedy's back when Kennedy was a senator from Massachusetts. Livingstone, then a student at the University of Maryland, would go watch Kennedy in action on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
When Kennedy was killed in 1963, Livingstone was devastated. But he doubted nearly from the beginning the path the official investigation was taking.
"The story wasn't believable," Livingstone says now. "Things just didn't add up."
He read everything he could about the case, and a couple of years after the assassination he traveled to Dallas on his own and began interviewing witnesses himself. He soon became enmeshed in the story.
But he never intended to write a book, he says, until friends encouraged him to. Livingstone is basically a writer of fiction and poems.
In March 1989 he published "High Treason" himself. He has his own publishing company, Conservatory Press. He says the book sold about 56,000 copies with virtually no publicity.
A favorable review in Booklist, an American Library Association publication, prompted Berkley Books in New York City to become interested, Livingstone says, and it eventually published the book in paperback. The attractive, 562-page paperback, which contains 186 photographs, came out in early November and has been on the Times paperback best-seller list ever since.
His partner in the project, Robert J. Groden, shares a byline but did not do any of the writing, Livingstone says. Groden was in charge of the "photographic aspects" of the book, Livingstone says. Livingstone refuses to discuss the source of the autopsy photos.
Now Livingstone is writing another book on the subject.
"I'm trying to fill in some of the blank spots," he says. "But I don't think I can ever get to the bottom of the whole thing."
So far, he says, he has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, whom the Warren Commission determined was the lone gunman, did not fire any of the shots that struck Kennedy; that at least three gunmen fired at least seven shots at Kennedy, who was struck three times; that all evidence in the case was either forged, planted or stolen; that at least 24 witnesses have been murdered, and that the facts of the case were deliberately concealed at high political levels.
"This book is of great historical importance," Livingstone says. "It deserves critical discussion."
In the blurb to the original edition of his book, Livingstone wrote: "HIGH TREASON is not for the faint-hearted nor for those who believe that this sort of thing happens only in Central America. This book was written for those who have the courage to face the terrible truth . . . "