Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 seemed like it should be an open-and-shut case. Many people crowded in the small room at Los Angeles’s famed Ambassador Hotel that fateful night and saw Sirhan Sirhan pull the trigger. Sirhan was also convicted of the crime and still languishes in jail with a life sentence. However, conspiracy theorists have jumped on inconsistencies in the eyewitness testimony and alleged anomalies in the forensic evidence to suggest that Sirhan was only one shooter in a larger conspiracy, a patsy for the real killers, or even a hypnotized assassin who did not know what he was doing (a popular plot in Cold War–era fiction, such as The Manchurian Candidate).
Mel Ayton profiles Sirhan and presents a wealth of evidence about his fanatical Palestinian nationalism and his hatred for RFK that motivated the killing. Ayton unearths neglected eyewitness accounts and overlooked forensic evidence and examines Sirhan’s extensive personal notebooks. He revisits the trial proceedings and convincingly shows Sirhan was in fact the lone assassin whose politically motivated act was a forerunner of present-day terrorism. The Forgotten Terrorist is the definitive book on the assassination that rocked the nation during the turbulent summer of 1968.
About the Author(s)/Editor(s)
Mel Ayton has written numerous books and articles, including A Racial Crime, the story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassin, and The Forgotten Terrorist: Sirhan Sirhan and the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (Potomac Books, 2007). Ayton has appeared in documentaries produced by the National Geographic Channel (CIA Secret Experiments, 2008) and the Discovery Channel (CIA Mind Control, 2006; Conspiracy Test: The Robert Kennedy Assassination, 2008) and has worked as a historical consultant for the BBC. He lives in County Durham, England.
"Mel Ayton presents a compelling examination of the convicted assassin’s motivations, his state of mind, and the mountain of evidence used to denounce and imprison him. Students will find this an intriguing story to read, and in an advanced level of seminar devoted to analyzing the use of evidence, very instructive"
The History Teacher, Volume 41, Issue 2
"Ayton has produced a significant book with original and detailed information and analyses regarding Sirhan's life, motivation and psychology, we well as the crime itself, which includes new forensic evidence published in three appendices. . . .After reading this compelling comprehensive work, the truth about this case seems obvious."
Patricia Lambert, History News Network
“I am a recognized expert on the murder of Senator Kennedy, but I learned a great deal from The Forgotten Terrorist, especially about Sirhan’s family background and his ‘Palestinian nationalism.’ The exquisite detail contained in this well-written, wonderfully researched work makes it a must-read for anyone studying this far from open-and-shut case."
Dan E. Moldea, author of The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigation of Motive, Means, and Opportunity
“Mel Ayton has accomplished something that no one writing about the RFK assassination has ever achieved before. By combining a judicious review of the forensic and eyewitness evidence with a firm grasp of the historical context, Ayton has finally made sense of the 1968 killing. The Forgotten Terrorist is a long overdue reminder that assassination is political murder.”
Max Holland, writer for The Nation and author of The Kennedy Assassination Tapes
“The Forgotten Terrorist is superlative, especially in regards to Sirhan’s political obsessions and background. The greatest riddle in any of these high profile assassinations is motive. Thanks to Mel Ayton, the RFK killing can now be removed from that list of mysteries. I now recommend this book as the first and last book to read on the case.”
Gus Russo, author of The Outfit and Supermob