- Reframing “official memory”: Don DeLillo’s Libra and the House Select Committee on Assassinations
- Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 71, Number 3, Autumn 2015
- pp. 139-168
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Critics have examined DeLillo’s appropriation of The Warren Commission Report in Libra, but the novel responds to more than this fundamental document of the assassination archive. Libra should also be situated within the investigations into the activities of the CIA in the 1970s. These investigations conducted by the Rockefeller Commission, the Church Committee, and the Pike Committee provide the historical background crucial for comprehending DeLillo’s fictional intervention into the lingering JFK assassination controversy. These investigations also spawned the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976, whose work leaves “the blank spaces in the known record” (457) that Libra attempts to fill, primarily Lee Harvey Oswald’s connections to American intelligence and the secret war against Castro. In doing so, Libra provides a summary of the very real efforts of the CIA to overthrow Castro, from the joint CIA-Mafia assassination plots and the Bay of Pigs invasion to Operation Mongoose.