The best books on real conspiracies

Who am I?

I was researching the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme when I came across the private archive of author Stieg Larsson. After eight years of research, my book The Man Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin was published, which shines new light on the conspiracy behind the unsolved murder. The book has been translated into 27 languages. My first book Gripen by Prague exposes corruption by Saab and BAe in connection with the sale of supersonic jet fighters to the Czech Republic. In the aftermath of the book, police investigations were opened in seven countries including the US and the UK.


I wrote...

The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

By Jan Stocklassa,

Book cover of The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

What is my book about?

When Stieg Larsson died, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been working on a true mystery that out-twisted his Millennium novels: the assassination on February 28, 1986, of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister. It was the first time in history that a head of state had been murdered without a clue who'd done it--and on a Stockholm street at point-blank range.

Internationally known for his fictional villains, Larsson was well acquainted with their real-life counterparts and documented extremist activities throughout the world. For years he'd been amassing evidence that linked their terrorist acts to what he called "one of the most astounding murder cases" he'd ever covered. Larsson's archive was forgotten until journalist Jan Stocklassa was given exclusive access to the author's secret project.

In The Man Who Played with Fire, Stocklassa collects the pieces of Larsson's true-crime puzzle to follow the trail of intrigue, espionage, and conspiracy begun by one of the world's most famous thriller writers. Together they set out to solve a mystery that no one else could.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Marita: The Spy Who Loved Castro

By Marita Lorenz,

Book cover of Marita: The Spy Who Loved Castro

Why this book?

This is an incredible story about the young Marita Lorenz who falls in love with Fidel Castro one month after the Cuban Revolution and then gets persuaded by the CIA to try and assassinate him. Marita Lorenz was a spy for the CIA, had a child with at least one Latin American dictator and several lovers among the New York Mafia. That much we know, but it’s up to you if you believe her take on the JFK assassination. As she puts it herself at the beginning of the book: “I have been a woman in a man’s world. I have lied to protect myself and my children and I have told the truth when it suited me. Now I want to leave things clear”.


America's Stolen Narrative: From Washington and Madison to Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes to Obama

By Robert Parry,

Book cover of America's Stolen Narrative: From Washington and Madison to Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes to Obama

Why this book?

This is an encyclopedia for anybody who wants to doublecheck the official version of events in US history starting from George Washington all the way through the presidencies of Nixon, the two Bushes, and Barak Obama. Investigative journalist Robert Parry worked for Associated Press and Newsweek on the Iran-Contra affair and spent years on the October Surprise, that cost President Jimmy Carter a second term. If you want to understand the role of the arms industry on US foreign policy since World War II, this is a great start. Or as President Eisenhower put it in his farewell address: “… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”


The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

By John Perkins,

Book cover of The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Why this book?

Wars are fought on many fronts and one of the most important during the Cold War was economic warfare. This is the bestselling inside story of John Perkins whose role was to persuade Third World countries to take large, unnecessary loans so they would become dependent on the West. It made a few individuals very rich and the countries even poorer. The book sheds light t into dealings you wouldn’t hope were true about institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the US Treasury Department. But it is. A similar strategy has later been adopted by China, which makes the book even more relevant.


Warrior: Frank Sturgis---The Cia's #1 Assassin-Spy, Who Nearly Killed Castro But Was Ambushed by Watergate

By Jim Hunt, Bob Risch,

Book cover of Warrior: Frank Sturgis---The Cia's #1 Assassin-Spy, Who Nearly Killed Castro But Was Ambushed by Watergate

Why this book?

My first pick was the story of Marita Lorenz who tried to kill Fidel Castro. This book is the story of the man who gave her that assignment. Frank Sturgis struggled side-by-side with Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution only to turn against him when he realized that Castro had become a communist. Then Sturgis joined forces with the American Mafia as well as with the CIA. He made several attempts to assassinate Castro during several decades as well as carried out assignments for the Mafia and the CIA in the US, Latin America, Europe, and Africa. We know he was one of the “Plumbers” arrested for the Watergate burglary, but was he involved in the assassination of John F Kennedy as Marita Lorenz claimed? Opinions differ…


Adequately Explained by Stupidity?: Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies

By Morag G. Kerr,

Book cover of Adequately Explained by Stupidity?: Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies

Why this book?

No list of books on real conspiracies should leave out the bombing of Pan Am 103 over the Scottish village Lockerbie in December 1988. After reading Morag Kerr’s book, it’s impossible to trust any of the evidence in the case against Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. The book goes into a lot of detail but is still easy to read. If you like detective stories that focus on forensics, then this is the real deal. The only thing missing are the names of the people behind the bombing, but that may come in my next book, to be published in 2022…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in assassins, JFK, and the John F. Kennedy Assassination?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about assassins, JFK, and the John F. Kennedy Assassination.

Assassins Explore 42 books about assassins
JFK Explore 37 books about JFK
The John F. Kennedy Assassination Explore 12 books about the John F. Kennedy Assassination

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like JFK and the Unspeakable, Oswald's Tale, and Last Second in Dallas if you like this list.