ASSASSINATION IN KHARTOUM by David A. Korn

ASSASSINATION IN KHARTOUM

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Former Foreign Service officer Korn's account of the 1973 killing in Sudan of American diplomats Cleo Noel and George Moore by the radical Palestinian Black September movement. Nowhere is the new world order more apparent than in the writing of history, be it reexaminations of US cold war policy or a study like this, in which virtue and villainy seem much more ambiguous than they did a few years ago. The Khartoum setting is redolent with history (``Chinese'' Gordon vs. the Mahdi, etc.), but its implications (which ultimately have made Sudan one of today's foremost sanctuaries for terrorists) aren't part of Korn's story- -nor, apparently, of one victim's innocent remark that ``as long as I am in Sudan, I will never be in danger.'' Though we learn much here about Noel and Moore (both unquestionably capable and dedicated civil servants), the two exist at a remove, too idealized by the author to be truly sympathetic. Korn mixes engrossing chapters of on-the-spot action--detailing the kidnapping of the two officers and their murder after the Nixon Administration had refused to bargain with the kidnappers--with more disappointing background chapters (``To Be a Foreign Service Officer''; ``To Be an Arabist''). Though loaded with factual detail (of the Embassy driver's actions and loyalty to his US employers; of the background of a Marine on duty at the time of the killings; of the city's climate; of the layout of the embassy building), Korn's chronicle- -part professional report, part thriller, and part essay on the Foreign Service--lacks sufficient emphasis on the gray eminence of US foreign policy, which defined us for much of the Third World. Korn apparently wanted to write a hymn to virtue and patriotism--but his song seems old-fashioned, a tune from another era. (Photographs and maps)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-253-33202-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Indiana Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieBONES IN THE NILE by Omer Ertur
by Omer Ertur