TRACKING THE JACKAL by David Yallop

TRACKING THE JACKAL

The Search for Carlos, the World's Most Wanted Man
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Attention must be paid a journalist who expresses formal gratitude to, among others, Yasser Arafat, Caroline Kennedy, Abu Nidal, Muammar al-Qaddafi, Yitzhak Shamir, and Bruce Springsteen for their help in his ten-year quest to get the lowdown on Carlos- -arguably the world's highest-profile terrorist. Here, Yallop (Deliver Us from Evil, 1982, etc.) offers an absorbing narrative of his inquiry, which sets the record plausibly straight on the outlaw dubbed ``the Jackal.'' The Venezuelan-born Carlos (nÇ Ilich Ramirez Sanchez) is alive and well in Damascus, according to Yallop, who recounts two interviews he was granted with the globe's most wanted man. In Yallop's view, Syria has given Carlos a safe haven for reasons having as much to do with his useful notoriety as with murky Middle Eastern politics and the factionalism of Palestinian liberation movements. By his own account, the terrorist is a bit of a klutz whose deeds seldom match his reputation. Trained by the PLO, he's portrayed as being, at the height of his infamy, little more than a reckless hired gun for Wadi Haddad's Popular Front; had he not gained propaganda value, Carlos's lack of discipline and dedication likely would have landed him in an early grave. Moreover, Yallop reveals that while Carlos led the bloody 1975 assault that held OPEC ministers hostage, he didn't participate in many other violent acts for which he's been blamed. Throughout, the author does a credible job of unraveling the tangled webs that link dissident as well as revolutionary organizations with the governments and police forces charged with bringing them to book, and he offers convincing evidence of the complicity, negligence, and jurisdictional conflicts that repeatedly have allowed Carlos to evade capture. If Yallop crows a bit about uncovering information missed, misunderstood, or distorted by law-enforcement and the fourth estate, that's the price of admission to an engrossing guided tour of a netherworld familiar largely to a troubled time's lost souls. (Photos--not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-42559-4
Page count: 640pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993