DR. SAM: An American Tragedy by Jack Harrison Pollack

DR. SAM: An American Tragedy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Did he or didn't he? Did Dr. Sam Sheppard bludgeon his wife Marilyn to death on July 4, 1954? Can Humpty-Dumpty be put back together? Jack Pollack, journalist and friend of Dr. Sam's, rehashes the case from that dreadful night when someone (a woman? a bushy-haired, left-handed intruder? Sheppard?) killed the sleeping woman to the Dr.'s pathetic and ""undramatic"" death in 1970 from too much alcohol and drugs (a suicide, says Pollack, ""not technically but virtually""). The author believes -- adamantly -- that the osteopath did not kill his wife, but there's nothing here to support the publisher's claim that ""New and important facts are objectively disclosed for the first time."" What happened in the Sheppard home on the evening in question ""is still a mystery,"" writes Pollack, who seems most concerned to settle a score with lawyer F. Lee Bailey, i.e., ""Box Office Barrister Bailey"" whose ""abbreviated summary of the Sheppard saga"" in his currently bestselling memoir The Defense Never Rests discloses ""only a fragment of his knowledge of his tortured client."" (What knowledge? Bailey's j'accuse letter naming the real murderer, dismissed by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury? An unpublished Parade article?) Aside from this contretemps, the book has little else to offer except a summary of the case evidence developed by Harold Bretnall, a private eye from New York who worked on the mystery for six years before his death in 1961 and who also believed Sam was innocent. This is readable rather than revelatory, a smooth reconstruct rather than a new exhibit.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Regnery