THE POLK CONSPIRACY: Murder and Cover-up in the Case of CBS Correspondent George Polk by Kati Marton
Kirkus Star

THE POLK CONSPIRACY: Murder and Cover-up in the Case of CBS Correspondent George Polk

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KIRKUS REVIEW

First-rate investigative reporting by former ABC foreign correspondent Marton (Wallenberg, 1982, and a novel, An American Woman, 1987), who bares the facts about the killing of an American reporter in Greece at the dawn of the Cold War. In May 1948, the body of George Polk, CBS Middle East correspondent, was found in Salonika harbor. A protÉgÉ of Edward R. Murrow, the 34-year-old Polk had made his name as a journalist--as well as many enemies--by reporting honestly on a hungry, civil-war-torn Greece and its brutal and ""graft-ridden"" right-wing government. Fearful of Stalin's extending grip on Eastern Europe, the US was propping up this corrupt oligarchy as it fought communist guerrillas who had overrun much of the country. By questioning American foreign policy, the driven, charming, and rootless Polk came to be seen as a ""dangerous man"" not only in Athens but in Washington. As shocking here as the murder are the sham investigations and the wide circle of British and Americans who helped suppress the troth. The Greek government framed and convicted a scapegoat whose torture-induced testimony blamed the murder on the communists. Marion, wife of ABC anchorman Peter Jennings, has used previously suppressed reports, declassified cables, journals, and interviews to latch onto the crisscrossing conspiratorial threads (the ""cast list"" names over 50 players). Her straightforward, scrupulously documented account delivers many jolts--for example, that Wild Bill Donovan. war hero and OSS founder, simply ignored evidence that Polk was a victim of a conspiracy between Greek military police and British intelligence. Besides Polk, another hero here is Donovan's investigator, James Kellis, who tracked the killers and was removed from the investigation. An exciting and disillusioning tale of international Cold War intrigue and political corruption, crackling with questions about freedom and the press.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux