True or not, this makes one hell of a story and ties up all the pesky loose ends of events in Dallas 50 years ago. The...

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION

The mob did it.

In this updated, more compact version of his earlier Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (with Thom Hartmann, 2008), soon to be a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, veteran investigative reporter Waldron (Watergate: The Hidden History: Nixon, the Mafia, and the CIA, 2012, etc.) fleshes out his argument that Mafia godfathers Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante ordered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Drawing on new interviews and declassified files, the author describes a small, carefully planned conspiracy orchestrated by Louisiana boss Marcello in retaliation for Robert Kennedy’s war on the mob. Building on the 1979 findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations that JFK’s assassination was probably the result of a conspiracy and that Marcello and Trafficante had “the motive, means, and opportunity,” Waldron weaves a complex, highly readable narrative with many disquieting elements. These include Marcello’s meetings with Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby; Marcello’s recorded prison-yard confession to a fellow inmate and FBI informer (“Yeah, I had the son of a bitch killed. I’m glad I did….I’m sorry I couldn’t have done it myself”); and striking similarities in the behavior of Oswald and designated fall guys in two planned attempts on JFK’s life during earlier motorcade visits in Chicago and Tampa. The author maintains that the godfathers took advantage of a planned U.S.-sponsored coup against Fidel Castro: They killed the president and managed to avoid detection in the subsequent coverup of the secret coup plans. Two European gunmen opened fire at Dealey Plaza, with Oswald as the fall guy, Waldron writes. Jack Ruby’s orders were to find a cop who would kill Oswald or to do it himself, which he did. The book offers much speculation and plenty of instances of “perhaps,” “probably” and “may have.”

True or not, this makes one hell of a story and ties up all the pesky loose ends of events in Dallas 50 years ago. The conspiracy crowd will love it.

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61902-226-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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