TALKED TO DEATH: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg by Stephen Singular

TALKED TO DEATH: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Berg, the West's Last Angry Man, a hated, admired, vitriolic Denver talk-show host, was gunned down in front of his home on the evening of June 18, 1984. The surprised reader soon finds that Singular's heavy research on the founding and growth of the murderous neo-Nazi movement in the Western stales gets equal time with Berg. Very tall, spindly, redheaded, and extremely natty (he owned 150 pairs of shoes as well as a shirt store), Berg was a widely informed, often splenetic compulsive talker, and the soul of charm when not drinking. On the day he was murdered, his voice was covering the vast, utterly open, barren and lonely Great Plains. Berg was controversial for the sake of controversy--which prompted his station manager to lock the station's doors at night. Singular follows Berg's style over the years, through a period when Berg was hanging up on nearly all of his show's callers as ""too boring"" to talk with (he would put on elderly ladies with talk about arresting men for having erections on the street). What Berg loved was puncturing the pretensions and prejudices of his callers. He was, however, an epileptic, given to grand and petit mal seizures, and became an alcoholic in trying to fight his epilepsy. Eventually, he sobered up, had a brain tumor removed, but never really mellowed, especially on gun control and paranoid organizations. The neo-Nazis, known as the Silent Brotherhood, found him unbearable. His murder came fairly early in their campaign against the ""Zionist-ruled commie hippie homo niggerlovers who were sapping the life out of the White Race"" and whom Berg defended. The Aryan lovers had coalesced into a struggling organization searching for its next dime while bombing synagogues and porno-homo movie theaters, counterfeiting 10-dollar bills and robbing Brinks trucks. Blowing away Berg was a cherry on top of their foredoomed martydom. Their sword unsheathed, they began building cells on the proceeds of a $3-million Brinks job. Then the FBI closed in and the group collapsed cell by cell, except for leader Bob Mathews, whose Hitlerian anger demanded--and got--a fatal shootout with the Zionist feds. Singular gives his book plenty of verve, presenting the Aryan nationalists with as much heart as he does Berg.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1987
Publisher: Beech Tree/Morrow