THE FALL AND RISE OF JIMMY HOFFA by Walter Sheridan

THE FALL AND RISE OF JIMMY HOFFA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Walter Sheridan has been very closely identified with the late Robert Kennedy and the anti-Hoffa forces ever since he joined the staff of the McClellan Committee in 1957 then investigating labor racketeering. Hence this fifteen-year ""chronology of corruption"" is necessarily if not intentionally a prejudiced accounting of the country's most disputatious and perhaps most formidable union potentate (said with full knowledge that Hoffa is currently enjoined from an open leadership role in the Teamsters, a condition of his Nixon-engineered parole last year). Sheridan, disparaged as Kennedy's ""axeman"" by the union brotherhood and admittedly a controversial public figure himself, dogs Hoffa's tracks as closely as did his old boss -- from the escalating acrimony of those first committee hearings through the snarled jury-tampering and pension-fraud trials of the early '60's to Hoffa's eventual imprisonment and release four years later in 1971. Budd Schulberg, in his introduction, says Sheridan is ""So quiet-spoken you literally have to lean forward to hear him,"" a characterization which conforms with the tone here, which is plodding, flat, unhysterical. Nonetheless, Sheridan does make some strong -- very strong -- accusations, chiefly that the Hoffa-Nixon link has an underworldly hue about it and that Teamster officials did on more than one occasion discuss murdering Robert Kennedy (Hoffa allegedly proposed a plastic bomb or a gun with a silencer) although no attempt is made to tie the union to the Senator's actual death. Sheridan sincerely despises Jimmy Hoffa and his crowd, but there are many who will view this book as both sour grapes and an effort to vindicate Kennedy's aggressive ""get Hoffa"" campaign. Whatever the persuasion, considerable attention is assured.

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 1972
Publisher: Saturday Review Press