ASSASSINATION: A Newsreel Serial. Episode #1--""THE FAT KING AND THE-LEFT-HANDED KILLER: King Eglon (early twelfth century B.C.)"" Episode #2--""A CRITIC MEETS DEATH: Marcus Tullius Cicero (December 7, 43 B.C.)"" Chapter 15--""GUNS IN THE UNITED STATES."" The text is not all as sensational as the headlines, nor are all the headlines as explosive as these, but the manner throughout is strictly reportorial. Capsuled are major examples of the special kind of murder that changed the course of history, from Biblical times to the Russian Revolution, from Julius Caesar to Mahatma Gandhi, from Thomas a Beckett to Martin Luther King. Though the data is here, the thought is thin, critical analysis almost nil--despite constant referral to the distinction between real assassination and just plain murder, which is iterated and reiterated yet never actually clear. And clarity is a problem across the board: sentences often demand second readings; the host of names outshouts the impact of events; each section ends with a go-nowhere observation like ""The dictatorships continue, and true democracy is still far in the future"" (Panama), ""No solution can be expected in the immediate future"" (Burundi), ""The prospects for violence are ever-present"" (Algeria). Informational maybe, but surely misguided.