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The Annals of Unsolved Crime Hardcover – February 15, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (February 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612190480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612190488
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A grand figure of modern journalism . . . Show Epstein a juicy crime and he will show you how it has been subverted by unseen powers for their own agenda, by the inevitable incompetence of investigative authorities and by the media because it likes a simple story line.”
—Michael Wolff, USA Today

“It’s a terrific book.”
—Errol Morris, Oscar-winning filmmaker

“[Written by] one of the greatest American investigative journalists, a compelling and informed account of how crime and the needs of power and politics intertwine.”
—Patrick Cockburn, The Independent

“Epstein takes the accepted version of events from Lincoln’s and Kennedy’s assassinations to  Strauss-Kahn’s sexual encounter in that New York hotel, and he then undermines the accepted version with careful research and close reasoning. It’s really good fun whether or not you end up convinced, but if you like conspiracy theories, read this book.”
—Fareed Zakaria, CNN

“Epstein often is able to provide exactly the kind of comprehensive and levelheaded analysis that is usually drowned out in the sensationalism . . . As a longtime investigative journalist, Epstein knows how to break down a crime scene.”

“Epstein . . . deserves credit for being the one of the very first to smell a rat in [the Kennedy assassination] investigation . . . His analysis [in The Annals of Unsolved Crime] . . . is well documented.”
—Ron Rosenbaum, Slate

“Armchair detectives will eat this book with a spoon. Journalism students need to read the Strauss-Kahn piece yesterday. The JFK piece is required reading for assassination buffs. And for the rest of us? The Annals of Unsolved Crime is a guilty pleasure.”
—Jesse Kornbluth, The Huffington Post

“Whether you’re a true crime devotee or simply someone who loves a good story, you’ll find things you didn’t know—maybe things you would never imagine—all served up in . . . The Annals of Unsolved Crime.”
—Criminal Element

“Epstein is an inveterate chronicler of bad acts and those who commit them. In a career that began in the 1960s . . . Epstein has done a lot of brave crime reporting over the years . . . [H]is examination of the plane crash that killed Pakistan’s president in 1988 is the authoritative product of extensive reporting Epstein carried out in that country. Likewise, his interviews with key players in the investigation that followed the 2000 murder of a Ukrainian journalist provide . . . original details.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“Extremely entertaining, this book will be popular with fans of ripped-from-the-headlines crime tales and students of the more historical cases. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal (starred review)

Praise for Edward Jay Epstein

“[Epstein believes] that conspiracies are more common than most journalists credit; for much of his career, he has reveled in the kind of tantalizing clues that could lead somewhere . . . or nowhere.”
—Joe Nocera, The New York Times

“[Epstein is] a bulldog researcher.”
—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“A brilliant investigator.”
—Lou Dobbs
“Epstein tells all.”
—John Leonard, The New York Times

Praise for The Big Picture

“A rich adventure that will change the way you look at movies.”

“Edward Jay Epstein is here to tell us that when it comes to Hollywood these days, we’ve got it all wrong.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“One of the virtues of The Big Picture is Mr. Epstein’s astonishing access to numbers that movie studios go to great lengths to keep secret . . . A groundbreaking work that explains the inner workings of the game.”
—The Wall Street Journal

“Hollywood has needed one of these for a long time—a user’s manual. This one could not be more complete. . . .[Grade] A.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“In his adroit charting of the confidence flow between the various entities and eras Mr. Epstein kicks up a lot of little surprises. . . Edward Jay Epstein is quite good.”
—Larry  McMurtry, The New York Review of Books

About the Author

Edward Jay Epstein is the author of fourteen books. He studied government at Cornell and Harvard and received a Ph.D from Harvard in 1973. His thesis on the search for political truth became a best-selling book, Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth. His doctoral dissertation on television news was published as News From Nowhere. He is the recipient of numerous foundation grants and awards, including the prestigious Financial Times/Booz Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award for both best biography and best business book for Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer. He has written for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City. 

Customer Reviews

Don't waist your time nor money.
As always, Mr Epstein proves to be a talented & engaging writer; and I did enjoy the book very much.
Robert Chadwick
Beware of lunch meetings with shady characters!
Dr. J

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I met Edward Jay Epstein a lifetime ago, in Cambridge in 1965. He was researching a book about the Kennedy assassination. I wondered why. Wasn't JFK killed by Lee Harvey Oswald? As I say: a lifetime ago.

As a reporter and researcher, Ed Epstein gives new meaning to "meticulous." He is a crackerjack interviewer, but his greater skill is reading and re-reading masses of documents. And then his greatest skill comes into play: his ability to see contradictions and omissions, and to subject the events in question to logic.

Over the years, Epstein has written fifteen books. They cover a big field: Nixon-era crimes, the CIA, diamonds. (Many are still in print. And he's converted most to Kindles.) Only once have we worked on the same story: the criminal prosecution of junk-bond financier Michael Milken. We had the same take: the government had it wrong. As did all the writers who used prosecutors as key sources --- if you believe "Den of Thieves," I regret to inform you that you are badly misinformed.

Milken once asked Epstein what his hobbies were. "Conspiracies," Epstein replied. And now he's collected his takes on his hobby in "The Annals of Unsolved Crime."

Some of the pieces are historical (Lincoln, the Reichstag fire, the Lindbergh kidnapping). Some ask: Suicide... or accident? There's a Cold Case file (Jack the Ripper, JonBenet Ramsey, Jimmy Hoffa). And an exploration of "unsolved" crimes (Oklahoma City, OJ Simpson, Amanda Knox.)

These are solid, smart pieces, but it's the two new investigations that raise the bar for readers and journalists alike.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian Kodi VINE VOICE on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Some cases were based on original work, such as Mr. Epstein's personal interviews with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, but others such as OJ Simpson's offered no further insight than media reports.

The number of cases included in the book were excessive in my opinion, and unfortunately, the coverage was sometimes too thin and left a little to be desired. Mr. Epstein could have done more service by reducing the number of cases and delving deeper into each. Still, this is a book with a nice mix of historical and contemporary true crime.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Zadius Sky on March 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came across this book and was intrigued by the title, "The Annals of Unsolved Crime." This book goes into the details of mysterious unsolved crimes in the last hundred years or so by an investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein, who made a career of reporting on unsolved murders and other crimes (even high-profile ones).

There are 35 cases covered in this book, under five parts: "Loners:" But Were They Alone?, Suicide, Accident, Or Disguised Murder?, Cold Case File, Crimes of State, and Solved or Unsolved with an Epilogue (on JFK Assassination). In each of these cases, he provided details of the story along with his own "assessment" on them (in some of them, he provided his own experiences and his interviews).

Admittedly, I have not heard some of these unsolved crimes, of these I would eventually take a look further on (the author even included a "Further Investigation" section where he provided a number of books to start with). I sure do agree with some of his own assessments on some of the unheard of cases, but of course, as cynic as I am, I'd personally like to follow up on those cases.

Personally, what I do not agree with the author's hardcore conclusion about the "loner" discussions (this never sits well with me), especially about the JFK assassination. He sincerely believed that "Oswald fired all the shots that killed the President," but of course, he is asking himself if Oswald was alone or at least been influenced by Cuban intelligence. On this case alone, I would suggest a read from The Secret Team,
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Chadwick on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I looked forward to this book's release for months because it tackles some of my favorite true crime mysteries. As always, Mr Epstein proves to be a talented & engaging writer; and I did enjoy the book very much. I admit that I did pick & choose the chapters that interested me for now, so I truly cannot comment on the entire book. At some point I will go back & read those other cases as well. I have no doubt that the chapters I skipped would be just as well written as the ones I have already considered. For now, I will comment on the cases that I did read ... hopefully without revealing too much.

I am in total agreement with Mr Epstein's views on just two of my favorite cases. I believe his solution to the Lindbergh case is absolutely correct; and his assertions regarding the Zodiac mystery feel right to me. Regarding Marilyn Monroe, the Black Dahlia & Jack the Ripper, I would not argue with his conclusions even though I find his theories less convincing than his views on Lindbergh & the Zodiac.

Regarding Sam Sheppard, JonBenet Ramsey & Jeffrey MacDonald, I believe Mr Epstein falls victim to revisionist history ... as well as the use of selective evidence ... and misses the mark. This happens with so many cases from the past. As time goes by, writers look at only what has been preserved in written form and the opinions of scholars on the subject & supposed new evidence while failing to consider that they are missing so much crucial information. In other words, juries have the opportunity to use so much more than the trial transcript to render their verdict. They have access to the demeanor of the witnesses & the defendant in addition to other evidence that is excluded, rightly or wrongly, from the record of the trial.
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