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Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin Hardcover – October 22, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (October 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679429999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679429999
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This book relates a journalist's worst nightmare: of getting deeply involved in a "big story" based on information from a single source who turns out to be a world-class liar. During the 1992 Presidential campaign Singer wrote a story for the New Yorker about the allegations by Brett Kimberlin, a former marijuana dealer then in prison for a series of bombings, that he had once sold marijuana to Vice President Dan Quayle. (The cartoonist Garry Trudeau was another journalist who pushed this story hard.) After signing a book contract to expand the story, Singer invested more and more time,and became frustrated by holes, inconsistencies and dead ends in Kimberlin's tale. Embroiled in a Kafkaesque mystery, Singer recounts his painstaking journalistic detective work, and his growing sense that this would be the story that got away.

From Publishers Weekly

After Garry Trudeau in "Doonesbury," the New Yorker's Mark Singer was possibly the most prominent journalist to sympathetically report allegations that convict Brett Kimberlin had sold marijuana to Dan Quayle when the Vice-President was a law student. Indeed, Singer signed a contract with Kimberlin to write a book, but Kimberlin turns out to be a top-flight con man?as the author reveals with dismay and near admiration. So this picaresque detective story has a mea culpa at its heart, an effort to explain how certain things?such as former Harvard Law dean Erwin Griswold's support for Kimberlin's court appeal and Kimberlin's muzzling by federal officials?helped build an edifice of sand. Singer conscientiously reconstructs Kimberlin's history of crime?he was a drug smuggler and, mostly likely, the man behind some vicious bombings in Indianapolis. Some of this narrative gets tedious, yet it's part of Singer's effort to contrast facts with Kimberlin's confident but "apparitional" explanations. Leavening the story are Singer's tales of Kimberlin's charmed life behind bars: he wangled unlimited long-distance phone service, became the jailhouse lawyer for numerous Mafiosi and snared an impressive legal support group. Now free, the former dope smuggler helps ship commodities to Ukraine; but when Kimberlin (with Singer in tow) had a chance to meet Quayle at a book signing, he refused to confront him. Quayle, it now seems, deserves apologies. 50,000 first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Singer does an excellent job of portraying this madman from his beginnings here in Indianapolis as a prime suspect in the "Speedway Bombings" of the late 1970s to his accusations that he sold pot to Dan Quayle... Singer's subject is someone that you should be afraid to meet on the street and he does a great job explaining why and how...
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Hoosierread on January 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Singer's review of the truly "weird" journey of Indiana's Brett Kimberlin is a must read for any student of Indiana history, but also for anyone who loves the brilliant talent of a non-fiction writer in setting a believeable, real scene. Singer takes us to an assortment of times and places in the life of Kimberlin - finally capturing beneath the bravado and facade of what Kimberlin wants us to think of him - who he truly is. "Citizen K" is a painful journey at times - I felt for Singer as I watched him sink deeper into the lies and deceit that are at the center of Kimberlin's life - but reveled in the light that came to him as he dug deeper. Nothing like that would be possible, if Singer had not kept at it, kept digging, kept asking more questions. His humility in writing is rather extraordinary - he tells the reader when he didn't ask a particular question or probe into a particular lie Kimberlin would spin - and why. Though this book is now more than a decade old, it's one of the best pieces of non-fiction I've read in a while. As a writer, I loved it. As a Hoosier, I was enthralled with the details. In the end, I find myself seeking out more of Singer's work. A great book.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By J. Irvine on May 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It seems that he is out and about doing his nasty work again. Time to reissue this book to get people back up to speed on the speedway killer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Webb on April 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Singer has given us all a gift into his insight into a aspect of American culture that should enlighten everyone. This book portrays a person who to this day still twists and obfuscates the truth bending it into his own dark reality.
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