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Deadly Times: The 1910 Bombing Of The Los Angeles Times And America's Forgotten Decade Of Terror Hardcover – May 7, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First Edition edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762783540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762783540
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

  • "A gripping must-read tale of turbulent times." -- Dr. John Horgan, director, International Center for the Study of Terrorism, Penn State University
    "A most fascinating and can't-put-down story." -- Harry Brant Chandler, media executive, scion of family that founded the Los Angeles Times
    "Reads more like a novel with the suspenseful twists and turns." -- C.D. Quyn, San Francisco Book Review
    "Irwin, a veteran television journalist, is an artist in prose." -- Anthony Mostrom, L.A. Weekly
    "Masterfully" written. -- Publishers Weekly

From the Author

I began writing Deadly Times more than half a lifetime ago after interviewing Irving Stone, who had written one of his "biographical fiction" accounts of the life of attorney Clarence Darrow, best known for defending the thrill-killers Leopold and Loeb in 1924 and John Scopes in the "monkey trial" the following year. The book included an account -- some of it admittedly fictional -- of Darrow's defense in 1910 of J.B. McNamara, a member of the AFofL-affiliated Iron Workers Union, who was charged with bombing the Los Angeles Times, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 100 others, and his brother, J.J. McNamara, the secretary-treasurer of the union, who allegedly had ordered the bombing and more than 150 others throughout the country over the course of four years. Darrow himself would later be tried -- twice -- for attempting to bribe the jury. 

Although I had worked at the Times in my youth I was unaware that it had ever been bombed, and I set out to learn more about that terrible event, which was called "The Crime of the Century" in its day and remains the deadliest crime ever to go to trial in California and the deadliest crime committed against journalists in history. As an act of terrorism it is exceeded only by the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the World Trade Center attack in 2001.

Deadly Times was begun at a time when reporters and researchers wearing gauze gloves had to pore over fragile broadsheets and files in newspaper "morgues"and ended in a day when 100-year-old court records, books, newspapers and personal correspondence could be called up in seconds on a personal computer. In recent years I was able to learn pertinent details of the intricate investigation that led to the capture of the dynamiters and fascinating information about the personal and professional lives of the bigger-than-life players in this drama. 

One reviewer said that it reads like fiction. But as fiction, it would have seemed unbelievable. 

Customer Reviews

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I'd reccommend the book to anyone.
serious
Lew has brought a dangerous era in union history to life through careful research and through the characters who lived it.
Steve Liddick
The work is well written if, due to the subject, depressing.
AlixInIdaho

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pete Noyes on July 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Deadly Times" by veteran Los Angeles journalist Lew Irwin is the product of years of research into the hundreds of workplace bombings across the United States that culminated in the destruction of the Los Angeles Times building on October 1, 1910. The devastation left at least 20 Times' employees dead and more than 100 injured. Much has been written about the Times bombing but none as skillfully as Irwin's story. The plotter and bomber, the two Mcnamara brothers from the Iron Workers Union in Indiana, were eventually tracked down by William Burns, known as the nation's greatest private detective and brought to Los Angeles to stand trial, most certainly facing the death penalty. Their lawyer was Clarence Darrow, the wiley Chicago attorney, who was caught bribing a juror. Darrow was forced to stand trial but not convicted. In a strange twist of fate, the powerful and hard nosed publisher of the Los Angeles Times, General Harrison Gray Otis, agreed not to press for the death penalty against the McNamara brothers despite the enormity of their crimes. I was born in Los Angeles and grew up listening to many tales about the night the Times building blew up. Now,at last, Lew Irwin has come along and set the record straight with an historical work that will leave its footprints on the sands of time. Pete Noyes
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By serious on July 26, 2013
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A fascinating book about a part of history over a hundred years ago but with themes that pertain to some of the same issues that exist today regarding labor unions and owners. The author's writing was like he was there at the time seeing the events as they occurred and actually heard the conversations as they happened. I'd reccommend the book to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Liddick on July 14, 2013
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Lew Irwin's new book,"Deadly Times," is much more than a reporting job. Lew has brought a dangerous era in union history to life through careful research and through the characters who lived it. The book is a masterful recreation of the series of union-provoked bombings that included the Los Angeles Times building that killed more than 20 people. The book even manages to evoke some sympathy for one of the bombers, who was coerced into doing the union's dirty work. The Times incident was nearly lost to history largely because the powerful newspaper buried the story of its refusal to negotiate with union officials. Irwin pulled it back from obscurity and has written the definitive work on the subject. If Deadly Times doesn't become a major motion picture, Hollywood is missing a great opportunity to produce a blockbuster.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stanley R. Jones on December 17, 2013
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My mother's father was in the LA District Attorney's at the time the Times was bombed and the McNamaras were tried for the crime. He worked on the case but, to my disappointment, was not mentioned in the book. Unfortunately, he passed away before I was born so I never got to ask him about the matter. Since I am an attorney and because of my grandfather, I have always had a particular interest in the incident. Many years ago, I read "Counsel for the Damned," the book on Darrow. Although I do not remember much about "Counsel for the Damned," I really enjoyed this book and was impressed by the detail it contains.

Stan Jones
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AlixInIdaho on October 31, 2013
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The work is well written if, due to the subject, depressing. Visit the LA Times bombing find-a-grave site for a good look at how contemporaries reacted - have a facial tissue handy. The copy I purchased arrived quickly and in excellent condition.
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Lew Irwin did a fantastic job of historical sleuthing and telling the story of this major event in manner that had me not wanting to put the book down. Americans have long forgotten the less-rosy aspects of our history and this era (1900-1920) was one of the most violent and dynamic in our country's history.
As a fellow true-crime author, historical researcher and professional bomb investigator, I found that the level of detail in this book is far beyond any similar historical/true crime book I have ever read. The events and social/political chaos leading up to the Times bombing are clearly laid out, giving the reader a history lesson of the true motivations behind the targeting and bombing. The actual attack and subsequent nationwide investigation is described in a manner to keep all true crime buffs on the edge of their seat. Finally, the author's treatment of the egos involved, political ramifications of the event, and the outrageous chicanery of the famous attorneys involved in the "trial of the century" following the bombing is nothing short of splendid.
Lew Irwin's book is a must read for all history, true-crime, political and legal buffs. It is a must read for all detectives and investigators interested in the motivations and tactics of bombers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glamazonian on July 20, 2014
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A fascinating look into a tragic, fatal, and catastrophic event, written in a thorough manner, yet not weighed down at all. The book is a page turner. I find this book exceptionally well written. Its historical perspective provides a backdrop for the plot unfolding. I am about halfway through this book. The union, its political significance during a bourgeoning industrial revolution, and the era of LA "the pueblo," as well as the history of how the Times became a major force are all very compelling. The author takes you back to the days of the linotype, the influence of the Times, and the events leading up to a maelstrom of deadly force.
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More About the Author

"He is one of the great reporters in America today....I could make a case that he is one of the most useful citizens." Poet Carl Sandburg to ABC News Chief Jim Hagerty, 1961.

Lew Irwin has had a hand in nearly every facet of news and information broadcasting, a familiar face and voice in Southern California for more than 50 years as he anchored television news programs or directed the news operations of leading radio stations, always adding his hallmark -- a flair for humor and for pointing out the extraordinary. In 1968, he produced and hosted The Credibility Gap on KRLA Los Angeles, which integrated topical satire and music with the news. Time and Newsweek wrote full-page articles about it, and it was featured in a long segment on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.

Following that, Irwin produced and hosted more than a half dozen syndicated radio series, including, from 1972-1985, Earth News Radio, which launched independent, bartered syndicated radio. In 1995 he wrote SINATRA: The Pictorial Biography, published by Running Press.

He recently completed DEADLY TIMES: The 1910 Bombing of the Los Angeles Times and America's Forgotten Decade of Terror, published by Globe-Pequot Press. In his review of the book, Anthony Mostrom of L.A. weekly said that Irwin is "a poet in prose." C.D. Quyn of the San Francisco Book Review called it a "wonderfully written narration." And Publishers Weekly said that it was "masterfully" written.

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