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The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs and Murder Paperback – September 11, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (September 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595196667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595196661
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Denton, a former investigator for Jack Anderson, relates a sordid tale of corruption in Lexington, Kentucky. Among the major players were Governor John Y. Brown; his top political aides; former policeman and blueblood Andrew Thornton, the leader of an organization known as the "Company"; and other bluebloods, rich from money originally earned in horse-breeding and racing. Ralph Ross, a Kentucky state policeman who began a crusade to catch Thornton and his associates, was eventually forced out by being framed in an illegal wiretapping charge. Yet ultimately press coverage exposed the conspiracy. A labyrinthian tale, made complex by its mix of "good guys" and "bad guys," this will be of interest to libraries with large true crime sections. Recommended.
-Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A larger than real-life thriller." -- The Wall Street Journal

More About the Author

Sally Denton is an investigative reporter, author, and historian who writes about the subjects others ignore--from a drug conspiracy in Kentucky to organized crime in Las Vegas; from corruption within the Mormon Church to the hidden history of Manifest Destiny; from one of America's bitterest political campaigns to the powerful forces arrayed against Franklin D. Roosevelt. She has an extensive background in print and broadcast journalism, including newspapers, magazines, and television, and is the author of seven books of narrative history. While the subjects of her books at first glance seem disparate, they are actually unified by a central theme of the exploration of subjects in American history that have been neglected or marginalized. What she has done in her 30-year career is to explore the unmentioned truths about America--what the eminent scholar Daniel Boorstin called "Hidden History." She is a Guggenheim fellow,a Woodrow Wilson public scholar, a Hoover Institute Media Fellow, the recipient of two Western Heritage Awards, and has been inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. She was born and raised in Nevada, where she began her journalism career in 1976.

Customer Reviews

Great factual story telling from beginning to end.
Caleb Kern
It was very interesting to me for I AM an unnamed character within the pages of this book!
rick burden
This is one of the most interesting books anyone could read.
Bob Berry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book tells the detailed story of how a handful of Lexington socialites organized a crime ring that became a (maybe *the*) major smuggler of cocaine and other drugs into the Eastern United States. Complete with cover-up and contract murders, the author pieces together an intricate story that, before it's over, includes state and federal government officials as well as organized-crime syndicates from all over the country. Also recounted in the book is the life of Ralph Ross, the Kentucky State Policeman and electronic-surveillance expert, whose single-minded perseverance finally brought about the end of the smuggling ring.
It's informative as well as it is entertaining, and I recommend it to all true-crime fans, mafia buffs, conspiracy theorists, and Kentuckians.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "mcordier" on October 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
FYI -- Ralph Ross, the tenacious KSP officer who is a central figure in this book, died of cancer on August 24th, 2002. He was 70. The _Lexington Herald-Leader_ ran a story about his death that, some 12 years after "The Bluegrass Conspiracy" was published, is less than objective about Ross. Incidentally, this title was so controversial following its initial publication in 1990 that it was pulled from publication and has only recently been given a new printing. Ross was pardoned by then-Governor Wallace Wilkinson in 1991.
I'm sorry I won't get to meet him after all -- at least not on this side.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Adam Robinson on December 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
One of the best books I have read to date. A definite must read for any Kentuckian or just anyone interested in a good true crime story. You'll be suprised at just how much money and violence was being spread around Lexington from the late 70's through the 80's.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By George Williams on March 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
A Kentucky blue blood, ex-military, ex-cop with a partner manages an organized crime ring called "The Company." After a successfully drug smuggling operation for approximately 20 years a Lexingtonian turns up dead, in his possession a large sum of cocaine and several thousand dollars in cash. Also in his possession a black book with several names of prominent Kentucky figures abroad, and CIA telephone numbers most citizens are ordinarily unable to obtain. A very well connected individual throughout the eastern United States, Las Vegas, and South America. Murder is not out of the question for these folks to commit, in order to proceed in their corrupt business endeavors. All the above information told in page one.
A very good read, the story will have you turning the pages quickly as possible. Sally Denton does a wonderful job conveying this shocking report. Various high rollers and Kentuckians apparently thought themselves to be above the law. This book is nicely written and is a very easy read. Not to say it's lacking in detail but just the opposite, Denton has immensely researched the backgrounds of each subject portrayed. However the end just doesn't wrap up all your questions about a few individuals. A very good book if the ending gave more detail to particular entities would definitely be a five star, but for that reason give a strong four stars...no make it five stars it's really good.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RET on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Bluegrass Conspiracy" is a classic example of a story so good that it retains its spellbinding qualities, no matter who tells it. That is a good thing for this particular story, since I found the actual writing of the book mediocre, and thus far this is the only telling of this particular tale of greed, criminality and corruption in 1970s and 1980s Kentucky.

In that respect, "The Bluegrass Conspiracy" is also a classic example of how an author can be an accomplished journalist, but also a poor writer and an even worse editor. The text is so littered with basic punctuation and grammatical errors that I was driven to distraction; if a copy editor ever worked with the manuscript, that individual was incompetent. A fact checker must have never seen the book either, because there were numerous statistical and firearms errors that were easily and instantly identifiable. Clumsy vocabulary comes a close third in this book's list of deficits.

However, the story told by "The Bluegrass Conspiracy" makes up for that. If you are a fan of non-fiction about the seamy underbelly of America, where the rich and powerful get up to all sorts of misdeeds that nobody wants you to know about, this is your book. Think a true-life James Ellroy novel. If you have ties to the Kentucky of the 1970s and 1980s and enjoy that sort of thing, this book is a must-have. That said, it is a shame it is hampered by its sheer sloppiness.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By genelmason@go.com on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
A few years before "Drew" bit the dust he arrested me for "knowingly receiving a stolen typewriter" when I was running for the US Congress. Result: 1-5. That event changed my life. Sally Denton cuts the coke with a sharp knife. She did a lot more than scratch the surface. A movie should be made from this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rene Saxton on October 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
Having known some of the people in the book, it is an interesting and scary read. I was lucky enough to be living in Las Vegas when the book was published and I was able to go to a book signing by Sally. We had a very interesting conversation about some of the "stars"...
The more you read the book, the more you learn. Interesting enough,
Bill Canaan was just released from prison a couple of weeks ago and his whereabouts are unknown.
An old family friend passed away a few months and I felt like I was in the book..four of the "stars" of the book were present at the funeral home.
Drew was a very complicated person. The day he got his Lexington police uniform, he went to see my Aunt to show off his uniform. He was so proud.
Read the book several times. It's better every time.
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