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Hurtling from Las Vegas to Vietnam to Cuba to Memphis and back again (and all points in between), from Dealey Plaza to opium fields to smoke-filled back rooms where the mob holds sway, the novel traces the strands of complicity, greed, and fear that connect three men to a legion of supporting characters: Ward Littell, a former Feeb whose current allegiance to the mob and to Howard Hughes can't mask his admiration for the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King; Pete Bondurant, a hit man and fervent anti-Communist who splits his time between Vegas casinos and CIA-sponsored heroin labs in Saigon; and Wayne Tedrow Jr., a young Vegas cop who's sent to Dallas in late November 1963 to snuff a black pimp, and who is fighting a losing battle against his predilection for violence: "Junior was a hider. Junior was a watcher. Junior lit flames. Junior torched. Junior lived in his head."
And behind these three, J. Edgar Hoover is the master puppeteer, pulling strings with visionary zeal and resolute pragmatism, the still point around whom the novel roils and tumbles. At once evil and comic, Hoover predicts that LBJ "will deplete his prestige on the home front and recoup it in Vietnam. History will judge him as a tall man with big ears who needed wretched people to love him," and feels that Cuba "appeals to hotheads and the morally impaired. It's the cuisine and the sex. Plantains and women who have intercourse with donkeys."
The Seussian comparison isn't that far-fetched: Ellroy's novel, like the children's books (and like the very decade it limns), is flexible, spontaneous, and unabashedly off-kilter. Weighing in at a hefty 700 pages, The Cold Six Thousand is a trifle bloated by the excesses of its narrative form. But what glorious excess it is, as Ellroy continues to illuminate the twin impulses toward idealism and corruption that frame American popular and political culture. He deftly puts unforgettable faces and voices to the murkiest of conspiracy theories, and simultaneously mocks our eager assumption that such knowledge will make a difference. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The problem with this book is too much style, too little substance.
If you are not a fan or have never read Ellroy, than be forewarned, this is a challenging book to read, well worth the effort, but difficult none-the-less.
I have read most of Ellroy's books, but was most fascinated by "American Tabloid".
There's no doubt, Ellroy is the successor and master of the lean crime prose of Dasheill Hammett. Beware the dark undercurrents. The Demon Dog will suck you down.Published 1 month ago by Julie Pagitt
It is a great story, but the style can be a little tiring. If you stick with, you are rewarded with a fascinating look at history.Published 6 months ago by Jacques T. Zangerle
I thought I'd read James Ellroy's grocery list but I was wrong. I simply couldn't finish this one. The problem with this book is too much style, too little substance. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dan Henderson
Wow. This one is actually a bit better than the first in the series, because of the MLK assassination which was a heart wrenching moment in history--and in the book. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Suzanne Tolbert
Was not as good as it's predecessor but still fantastic. The characters were still brilliant as was the plot. Again couldn't put it down.Published 14 months ago by baz kennedy
Both bigger and smaller than the first novel of Elroy's underworld USA trilogy. American tabloid was better overall. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Attwell
Ellroy writes in jabs and cuts. No waste, no sentiment, no tears. History imagined as it probably was and delivered macho staccato. Read morePublished 17 months ago by pieborg
The staccato narrative can get a little old after 600 pages. Interesting take on MLK and Kennedy assignations. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Dredd
I save the 5 stars for what I think of as exceptional books. This one started at a "3" and kept creeping up. If I could I'd give it a 4.5. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Gee McDonald