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The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth Hardcover – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press; 1St Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399160558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399160554
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At one point, lawyer Lenzner was called one of the most powerful and dreaded private investigators in the world. His famous clients have included politicians and celebrities, governments and corporations. He investigated the now infamous murder of three civil rights workers in the American South at the height of the civil rights era. He subpoenaed Richard Nixon when he was assistant chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee. He worked with Bill Clinton’s defense team during the presidential impeachment hearings. At the request of Dodi Fayed’s father, Lenzner investigated the circumstances surrounding the car-crash death of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. And he conducted opposition research on Mitt Romney. Yet what strikes the reader is how insightful Lenzer is, and how humble he seems. Long, boring days convalescing from a childhood illness, he notes, became a defining moment in his life and helped shape his choice of career. He lists the qualities that make a good investigator, such as curiosity, persistence, intuition, and imagination. A compelling memoir about a fascinating life. --June Sawyers

Review

“Finally a real private eye tells how it's done. And this investigator—Terry Lenzner—plied his craft at the highest levels of power: from Nixon and Watergate and Howard Hughes, to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, John Kerry and the Swift Boaters, Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. A fascinating work of history, absorbing and fun to read.”
—Lesley Stahl

“I stayed up until the wee hours reading this fascinating book. Lenzner played an important behind-the-scenes role in most of the great dramas of the second half of the 20th Century, from Selma to Watergate to the CIA hearings to the Clinton impeachment. He's a great storyteller and shrewd judge of character who tells us—finally—where so many of the important bodies are buried.”
—Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies
 
“Terry Lenzner's is an exemplary life of brilliance, pragmatism and derring-do. His memoir reveals an astonishing involvement in every sector of US life from Big Oil to High Art. An absorbing account of dedicated public service, cunning intrigue and Beltway politics.”
—Monroe E. Price, Director, Center for Global Communications Studies Annenberg School for Communication

“If you want to read riveting, true-story crime-busting tales this is your book. Terry Lenzner has uncovered the truth while investigating everything from political shenanigans to movie star misdeeds and international intrigue. His stints in the Justice Department during the civil rights era and the famous Senate Watergate Committee are just some of the history-making moments where he’s played a key role as the pre-eminent private investigator of our time.”
—Cokie Roberts, political commentator, NPR and ABC News

“Terry Lenzner is unique in combining his life as a brilliant, dogged, energetic, creative, no-holds-barred investigator with a deep and abiding commitment to human and civil rights and liberties.”
—Victor S. Navasky, author of National Book Award winning Naming Names and former editor of The Nation

“Terry Lenzner is a linebacker for truth. He has an instinct for sniffing out deception and the courage to tackle it. He is professional in ways that put lawyers to shame.”
—Charles Nesson, William F. Weld Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society


"At one point, lawyer Lenzner was called one of the most powerful and dreaded private investigators in the world. His famous clients have included politicians and celebrities, governments and corporations....Yet what strikes the reader is how insightful Lenzer is, and how humble he seems....He lists the qualities that make a good investigator, such as curiosity, persistence, intuition, and imagination. A compelling memoir about a fascinating life."
— Booklist

“One of Washington’s most in-the-know private eyes spills the beans in this canny memoir.... The truth Lenzner unveils, in part through shrewd thumbnails of everyone from John Dean to Kenneth Starr, is more about character and motive—the arrogant delusions that spawn and sustain malfeasance, and the resentments and idealism that spur informants and whistleblowers. The result is a low-key but absorbing study of the hidden impulses behind corruption and scandal.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Lenzner deplores the hyperpartisan tenor of today’s Washington D.C., where “all that matters is the spin”…. He’s his own man, interested only in ethically gathering and analyzing facts and dedicated solely to uncovering the truth. A spirited recounting of a highly unusual life in the law.”—Kirkus

“What can we say about Terry Lenzner, a curious hybrid of Harvard-trained lawyer and dirt-digging Washington private eye? The Investigator [covers] a remarkable 50-year career with periods of both light and shadow....a time capsule of adventuresome sleuthing [that] traces the contours of U.S. political history.”
—Richard Leiby, The Washington Post

“In his dynamite new memoir, The Investigator, Terry Lenzner combines intriguing stories like these with an up-close history of America over the past half century. As a government lawyer, private attorney, and successful investigator, Lenzner was involved in a mind-boggling number of historic events—from the Mississippi Burning murders to Watergate, from the Alaskan Oil Pipeline inquiry to prosecuting the New York mob, from investigating Princess Diana’s death to the impeachment of President Clinton....Ultimately, The Investigator is about the meaning of truth, and how it has devolved in America over the past 40 years from a conclusion based on facts to something much more subjective.”
—Jake Whitney, The Daily Beast

“Mr. Lenzner has enjoyed a varied career that stretches from the civil-rights movement to the present day. Zelig-like, he keeps popping up at the various intersection points of politics, journalism and the law. Detailed yet accessible, The Investigator presents a breezy tour of postwar America by a relentless pursuer of concealed facts, a hired gun whose services can be purchased but whose allegiances cannot....he can be refreshingly iconoclastic in his views of the people and events he has observed up close....So decisive have been his victories that those who have encountered him are divisible into two groups: those who thanked God he was on their side and those who rued that he wasn't.”
—James Rosen, The Wall Street Journal

“[Terry Lenzner's] The Investigator reads like a Forrest-Gump-style catalogue of cases that have caught the public eye--from the murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, to the Harrisburg 7's federal case for antiwar activism, to Watergate, the Unabomber, Monica Lewinsky and the death of Princess Diana....Impressively, this seasoned investigator is also a fine writer. His story opens compellingly, giving background while simultaneously jumping right into the action....an absorbing and intelligent sampling of American history, told in puzzles and—sometimes—solutions.”
—Julia Jenkins, Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW

“Books by Washington insiders often promise a great deal, then fail to deliver. Lenzner delivers. His memoir, The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth, is loaded with details about his role investigating numerous scandals, starting with the shameful behavior of Richard Nixon that led to his departure from the White House. Lenzner is candid about the heroes and villains he has encountered, and candid about himself.”—Steve Weinberg, Minneapolis Star-Tribune


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
The biggest reveal is about what might really have motivated the Watergate break-in and the role of Howard Hughes.
Nicholas R. Lefevre
So I have not really read it, but looked through it and found what I thought was very interesting and am sure he will find it VERY interesting.
Liz
Every once in a while I listen to an audiobook that I can't stop until I've completed the whole book -- This was one of them.
Miles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Seymour Morris Jr on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I heard Terry Lenzner give a talk at the Harvard Club of New York, and was impressed by the man's modesty, sincerity, and obvious grasp of facts. So I bought the book.

I was not disappointed. The book is extremely well-written and easy to follow. He devotes several full chapters to specific events like voter registration in the South, Watergate, Daniel Ellsberg, and Princess Diana's fatal car accident (where he gets fired by Mr. Mohamed al-Fayed for not giving him the conclusion he wanted to hear -- priceless!). Other chapters deal with many less-important events, and several chapters -- my favorite -- deal with what it takes to be a good investigator and be able to smell out mischievous clients who lie or don't tell the full truth. Particularly fascinating is his work with John Kerry and especially Mitt Romney. Apparently in 2008 Lenzner was the first to expose Romney's brand of "vulture capitalism" where Bain Capital bought a company and fired lots of workers to improve the bottom line. Such revelations sunk Romney's campaign. Next time around, who did Romney hire to sniff out potential weaknesses in his 2012 campaign but Terry Lenzner!

Don't think for a moment that these exposes come from knowing an insider eager to spill the beans (the journalist's stock-in-trade). What Lenzner does requires hard, dogged work like the muckrakers of old and which newspapers nowadays can no longer afford. Lenzner's expose, based on months of digging through financial documents, how the oil companies tried to cheat the State of Alaska by running up huge overruns on the Alaska pipeline, is worth the price of the book alone.

Most books exposing skullduggery are so vehement they leave you exhausted at the end. This book doesn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book/Moviefreak on March 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was not expecting this book to be as good as it is. I thought it would be another dreary, boring book on historical events. NOT the case at all. Terry Lenzner is not only an excellent writer, he also was on the front lines and middle lines and back lines of many important events in U.S. history and has brought them to life in this book. I haven't finished the book yet, but am half way through. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it was like from where he sat/fought during these events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By panterazero on April 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Watergate! Howard Hughes! Princess Diana! Monica Lewinsky! Tireless master investigator (and sharp lawyer) Terry Lenzner has been at the dark heart of fifty years of national and international scandal. He can also write a true page-turner. If you're at all interested in the veiled inner workings of the second half of the twentieth century, you MUST read this book,
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Format: Hardcover
In full disclosure, I and my family know Terry Lenzner and his family as summer neighbors. It is a principal reason I read this book but it will not affect my review. What will affect this review is the fact that Terry has been in the center of so many events that have shaped my life. He is Zelig-like to me.

As for many of my generation the key events of my youth were the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and Watergate. Terry was intimately involved in all.

After Harvard Law he joined the Civil Rights division at Justice assigned to monitor civil rights violations in Mississippi immediately after the murder of three civil rights leaders. After a stint going after organized crime in New York City and as Director of the newly formed Legal Service Program of the Office of Economic Opportunity he worked on the Daniel Berrigan case. He became Assistant Chief Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee where he wrote and served a subpoena on President Nixon.

Lenzner takes us behind the scenes in these events. How were the Mississippi Burning murders solved? What did Berrigan believe about his actions? The biggest reveal is about what might really have motivated the Watergate break-in and the role of Howard Hughes.

As the narrative progresses we witness some of the deterioration of civil, bi-partisan politics as we go from Watergate to the Starr investigation and impeachment of President Clinton. A running thesis is that we have moved from open-minded search for the truth as revealed by the facts to trying to support predetermined conclusions with selected facts. That makes this a less than "uplifting" read. One wishes the chronology could be reversed so as to yield a happy ending. That would not be Terry Lenzner's way. He is damnably honest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rhona on March 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A splendid read by a knowledgeable author. I very much enjoyed learning some fascinating inside facts about the stinky politics in Washington!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miles on October 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while I listen to an audiobook that I can't stop until I've completed the whole book -- This was one of them. The performance on the audiobook is excellent. The story is engaging an intriguing. From the beginning where Terry Lenzner is with the federal government through the private investigations of his company, each story is an engaging narrative that gives insight to events that I knew about from the news (or history books) but never understood what was going on beneath the surface.
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