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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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The Cold Six Thousand Paperback – June 11, 2002

3.6 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Underworld USA Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With its hypnotic, staccato rhythms, and words jostling, bumping, marching forward with edgy intensity (like lemmings heading toward a cliff of their own devising), The Cold Six Thousand feels as if it's being narrated by a hopped-up Dr. Seuss who's hungrier for violence than for green eggs and ham. In spinning the threads of post-JFK-assassination cultural chaos, James Ellroy's whirlwind riff on the 1960s takes nothing for granted, except that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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.

From Publishers Weekly

Dig it: Ellroy writes tight. Ellroy writes large. Ellroy vibes great lit he's the Willie S. of noir. It's easy to elbow Ellroy, but that's only because he's got his act down. His new novel is a career performance. Running from one day of infamy (11/22/63) to another (6/5/68) and a bit beyond, it limns a confluence of conspiracies beginning with the shooting of JFK in Dallas and ending with the death of his brother in L.A. In between, Ellroy depicts the takeover of Vegas by the Outfit, with Howard Hughes as its beard; the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the takeover of heroin cultivation there by the Mob; the enmity of J. Edgar Hoover toward Martin Luther King, leading to the King killing months before bullets topple Bobby K. Big names play roles huge and small: the aforementioned celebs; Bayard Rustin, an FBI blackmail target for his homosexuality; Sal Mineo, a Mob blackmail target for carving up a male trick; Oswald, Ruby, SirhanSirhan, James Earl Jones, patsies all; Sonny Liston, sliding from world champion to world-class thug; assorted "Boys," including mobster Carlos Marcellos, the spider at the center of the web. While great men pull strings, however, smaller men not only dance but sometimes tug back; a wide cast of characters mercenaries, twisted cops, thieves, financiers, pimps, whores and cons keep the conspiracies chugging while indulging in assorted vanities and vendettas. What emerges is a violent, sexually squalid, nightmare version of America in the '60s, one that, through Ellroy's insertion of telephone transcripts and FBI and other documents, gains historical credence. With Ellroy's ice-pick declarative prose (thankfully varied occasionally by those documents), plus his heart-trembling, brain-searing subject matter, readers will feel kneed, stomped upon and then kicked right up into the maw of hard truth. (On-sale date, May 8)

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (June 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037572740X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375727405
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ellroy wrote LA Quartet. Ellroy wrote noir. Ellroy gained fans boocoo. Ellroy got plaudits. Ellroy wanted MORE. Ellroy got serious. Ellroy wrote Tabloid. Ellroy eschewed crime writing. Ellroy took White Jazz style. Ellroy did it MORE in Tabloid. GQ loved it. Time loved it. Ellroy got press. Ellroy got praise. Ellroy shook and shimmied. He did the Wah-Watusi. Ellroy wanted MORE. Ellroy wrote Cold Six Thousand. Ellroy said crime fiction is done. Crime fiction is passe. Noir is moribund. Dig it: Ellroy says he writes historical fiction now. New book has triad of mob goons. New book scopes drugs/murder/mob hits/sleaze/corruption. New book warps White Jazz style. New book overdoes style. Style gets confusing. Style too staccato. Style too dense. Style eschews character. Style eschews depth. Ellroy wants to write historical fiction. Ellroy eschews history for conspiracy. Ellroy eschews 60s ambience. Ellroy gives us Mob epic. The Mob ran the country. The Mob called the shots. Ellroy calls it: private nightmare of public policy. Ellroy eschews public policy. Ellroy deals only with private mob plots. The 60s gets bogged down. The 60s gets lost. The 60s gets washed out by mob plots/phone transcriptions/noir violence/Hughes/Sal Mineo/Hoover fixations. Call it: Cold Six vintage Ellroy. Thug triad/noir dames/mob plots/gore/fatalism. Cold Six not historical fiction. Characters shallow/period ambience shallow/plot byzantine. Call it: Read it for Ellroy. Read it for new spin on Noir. Still the best crime fiction. But as historical fiction? Bad juju.
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Format: Hardcover
How do you follow a novel like American Tabloid, the definitive Kennedy assassination conspiracy novel? You write a novel like The Cold Six Thousand, which is the definitive RFK, MLK, Vietnam, Howard Hughes, Mafia, Las Vegas and J. Edgar Hoover conspiracy novel. The Cold Six Thousand starts off where Tabloid ended, on the 22nd of November 1963, the day of Kennedy's assassination. We are reintroduced to characters we have met in earlier novels (Pete Bondurant from White Jazz and American Tabloid) and Ward Littell (from American Tabloid) and to new characters such as the Tedrows, father Wayne Sr. and son Wayne Jr. Wayne Jr., a Las Vegas police officer, is sent to Dallas to kill a pimp, his fee for doing so, six thousand untraceable dollars. The roller coaster ride begins here, weaving his fictional characters in with real life characters (Jack Ruby, J. Edgar Hoover and Bayard Rustin to name a few) Ellroy takes us on a savage tour of the dark and ugly side of the 1960s from a heroin processing operation in Vietnam to the civil rights marches of the American south with plenty of stops in Las Vegas which Ward Littell is attempting to purchase for Howard Hughes while still allowing the mob to stay in control and collect their skim. Some of Ellroy's takes on the activities of the right wingers at the time might seem a little outre and exaggerated, but after reading Rick Perlstein's _Before the Storm_ and David Halberstam's _The Best and the Brightest_ I find that Ellroy is right on target skewering the nuts of the extreme right wing who infested our country during the 1960s. The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is that it bogs down in places. Ellroy needs an editor with balls big enough to say "James, cut this part out, it drags the story". Still, even if the story drags in places Ellroy picks things up quickly and soon you're reading along and feeling as breathless if you just went on a five mile run and smoked a carton of Camels.
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By A Customer on May 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
James Ellroy's "The Cold Six Thousand" lacks the kinetic energy of its brilliant predecessor "American Tabloid." Beginning minutes after "Tabloid's" close, "The Cold Six Thousand" traces the underworld history of 1960s America through the morally-impaired eyes of three men: Wayne Tedrow, Jr., a Vegas cop sent to Dallas on a mob errand; Ward Littell, an FBI agent whose loyalties shift from the mob to J. Edgar Hoover and Howard Hughes; and Pete Bondurant, an ex-LA sheriff's department officer with an obsessive dream to liberate Cuba from the Communists. While "American Tabloid" covered a reletively brief period of time (1959 to 1963) and focused on the rise and fall of JFK, "The Cold Six Thousand" finishes off the radical sixties and leaps back and forth between historical events (RFK and Martin Luther King assassinations, the Baptist church bombing that killed four black girls, moving heroin in Saigon and the mob's takeover of Vegas) without leading up to anything. And the charcter arcs aren't as well developed as they were "Tabloid" (Ward Littell's brilliant, stunning, earth-shattering comeback from despair in "American Tabloid" makes him one of the most complex of Ellroy's creations.) Though this novel tends to meander, it is hard to dismiss it as an inferior companion piece to "American Tabloid." All the typical Ellroy flourishes are present: dense plotting, scant character and place descriptions, graphic (to the point of absurdity in some places) violence, mixing fictional and historical people, and the three-man construct he first employed in his brilliant 1987 novel "The Big Nowhere.Read more ›
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