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The Last Pumpkin Paper Hardcover – March 12, 1996

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Oliver Stone has nothing on Oeste when it comes to far-fetched conspiracy plots involving Nixon and Kennedy. In 1989, attempting one last improbable political comeback, an aging Nixon assembles his old intelligence team to reopen the long-forgotten Alger Hiss case. Narrator Joe Pope, 64, a congressional investigator in 1948, comes out of retirement to join his former colleagues to prove that, yes, Hiss was a Communist spy. Pursuit of an explosive document that never surfaced during the trial takes Nixon's motley team of aging dirty-tricksters from his New Jersey offices all the way to collapsing East Berlin. Historical figures such as East Germany's Erich Honecker, JFK and even an aged Hiss himself appear at various points. Oeste alternates an account of the current caper with recollections of the original Hiss affair. It's a bit disorienting, because Pope often glosses over key explanations, but Oeste's humorous rendering of the Machiavellian methods of Nixon and his team are entertaining. The plot?which ties the Hiss case to the mob, Joe Kennedy's courting of Hitler and Jack's assassination?is beyond ridiculous, climaxing in what's more a punchline than a conclusion. But it's a funny one, whose irony?along with the campy tone of the whole book, including a farcical fistfight between a doddering Hiss and a teetering Nixon?renders this debut a good-humored exercise in paranoid plotting and historical fantasy.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Anyone even slightly familiar with the Alger Hiss/Whitaker Chambers case of 1948 will find this a delightful combination of fact and fiction. Oeste works within the frame of the documented record but adds fictional characters and events to suggest a wild twist to the plot. Joe Pope's account alternates between 1948, when he was a young staff investigator for congressman Richard Nixon, and 1989, when he is called from retirement to help Nixon finally solve the question of Hiss's guilt. This time, aided by some bizarre assistants here and in Berlin as the Wall is falling, they find more microfilm in Chambers's pumpkin patch. This leads to a mind-boggling solution that will surprise mystery fans, history buffs, and conspiracy theorists alike. Quite a feat for a first novel and great fun for readers.?Roland Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (March 12, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679448373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679448372
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,505,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Bob Oeste's tour de force of a novel takes the reader from the early days of McCarthyism and the Alger Hiss case to the near-present (1989) and Berlin just before the Wall fell. The story focuses on former HUAC (House Un-American Committee) investigator Joe Pope and his former boss, Richard Nixon, who calls Pope up with one last job to do. Apparently, there's one last roll of microfilm hidden on the farm of Whittaker Chambers, Hiss's chief accuser. So Pope sets off with a few of his buddies to find a document which could "rewrite the history of the 20th century." Oeste brilliantly interweaves the present-day chase with the earlier tale of Pope's days with the Hiss investigation, where the HUAC investigators are "cutting a few corners" (to put it mildly.) Along the way, we meet Nixon, Hiss, the leader of East Germany, and a host of other suspicious and shady characters. If you like spy stories, comic thrillers, historical fiction, or political satire! , you'll like this story. If you like all of the above, you're in for a real treat. I can't wait for Oeste's second book.
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