Customer Reviews: The Boys on the Tracks: Death, denial, and a mother's crusade to bring her son's killers to justice.
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on April 26, 2000
Many people are familiar with the story of the boys on tracks, first featured nationally on TV and then in the very anti-Clinton "Clinton Chronicles" video, which, despite some apparent inaccuracies, still contains a great deal of truth, and changed my own view of political corruption forever. The book "The Boys On The Tracks" is the real story of what happened in Arkansas, and is endorsed by Linda Ives, the mother of one of the boys who was killed and placed on the railroad tracks on that fateful night in August, 1987. Mrs. Ives is the central character in this book. The reader is presented with not only the entire story of the unfathomable corruption, but much of this incredibly detailed story is as if from Ives' diaries, written or mental.
The author, Mara Leveritt, takes the reader from the time the two boys are killed, through the complete story of what Ives goes through to try to find out the truth (and she still hasn't found the truth about what happened that night). First, we encounter the unbelievable and outrageous behavior and incompetence of the Arkansas State coroner, Famy Malek, who is protected countless times by top state officials despite absolutely false determinations he makes. Malek rules the boys deaths suicides from drug intoxication, and it takes the Ives family a long time to prove this false due to lack of cooperation from Arkansas officials. Only this is just the beginning of the obstructions of justice the
Ives face.
Then we see that, at least in part, practically the entire state of Arkansas's legal and law enforcement agencies are rampant with corruption, to the point that felons hold high-level positions in government and law enforcement. Clearly these state officials will go to any length to prevent the truth of the boys's deaths from being revealed. A very prominent figure in this aspect of the story is Dan Harmon, a county prosecuting attorney. Harmon brutally beats people up, incl. his wives and ex-wives, and even steals confiscated drugs, and yet is held completely unaccountable for his actions and is returned to office again and again. Harmon is eventually and surprisingly convicted of certain offenses, but any crimes related to events around the time of the boys's deaths are deliberately ignored. Oddly enough, though not at all surprising once you read the unbelievable things revealed over and over in this book, Harmon is initially depicted as an ally of Linda Ives!
Of course the biggest, most outrageous part of this story is the cover-up of large-scale drug smuggling done through the Mena Airport, incl. the Barry Seal story, which is never dealt with by Arkansas officials. The details of this horror story are so phenomenal that you have to wonder how the people involved in these crimes can take part in such corruption and hypocrisy, and do their misdeeds with such impunity!
If you want the complete story, this is undoubtedly the book to read. If you don't have time to read this very well-written, 300+ page book, see "The Clinton Chronicles" and the more accurate (according to the participants) "Obstruction of Justice" videos.
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on December 27, 1999
This is an excellent book for everyone raising kids in today's society, everyone interested in the inner workings of law enforcement, and everyone interested in the "War On Drugs".
Fiction writers have it easy, they can limit their cast of characters. In real life, Mara Leveritt, Gary Webb, Terry Reed, and the others who have explored the CIA/cocaine connection found it's not so easy. The cast of characters is immense, many of their names are confusing, but real life is like that. (As you read the various authors, many of the same characters do keep popping up!)
I wanted to read "Boys on the Tracks" because I was flying my personal plane in and out of Mena during the same time period that Barry Seal and the CIA were importing drugs. I wanted to see whether Ms Leveritt's book rang true. It does. I have met a few of the characters and know of others. The facts in this book accurately reflect what I have personally observed.
Unlike "The Secret Life of Bill Clinton" by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, this is not an anti- Clinton book. Those who want to bash Willie will have to look elsewhere. But after looking elsewhere, when you need independent verification of what is fact versus what is only rumor, I hope you will read this book.
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on January 5, 2000
Readers outside of Arkansas might have a hard time believing that the events this book describes actually happened. Unfortunately, they did, as those of us who live here know. Although Leveritt works for a competing paper, the statewide Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reviewed "The Boys on the Tracks" at length. The review did not challenge any of the author's facts. Rather, it said the account was "eye-opening" and described the book as "staightforward, engaging and extensively researched." The review also said the book "reads like a psychological thriller," and that it "lures you in and holds you hostage." I pass this on so that readers who are not familiar with the caliber of Leveritt's reporting will feel confident about ordering the book. You won't be disappointed.
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From the first paragraph to the final page I was enraptured by the prose and how the writer made us one with the grief-stricken mother of one of the boys who was so brutally slain. Although the events occurred in Arkansas everyone in the country is effected by the cover-up just as we were by the Waco bombing and the government's effort to hide the truth.I highly recommend this as must reading for an insight into "the war on drugs".
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on February 23, 2000
This is, in my view, the best full account of the "Train deaths" I have seen yet.
This story and the events surrounding the Mena airport in Arkansas are unknown to most Americans, due to narrow-minded journalists and partisan political hacks on both sides.
This story and the whole story of Mena is very real, and will haunt America for years to come.
It is a true story of a parents worst nightmare. And a nightmare for the nation that few are aware of--our government and system of justice has become corrupt and lawless.
I would deeply recommend this book for anyone who is interested in getting the word out about Mena and the "Train Deaths" and who is interested in helping reclaim our system of justice to prevent it from failing our children again.
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on November 6, 1999
This book is one that the reader will not want to put down. An excellent overview of the events that occured in this case and the fact that there is little justice in Arkansas when high powered politicians are involved. The average person in this country doesn't believe these things happen, but after you read this book, the evidence is documented and plain to see.
Hopefully, someday these guilty persons will be held accountable for putting a family, a state and country through such a horrible tragedy.
It is time the American people opened their eyes to what is really going on in our country and to stand up against these powerful machines.
Mara did a great deal of research and documented all of her information and wrote a book about what an ordinary family has had to endure for 12 years and no one will listen to them and bring these people that committed and covered up such a cruel deed to justice. The Ives deserve an answer and if anyone knows anything about this event, they should try to put this nightmare to rest.
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on November 29, 1999
For years The Arkansas and the nationalk media have ignored the disturbing facts surrounding the deaths of Don Henry and Kevin Ives. Armed with nothing but facts and the truth, Mara Leveritt methodically the silence and exposes the ugly side of politics that the media wont. This would a great Oliver Stone film. 12 years and going the story never ends and the plot continues draw intrigue among millions, yet shocking at may sound the majority of the american dont know this horrific story! The american public must continue to push this story into the mainstream media, and the FBI must have pressure put on them to reopen the case by the American public.
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VINE VOICEon February 23, 2001
This is an investigative report that reads like a thriller, though it is frustrating in that the corruption it exposes is never cleaned up. Any parent's worst nightmare is the loss of a child; in this case, the child was murdered and the killers were never asked to take responsibility for the crime. The courageous mother who pursues justice is continually stonewalled and dismissed. It is infuriating to read about what she went through.
Arkansas, where all this took place, was then under the leadership of a governor who has been shown to be as crooked as a country road--his involvement, and the involvement of his familial/political clique--is sickening.
I have yet to find anything that convincingly refutes the facts gathered by Leveritt. This is not a crackpot-conspiracy-theory book; it isn't a propogandist smear. I tend to think that, in the not-so-distant future, a LOT of interesting information regarding some of these high-ranking individuals will come to light. At this point, nothing will surprise me.
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on June 23, 1999
I had the pleasure of reading The Boys on the Tracks in manuscript form. It is a thrilling book. The story focuses on Linda Ives, a middle-class mother living outside Little Rock with her family. One day, her 17-year-old son does not come home. The reader discovers the evidence of her son's disappearance as Linda discovers it. Her explorations become yours and her anger, frustration, heartbreak, and joy becomes yours as well. It is journalistic nonfiction, a true story, perfect in its awfulness, well documented, but it reads like a novel you can't put down. This book will give you a bang-up story and a look at politics you don't find in the newspapers or on CNN. It's a treat.
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on November 29, 1999
Rarely do I find a book that I can't put down, but this is one. It is written in a way that gives a lot of details, weaves many facts, while keeping the readers interest. Where was this book when Clinton was running for President?
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