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American Tabloid by James Ellroy

American Tabloid (1995)

by James Ellroy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Underworld USA (1)

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2,100323,135 (4.07)44



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English (21)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
This sprawling, shocking novel revolves (mainly) around three fictional characters, but is rooted in the time of the Kennedy family's rise to success - it features JFK campaigning for and winning the election and his brother Bobby becoming Attorney General. The events of the novel take us right up to that fateful date of 22nd November 1963.

The main characters are Pete Bondurant, bodyguard for the eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes as well as a terrifyingly effective Mob associate; Kemper Boyd, an FBI Agent who at the request of J Edgar Hoover infiltrates the Kennedy organisation and finds his loyalties (such as they are) split many ways; and Ward Littell, another FBI Agent and anti-Mob crusader. Lets be clear here - none of these men are particularly nice, but they are interesting. In fact, none of the characters in this book - real or fictional - come off particularly well, least of all John F Kennedy.

The story describes the machinations of the Kennedy family and their associates in making sure that JFK wins the election, and covers such historical events as the Bay of Pigs invasion, and attempts to bring down Fidel Castro. There's so much story here that it was sometimes hard to take in everything that happens - whether you are familiar with the events upon which the book is based or not, this is a book that really demands your attention.

The writing is visceral and brutal and the story is fast paced, with loyalties of all characters constantly being questioned both by the readers and by other people in the story. Despite the concentration required, it's actually a pretty easy read with mainly short, choppy chapters, which tend to show events from alternating points of view.

Overall, if you are interested at all in what happened to John F Kennedy and who killed him - this book offers a fictionalised theory - then I would definitely recommend this, but be aware that it is not a cosy afternoon read! ( )
  Ruth72 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Wow. No way it all went down exactly like this, but it could have, anyway I think Ellroy's pretty close. There's so much detail here that it took a second reading just to get a good idea of what's going on. The first time through, I think I was focused on the Kennedy assassination stuff so much that I missed ninety percent of the story. And I had no idea that it was a trilogy... will definitely be moving on to The Cold Six Thousand now. ( )
  5hrdrive | Jul 16, 2016 |
Deckare av den hårdkokta varianten blir inte bättre och mer sofistikerade än så här. ( )
  Arwid | Jun 14, 2016 |
This is an exciting thriller that made me breathless until the last page. It is the first book of the Underworld USA trilogy . It is the rise of the Kennedys to the day of the assassination of JFK. It is the story of how the Mafia, corrupt agents (FBI / CIA) to the highest authorities had their hands in the game. It is also the story of the Cuban Crisis. Even if it is a fiction, shows Ellroy how politics works. Although this is a purely American history, it could happen in many countries worldwide like that. It shows once again that money rules the world and who sold the devil his soul, it gets never return. ( )
  Ameise1 | Apr 3, 2016 |
History class was never this exciting. Ellroy's AMERICAN TABLOID seduces you with bad news, spilling out the extortion, bribery, and killings that underlay the forces of history between 1958 and 1963.

Through it all are three fixers trying to play all the parties involved: FBI, Mob, Justice Department, CIA, and more. There are few things more enjoyable than watching someone good at their job, and these three men are very fucking good at their jobs—except when they forget that they're tools of the powerful, to be used and discarded when out of control.

The prose? Like uppers on uppers, hurtling forward with maximum velocity and minimum equivocation. It doesn't hurt that he gets to revel in the lurid details, both weaving together and ripping apart history with the glee of a good skank sheet. It's goddamn infectious, as you can probably tell.

That style—and the subject matter—keep this from being properly understood in the maximalist tradition: think Pynchon, Gaddis, Delillo. Encompassing decades of American history and myth is an even grander aim than any of those chumps, and this is just installment one of three.

1 vote gregorybrown | Oct 18, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Ellroyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bortolussi, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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America was never innocent.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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original title: American Tabloid
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037572737X, Paperback)

We are behind, and below, the scenes of JFK's presidential election, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination--in the underworld that connects Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C. . . .

Where the CIA, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles, and various loose cannons conspire in a covert anarchy . . .

Where the right drugs, the right amount of cash, the right murder, buys a moment of a man's loyalty . . .

Where three renegade law-enforcement officers--a former L.A. cop and two FBI agents--are shaping events with the virulence of their greed and hatred, riding full-blast shotgun into history. . . .

James Ellroy's trademark nothing-spared rendering of reality, blistering language, and relentless narrative pace are here in electrifying abundance, put to work in a novel as shocking and daring as anything he's written: a secret history that zeroes in on a time still shrouded in secrets and blows it wide open.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:12 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel of the Kennedy era, portraying the president in a far from flattering light. There are three protagonists: a CIA agent who pimps for JFK, another agent who trains anti-Castro rebels, and a lawyer who is a Mafia hunter. Through their eyes are seen the conflicting interests of the Kennedys, the director of the FBI, organized crime, organized labor, Castro and Cuban exiles. By the author of White Jazz.… (more)

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