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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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2,082303,179 (4.07)41



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English (19)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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 |
This is an extremely violent book. I'm quite tough, but I found the relentless descriptions of torture and murder really hard going. Ellroy writes well, and has created a plausible back story to the Kennedy assassination. The layers of corruption in American politics dip and weave around each other. Ellroy's use of language that would have been normal at the time was hard to read, given that I live in a time when racist, misogynist hate speech quite rightly is not acceptable. I'm not naive, I know such speech, such attitudes still exist, but the language has become shocking. As gripped as I was by the story, I found reading it exhausting, and it definitely affected my mood. Ellroy very skilfully makes you care about the hideously corrupt main characters. He makes you see that the shining knights of democracy aren't the paragons their PR says they are. Everything in the book is underpinned by filth and nastiness. Even though I enjoyed the book, I don't know that I will read any more of Ellroy's books. Not if they make me feel like I need to take a shower every couple of pages! ( )
  missizicks | Aug 13, 2015 |
This book is the first of a trilogy (USA Underworld), the second and third being [b:The Cold Six Thousand|4191|The Cold Six Thousand (Underworld USA, #2)|James Ellroy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403182681s/4191.jpg|22797] and [b:Blood's a Rover|6094181|Blood's a Rover (Underworld USA, #3)|James Ellroy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1400524997s/6094181.jpg|6271208]. What drove me to buy all three books (used) is my fascination for roman a clef (novels that are fictionalized versions of real people and events), which is the type of writing that I myself aspire to produce in my own works, especially on similar topics - concealed episodes of American political history; in other words, education through entertainment, with a poetic license for authors to throw in their own interpretations.

Unfortunately, American Tabloid falls short. The writing style largely consists of four- and five-word sentences (even three word sentences!) in just as terse (one- to three-sentence) paragraphs; it's like trying to read machine-gun fire. One might think that this makes reading easier, but it doesn't - I found myself stopping to read these concentrated sentences over. At other times the narrative goes so fast, that I have to back up a few pages to look up something I missed. On other occasions the perspective shifts from omniscience to first person, causing some momentary confusion.

The crass, gory, bloody, comic book-style violence often seems gratuitous and detracts from the story rather than embellish it. The characters are one-dimensional and underdeveloped.

But on a positive note, I found myself searching the internet for info on some of the characters, and learned a few things in the process of reading the novel. Like J.D. Tippit for example - the cop that Oswald allegedly shot after fleeing the Book Depository. I always thought he was a random cop who was in the wrong place at the wrong time - I never knew that Tippit and Jack Ruby were buddies, which makes Tippit's death highly suspicious and lends more credence to the forensic evidence that suggests Oswald was NOT the one who killed him.

I will read the rest of the trilogy, keeping in mind the limitations of Ellroy's writing, but I find it difficult to recommend this book to mystery/thriller/cop story fans. However, if you like reading about conspiracies, then it might be worth your time.

( )
  BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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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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To Nat Sobel
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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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Book description
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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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