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American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman--And the Shoot-Out That Stopped It

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American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman--And the Shoot-Out That Stopped It Cover

ISBN13: 9780743260688
ISBN10: 0743260686
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

American Gunfight is the fast-paced, definitive, and breathtakingly suspenseful account of an extraordinary historical event — the attempted assassination of President Harry Truman in 1950 by two Puerto Rican Nationalists and the bloody shoot-out in the streets of Washington, D.C., that saved the president's life.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Hunter, the widely admired and bestselling novelist and author of such books as Havana, Hot Springs, and Dirty White Boys, and John Bainbridge, Jr., an experienced journalist and lawyer, American Gunfight is at once a groundbreaking work of meticulous historical research and the vivid and dramatically told story of an act of terrorism that almost succeeded. They have pieced together, at last, the story of the conspiracy that nearly doomed the president and how a few good men — ordinary guys who were willing to risk their lives in the line of duty — stopped it.

It is a book about courage — on both sides — and about what politics and devotion to a cause can lead men to do, and about what actually happens, second by second, when a gunfight explodes.

It begins on November 1, 1950, an unseasonably hot afternoon in the sleepy capital. At 2:00 P.M. in his temporary residence at Blair House, the president of the United States takes a nap. At 2:20 P.M., two men approach Blair House from different directions. Oscar Collazo, a respected metal polisher and family man, and Griselio Torresola, an unemployed salesman, don't look dangerous, not in their new suits and hats, not in their calm, purposeful demeanor, not in their slow, unexcited approach. What the three White House policemen and one Secret Service agent cannot guess is that under each man's coat is a 9mm German automatic pistol and in each head, a dream of assassin's glory.

At point-blank range, Collazo and then Torresola draw and fire and move toward the president of the United States.

Hunter and Bainbridge tell the story of that November day with narrative power and careful attention to detail. They are the first to report on the inner workings of this conspiracy; they examine the forces that led the perpetrators to conceive the plot. The authors also tell the story of the men themselves, from their youth and the worlds in which they grew up to the women they loved and who loved them to the moment the gunfire erupted. Their telling commemorates heroism — the quiet commitment to duty that in some moments of crisis sees some people through an ordeal, even at the expense of their lives.

Review:

"On November 1, 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, engaged in a sustained gun battle with Secret Service agents at Blair House. Their goal was to assassinate President Harry Truman. It's curious that the two men haven't found a place in popular memory like other presidential assailants. But this attempt deserves attention because it was explicitly political and because it permanently altered Secret Service practices. Hunter, esteemed for his film criticism and macho adventure novels, teams up with former Baltimore Sun journalist Bainbridge for this richly detailed account of the motives and destinies of virtually everyone connected to the skirmish. This is an ambitious attempt to achieve time-lapse history. The actual confrontation took less than a minute; rather than save it up for the end, the authors spread it across much of the book, interspersed with background material on the participants. The book reads like the product of a film lover/action novelist and a journalist rather than a work of history, with the shootout described in stream-of-consciousness, and melodramatic, cliff-hanging chapter endings. To the authors' credit, though, interpretations are presented as such, and their handling of the recorded events is not only convincing but compelling. Agent, Esther Newberg." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

This electrifying book is the first full account of the historical day fanatical suicide-martyrs attempted to assassinate President Harry S. Truman. Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola viewed themselves as soldiers participating in the violent campaign for an independent Puerto Rico.

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Paul McFarland, July 3, 2007 (view all comments by Paul McFarland)
A moment by moment look at the attempted assassination of Harry Truman by two Puerto Rican Nationalists in 1950. This is a careful look at a gun related historical incident by an author who understands firearms very well. That understanding reveals many faults with the classic account of the incident. Steven Hunter is the Pulitzer Prize winning film critic at The Washington Post and the author of twelve novels. He is a veteran with an exhaustive knowledge of firearms. Seen by an expert the history of this short period of time in American History gives up a wealth of information. Far too many authors write about firearms and violence who understand neither. This is not the case with this excellent study.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743260688
Subtitle:
The Plot to Kill Harry Truman--and the Shoot-out that Stopped It
Author:
Hunter, Stephen
Author:
Bainbridge, John
Author:
Bainbridge, John, Jr.
Author:
Bainbridge, J. S.
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
United States - 20th Century/50s
Subject:
Nationalists
Subject:
Assassins
Subject:
General History
Copyright:
Publication Date:
November 2005
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.48x6.36x1.22 in. 1.26 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » 1920 to 1960
History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Truman, Harry S.

American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman--And the Shoot-Out That Stopped It Used Hardcover
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$5.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780743260688 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "On November 1, 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, engaged in a sustained gun battle with Secret Service agents at Blair House. Their goal was to assassinate President Harry Truman. It's curious that the two men haven't found a place in popular memory like other presidential assailants. But this attempt deserves attention because it was explicitly political and because it permanently altered Secret Service practices. Hunter, esteemed for his film criticism and macho adventure novels, teams up with former Baltimore Sun journalist Bainbridge for this richly detailed account of the motives and destinies of virtually everyone connected to the skirmish. This is an ambitious attempt to achieve time-lapse history. The actual confrontation took less than a minute; rather than save it up for the end, the authors spread it across much of the book, interspersed with background material on the participants. The book reads like the product of a film lover/action novelist and a journalist rather than a work of history, with the shootout described in stream-of-consciousness, and melodramatic, cliff-hanging chapter endings. To the authors' credit, though, interpretations are presented as such, and their handling of the recorded events is not only convincing but compelling. Agent, Esther Newberg." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , This electrifying book is the first full account of the historical day fanatical suicide-martyrs attempted to assassinate President Harry S. Truman. Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola viewed themselves as soldiers participating in the violent campaign for an independent Puerto Rico.
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