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American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Centuryby Howard Blum
Synopses & Reviews
An unforgettable tale of murder, deceit, celebrity, media manipulation, and film as propaganda, when the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building exposed the deadly 'national dynamite plot' by trade unionists to terrorize America with one-hundred bombings in a doomed attempt to force capitalism to its knees. The relentless pursuit, capture, trial, and punishment of the bombers made a national hero of America's Sherlock Holmes, master detective Billy Burns, and entangled crusading defense lawyer Clarence Darrow in a reckless, nearly career-ending scheme to bribe witnesses and jurors and throttle justice. Gripping, surprising, often thrilling, American Lightning ranks among the most riveting works of narrative history.
--James L. Swanson, author of the Edgar Award-winning New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln'sKiller
This is a wonderful story, with a cast of characters out of a Cecil B. DeMille epic, told in a style that is lucid, lyrical, even electric. Narrative history at its very best.
--Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Founding Brothers and American Creation
In an approach reminiscent of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Blum paints is characters in all their grandeur and tragedy, making them — and their era — come alive. Blum's prose is tight, his speculations unfailingly sound and his research extensive — all adding up to an absorbing and masterful true crime narrative.
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
The author's eye for scene-setting and subtle explication perfectly mimics a Griffith-style camera. Blum is at his best when exploring the motivations, the genius and the deep flaws of his three principals, men who occupied the same room only once in their lives, but who are memorably linked in this book. Unfailingly entertaining.
--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
In American Lightning Howard Blum brings to life the tragic bombing of the Los Angeles Times in l910. Writing with narrative verve and finely-honed detective instincts, Blum fleshes out the real story behind this hideous act of domestic terrorism. Highly recommended
--Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Deluge and Tour of Duty and Professor of History, Rice University
Howard Blum has given us a fascinating--and hugely entertaining--glimpse into early 20th-century America. The burgeoning labor movement, the dawn of the movies, bomb-toting anarchists, 'the crime of the century, ' gimlet-eyed private detectives, Clarence Darrow, you name it and it's here. And--eat your hearts out, novelists--it's all true.
--John Steele Gordon, author of Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
As good a true-crime tale as you could hope to find, well-researched, vivid, irresistible.
--Andrew Solomon, author of the National Book Award-winning The Noonday Demon
Howard Blum has performed a literary miracle. He has brought back to vivid and relevant life a forgotten act of terrorism in America's past — and made it as
A narrative history details a deadly explosion that ripped through the offices of the Los Angeles Times in October 1910, part of a planned assault on one hundred American cities, the investigation--led by master detective William J. Burns--that followed, and the arrest and sensational trial of two union activists for the crime. 80,000 first printing.
HOWARD BLUM is the author of eight previous books, including the national bestsellers Wanted!, The Gold of Exodus, and Gangland. Currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Blum was also a reporter at the New York Times, where he won numerous journalism awards and was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting.
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