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Preview — American Tabloid by James Ellroy. 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 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.
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. 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.
Chosen by Time magazine as one of the ten best books of the year. Ellroy segues into political intrigue without missing a beat. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Underworld USA 1. Deutscher Krimi Preis for 2. Platz International Other Editions 7.
Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about American Tabloid , please sign up. This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [This is probably a dumb question, but why did Littell shoot Boyd? Josh Graml This answer contains spoilers… view spoiler [ I wouldn't say it's a dumb question at all. Boyd was killed because the Boys saw him as a liability and because he'd outlived his usefulness, especial …more I wouldn't say it's a dumb question at all.
Boyd was killed because the Boys saw him as a liability and because he'd outlived his usefulness, especially in light of double-cross. Pete wasn't rubbed out because the Boys thought he was still useful. See 1 question about American Tabloid…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 22, Kemper rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , underworld-usa , signed-by-author , mob , politics , modern-lit , favorites , bad-guys-rule , spy-vs-spy , crime-mystery.
James Ellroy has called me a panty sniffer to my face. This is his best novel, and my love for it is pretty much unconditional. The t James Ellroy has called me a panty sniffer to my face. It was even better than I remembered. Ellroy uses one of his unholy main character trinities of Bad White Men doing Bad Things, but instead of limiting the action to post-war Los Angeles like he did with the LA Quartet of crime stories, he uses his three fictional characters chasing their own twisted obsessions and ambitions to probe the darker moments of a particularly juicy slice of American history.
He wants all his masters to unite in a play to oust Castro so that his behind-the-scenes schemes will make him wealthy enough to be just like a Kennedy, but he has to make sure to keep his loyalties compartmentalized.
He hates the Mob and wants nothing more to go to work for Bobby Kennedy to get away from J. He runs blackmail divorce shakedowns and does the odd contract killing for the likes of Jimmy Hoffa in his spare time.
As all three of these men scheme and plot and commit horrible crimes to become more like the powerful men they are beholden to, they keep rubbing up against big events and desperately try to shape them to their will. The myth goes that JFK was a glorious leader who was cut down because he stood up to the Bad Men in the country who wanted to take us into Vietnam.
An odd story considering that JFK is the one who started committing troops to Vietnam. Ellroy brilliantly points out that the reality is that JFK was the son of a rich and corrupt man, and in one of the weirdest twists every, probably owed his presidency to the very people that he then let his zealot brother prosecute.
The Cuban exiles felt terribly betrayed when not only did JFK not fully commit to the Bay of Pigs invasion, he turned on them in the aftermath by having the Feds bust their training camps in the South. This is Ellroy at his best. Fully in control of his crazy staccato-brilliant-writer-with-ADD- style, and wildly spinning plots and counter plots with over the top violence and history as the backdrop.
View all 25 comments. Jul 02, brian rated it it was amazing. View all 37 comments. Apr 01, Greg rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction , favorites.
Check out the prose. Dig the style. Raymond Carver looks verbose. Hemingway looks weak and fey. Dig the streamlined story. Dig the violence. The greed. The manipulations, the conspiracies. Check out the Outfit. The Beard. The Cadre. Jimmy and the Klan. The Hair and Little Brother all gunning towards history like a hophead mainlining a speedball. Check out the geek posing at writing this review. View all 12 comments. Jul 04, Dan Schwent rated it really liked it Shelves: books , Yeah, that's not much of a teaser but there's no quick way to sum this one up.
American Tabloid takes key figures of the late s and early s and pisses all over them. His three leads, Ward Littell, Kemper Boyd, and Pete Bondurant, rise and fall as they influence key historical events. Politics makes strange bedfellows and Kemper Boyd is in bed with most of them. He's a wheeling-dealing son of a bitch. He was easily the most compelling of the three leads.
Ward Littell started off as kind of a weakling and wound up being the biggest bad ass of the three. He also lost the most before winding up on top. Pete Bondurant struck me as the most pragmatic for most of the book and I'm hoping he'll be back for the sequel. Ellroy doesn't pull any punches in this. The clipped sentence structure is in full effect, so much so that it's a little overwhelming at times.
I still dug it. He also isn't afraid to cast aside the myth of the Kennedys being great men. Edgar Hoover is almost the Dudley Smith of the piece, a master strategist who never really takes the fall. It was great how Littell, Boyd, and Bondurant were interwoven into the sagas of Jimmy Hoffa, Howard Hughes, and the Kennedys, linking all of them together into a tapestry of lies, drugs, and death. American Tabloid is just as bleak as the LA Quartet in its own way.
While Ellroy's Hollywood is a cesspool, his political world is even worse, a shit and vomit-flecked abattoir where everyone is in bed with everyone else and no one can be trusted. By the end, I didn't think any of the three leads would survive to the second book. American Tabloid was a dark and exhausting read. By the time I was done, I felt like Kemper Boyd had done a number on me with brass knuckles.
Look Inside. The internationally acclaimed author of the L. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles, and various loose cannons conspire in a covert anarchy. Where three renegade law-enforcement officers—a former L. Zealous young senator Robert Kennedy has a red-hot jones to nail Jimmy Hoffa. JFK has his eyes on the Oval Office. Edgar Hoover is swooping down on the Red Menace.
James Ellroy’s American Tabloid: will it ever make it to the big screen?
America is about to emerge into a bright new age — an age that will last until the days of John F Kennedy's presidency. Three men move beneath the glossy surface of power, men allied to the makers and shakers of the era. Ward Littell — a man seeking redemption in Bobby Kennedy's drive against organised crime. The festering discount of the age that burns brightly in these men's hearts will go into supernova as the Bay of Pigs ends in calamity, the Mob clamours for payback and the days ends in brutal quietus in James Ellroy.
American Tabloid by James Ellroy is our Reading group book for May
American Tabloid is a novel by James Ellroy that chronicles the events surrounding three rogue American law enforcement officers from November 22, , through November 22, Each becomes entangled in a web of interconnecting associations between the FBI , the CIA , and the mafia , which eventually leads to their collective involvement in the John F. Kennedy assassination. American Tabloid is divided into five sections, is exactly one hundred chapters long many are less than a page in length , and covers exactly five years. The narration eschews both exposition and lengthy dialog exchanges. All chapters begin with the chapter number, the location usually the name of the city , and the date. The action of the book is completely sequential.