5.0 out of 5 stars Gut Wrenching Reading
This novel about secret governmental departments and their unexpected activities is superbly written and rivets the reader to each page. Packed with action and nostalgia over history long past, it strikes chord after chord, as familiar events are given a violent twist by this story telling genius.
Other reviews detail the characters and style; I can only add...
Published 21 months ago by Ila France Porcher
3.0 out of 5 stars It bothers me that we like it.
Ellroy is more talented than, say, Dennis Lehane. He is consistently dark where Elmore Leonard can be whimsical. His violence transcends the shoot-em-up stuff of Stephen Hunter. He has a gift for dialogue and can plumb deep into a character's psyche. He is undoubtedly street wise. But American Tabloid is still marked by graphic violence, rumor, gossip, sex, drugs, and...
Published on June 23 2001 by Frank Gibbons
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gut Wrenching Reading,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)This novel about secret governmental departments and their unexpected activities is superbly written and rivets the reader to each page. Packed with action and nostalgia over history long past, it strikes chord after chord, as familiar events are given a violent twist by this story telling genius.
Other reviews detail the characters and style; I can only add that I was astounded by the brilliance in which this novel was researched, written, and organized. It takes action and psychological thrillers to a new level of genius.
In terms of crime drama, its tops, and a must read!
5.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY WITH BODILY FLUIDS - AND STYLE!,
This review is from: American Tabloid (Mass Market Paperback)History has always been written by the victors - and they have the tendency to iron-out all its bloody details and hide all their dirty secrets. This a TRUE CLASSIC: imagine a history book that reads like a tabloid. Every story up close and personal, complete with every gory detail described. IN CINEMASCOPE & TECHNICOLOR.
The dirty making of the Kennedy fortune. Hoover as a hypochondriac cross-dressing extortionist. Everybody wiretapping everybody. The Camelot President clocked at 6 minutes. The Mob rigs the election for said President; invades Cuba with clansmen and Castro's exiles in blood-lust frenzy; gets burned - and gets even the only way it knows how. And in the middle of it all, two FBI agents trapped in a downwards spiral of serving multiple masters.
JAMES ELLROY does not pretend to write the dark side: he has barely escaped it himself and knows all its intoxicating scents and shadows. Read for the plausible details of history's margins. Enjoy the staccato prose of natural wit, verbatim FBI communication files and 50's Tabloid lingo.
5.0 out of 5 stars Savage, Dark, Awesome!,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)Ellroy's "American Tabloid" takes the Kennedy-Bay of Pigs era and throws it in the shredder, hacking through the Golden Age myths of Camelot and the reader's pre-conceptions about the JFK presidency.
America has never looked so seedy or corrupt. In a work that should be accompanied by a Quentin Tarantino-selected soundtrack, Ellroy spins a tale of duplicity, false alliances, and mutual interest that alternately unites and tears apart the men of the CIA, the FBI, the Mob, the Teamsters, and teven he insane Howard Hughes. The trio of anti-heroes who drive the story forward, Pete Bondurant (hand-cuff snapping hired muscle), Kemper Boyd (Kennedy wannabe from the CIA), and Ward Littel (fallen FBI angel) rub shoulders with the Kennedys, J. Edgar Hoover, and other infamous movers and shakers from the period.
One hopes that Ellroy's exhilirating tale is not historically accurate, but Ellroy weaves enough historical detail that you feel as if "you are there, live!" If even one tenth of Ellroy's tale *is* true, then we are reminded how fragile and savage our American experiment with democracy really is.
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, epic, and mind blowing...,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)I'm beyond words. It is pulp fiction at it's most riveting. It is history and conspiracy turned upside down. It is humanity in criminals and criminality in heroes and lots in between. I love Ellroy's style. This first bit of fiction of his that I have read and I can't wait to read the rest of his novels. He is amazing. The story is complicated, but you never get lost. It is "What if.." history. It is fact and lots of fiction, but it works. Just read it. If you love Ellroy, crime fiction, historical fiction, or just a good book...this is it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ellroy has grown up...,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)Reading all the reviews about this book is quite repetitive : everyone seems to consider Ellroy as a cute story-teller with complicated but breathtaking plots. I have even read that American Tabloid was a good MTV thriller !!!
Well, one cannot understand Ellroy without having read some of his major books and especially my dark places, his most personnal work. Ellroy is a story-teller, that's a fact, but whereas America has a bunch of story tellers, it only has one Ellroy. His style is unique and exhilarating and American tabloid is probably the best example of his talented writing. Read it and be prepared to have no sleep for a while. This book, whose plot is inspired by FBI files recently made public, is hard to appreciate because it is mature, tenseful, nervous and also so very dark. That's the way Ellroy is and that's the way he is, as far as I'm concerned, one of America's greatest talents in writing.
5.0 out of 5 stars American Tabloid,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)American Tabloid is one of the finest crime fiction novels in my library. Ellroy is a master of blending actual events with plausible and frightening characters. "Big Pete" Bondurant is a fierce animal that no sane man would want to face in a confrontation. Walt Borchard shines as an idealistic failure. I liked American Tabloid so much I bought the hardback and intend to read it again. This book isn't for the faint of heart - don't leave it laying around unsupervised children.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)As a reader of primarily non-fiction (history/economics), I am no expert on popular authors. However, after reading American Tabloid, it is clear that James Ellroy is a cut above the bestseller-writing hacks. The story is fascinatingly complex, and focuses on recent history as seen through the eyes of three very different lead fictional characters. Ellroy reminds one of Gore Vidal in his tendency to use fictional characters and their perceptions of what is going on around them to express his own historical interpretations. Since much of his historical interpretations are conjecture involving conspiracies, the novel is the perfect writing medium for Ellroy. He turns actual historical figures into peripheral characters in the lives of the fictional ones. Ellroy's distortions of history are amusing, entertaining, and fairly harmlesss. Readers who were put off by Ellroy's esoteric writing style in previous novels (White Jazz, L.A. Confidential) need not worry. This time around, he is a bit more reader-friendly. Above all, the story is top-notch. This is a rather lengthy book, but you will breeze through it. It is a pleasure to read.
5.0 out of 5 stars American deathtrap,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)The subjets covered in this book are both sensitive and explosive: the mafia, the teamsters, the FBI, the CIA and the Kennedy's. James Ellroy leads us through a maze of plans, counter plans, murder and mayhem. The three leading characters, all with very few redeeming traits, mixed together conspire and execute one of the crimes of the century.
When i finished reading this book i felt as if i had gone 15 rounds in the boxing ring. Exhausted, emptied by the speed and emotion of the narrative employed, the words leapt at me, it was impossible to put the book down , everything else i had read paled into nothing and dissapeared into the haze without trace.
READ IT AND SEE WHAT I MEAN!!!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Every character is not worth a penny!!,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)Unbeliavable! Ellroy wrote a book where 99,9% of all characters are vile and mean, totally indecent and immoral, including the ones with real names!
Kemper Boyd and Pete Bondurant are pure killers and even when Ellroy talks about the background of these characters, we simply can not care about their welfare: we just despise them. Ward Littel begins with a little more possibility of being a good man, but soon is also lost to "evil"...
Totally original here is the courage to introduce real life characters as Hoover and the Kennedy brothers and insert dialogues in their mouths freely. Amazing technique, it works wonderfully!
This is a great book, but don't go for it expecting to find nice words or poetry..it's about a society nasty, cheap and corrupt.
By the way, even before reading this book, is there someone else out there that still thinks that Lee Oswald acted alone...?
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master at the Top of his Game,
This review is from: American Tabloid: A Novel (Paperback)In "American Tabloid", James Ellroy achieves what few authors ever accomplish. He flawlessly writes his own characters into the political and mob world of the late 1950's and early 1960's, and he makes his plot believeable. As you read conversations that include, JFK, RFK, Sam Giancanna and other famous mob bosses, you have to wonder "this IS fiction, isn't it"
"American Tabloid" focuses on the mafia's role in the election of JFK, the Bay of Pigs, and the JFK assasination. As in all of Ellroy's books, no one gets away clean. Pete Boudurant, mob bagman and muscle; Kemper Boyd, FBI agent, CIA operative, looking out only for number one; and Ward J. Little, an FBI agent with a bizzare love/hate obsession with the Kennedy's. These ruthless men and their dealings provide the framework for one of the most brutal, ambitious novels ever written.
Ellroy has finally perfected his staccatto prose that he dabbled with in "LA Confidential" and experimented with openly in "White Jazz". The effect is like a literary high, as the book manages to develop several complex charchters with 50's/60's slang and short sentances. The book picks up quickly and never lets up. This book turned me onto the world of James Ellroy, and any reader with an interest in crime fiction needs to read this. Ellroy's second masterpiece, after "LA Confidential".
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American Tabloid: A Novel by James Ellroy (Paperback - April 24 2001)
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