The real story about the infamous Jimmy Hoffa and his surprising demise. Although the author and the reputed gangster that did the deed don't addressThe real story about the infamous Jimmy Hoffa and his surprising demise. Although the author and the reputed gangster that did the deed don't address the question about where his remains are buried (it isn't in the end zone at the Meadowlands according to this account)the account rings true.
A fascinating story about Hoffa's rise to power as the head of the Teamster's Union, his increasing relationship with the mob who made good use of the Teamster's growing pension fund to build out casino's, Hoffa's bitter relationship with Bobby Kennedy then Attorney General under his brother JFK, the ambivalent relationship the mob had with the Kennedy's (including JFK's father a notorious bootlegger and Bobby the rabid anti-mob lawyer, Hoffa's attempt to return to lead the Teamsters following his stint in prison and the events that lead to his untimely demise. It's all here despite the fact the the FBI neglected to arrest the likely suspects and even release the thousands pages of records gathered in this multi-year investigation. Good fellas, Good times!...more
The genie is out of the bottle…. trying to understand the west’s relationship to guns I thought this book might be interesting and it is at least fromThe genie is out of the bottle…. trying to understand the west’s relationship to guns I thought this book might be interesting and it is at least from the perspective of the angle of the stories behind the making of the 10 guns highlighted in this narrative. The authors’ bias is clear from the start that guns were designed to solve problems between individuals and nations and they continue to fill that role today. As a former Navy SEAL his fascination with the mechanics and utility of the gun is understandable although sadly he didn’t live to see the book published, ironically done in by a gun wielded by a deranged former soldier he was seeking to aid at the gun range. In the chapter on the Thompson Submachine gun, Kyle relates the story about the inventor of what was known as the Maxim (machine) gun in 1884. While visiting the Paris Electrical Exhibition in 1881, Maxim ran into a friend who told him “…there was good money in war. ‘Hang your chemistry and electricity’ said the friend. ‘If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each other’s throats with greater efficiency.’” And so he did… the genie is out of the bottle and there appears to be no way to put it back in. ...more
Simon's follow-up to his ground breaking book Jupiter’s travels about his four year-long around the world trip on a temperamental Triumph motorcycle.Simon's follow-up to his ground breaking book Jupiter’s travels about his four year-long around the world trip on a temperamental Triumph motorcycle. This trip ostensible taken to see the jaundiced view of the world he had on the first trip was accurate no surprise 30 years on the world has only become more crowded and consumed by poverty. That he had the guts to make this trip is pretty amazing – despite the number of years that have passed since the first book was released this trip bears many of the same hallmarks – he falls in love along the way and drags his mate along with him with predictable results (a problem that short circuited his first trip and left him happily stranded in California where he’s lived during the intervening years); his motorcycle skills which were non-existent at the outset of the first trip are barely improved this time, perhaps even gotten worse with age. All that considered, that he made such a trip at the age of 70 is astounding and makes for good adventure reading....more
After reading "Close Range", Proulx's brilliant short story collection that included "Brokeback Mountain" you can't help but think that the stories inAfter reading "Close Range", Proulx's brilliant short story collection that included "Brokeback Mountain" you can't help but think that the stories in "Bad Dirt 2" and now "Fine Just The Way Is" are not up to the same level of quality,...more
In “Willin’: The Story Of Little Feat” Ben Fong-Torres does a fine job of chronicling the equally brilliant band Little Feat over 40+ year existence,In “Willin’: The Story Of Little Feat” Ben Fong-Torres does a fine job of chronicling the equally brilliant band Little Feat over 40+ year existence, truly a feat for any band. The story naturally is built around the rise and decline of the band’s founder guitarist extraordinaire Lowell George who to this day who never received the notoriety he deserved during his brief 34 year life and except for the legion of Feat fans still remains relatively obscure among the other musicians that came out of southern California in the late 60’s.
Fong-Torres begins the musical journey when George joins an early incarnation of the Mothers of Invention only to be told by Zappa that as talented as he was he didn’t fit the band which lead him to put together the first incarnation of the band that became Little Feat, a name that was bestowed on him by Jimmie Carl Black another of the Mothers for his small but wide feet. The book follows the bands progression with each chapter devoted to an album beginning with “Little Feat” in 1971 on which the song “Willin’” makes it first appearance. Like many of their other albums for Warner Brothers it was ill-supported (and sold relatively few copies) on through “Sailin’ Shoes” (1972), “Dixie Chicken (1973) and five more albums ending with “Down On The Farm (1979) coinciding with George’s death. One of the most entertaining aspects of the book is Fong-Torres insights into the origins of various songs including Willin’ many of which include differing versions from members of the band and others in their inner circle. As time progressed George became increasingly autocratic even locking other members out of the studio as he insisted on producing albums by himself. Coupled with much drug use things became increasingly erratic for the band peaking with what is still considered one of the finest live albums in rock music “Waiting For Columbus” in 1978.
Following George’s death the band took a multi-year hiatus with band members performing live and or in sessions with Jackson Brown, Jimmy Buffet, Bonnie Raitt and on and on. The post – George years of the book while interesting are not nearly as fascinating as the early years which is no surprise but the tone of book at that point is just this side of hagiography. All in all, Fong Torres did a phenomenal job of capturing the ebb and flow of one of the finest bands still performing today, or as he says on p. 245 “a rock band who has had a generous share of thrills and spills, highs and lows, breakups and makeups”. ...more
I picked this up prior to a reading for Baker's latest book with the intention of having him sign this copy for my collection along with a few others.I picked this up prior to a reading for Baker's latest book with the intention of having him sign this copy for my collection along with a few others. Having no idea what it was about I started reading it to occupy the time before the reading began... forward to standing in the signing line when he generously signed the book with the following sentiment: "Possibly the last raunchy book I will ever write/ Nicholson Baker". This book reads like Henry Miller's "Opus Pistorum" re-written by Kurt Vonnegut....more