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Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice
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Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  128 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
On a warm Saturday night in July 1973 in Bethesda Maryland, a gunman stepped out from behind a tree and fired five point-blank shots into Joe Alon, an unassuming Israeli Air Force pilot and family man. Alon's sixteen-year-old neighbor, Fred Burton, was deeply shocked by this crime that rocked his sleepy suburban neighborhood. As it turned out, Alon wasn't just a pilot—he w ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published March 31st 2011)
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Ronald Roseborough
Terrorism, murder, revenge, an eye for an eye, so very little separates one from the other. Small nuances that define our lives. Thin lines crossed by individuals and governments. Who is to say what is right? A statement often attributed to Winston Churchill states, history is written by the victors. As a young man of sixteen, Fred Burton's life was changed forever by the news of a murder in a quiet suburb of Bethesda, Maryland in 1973. The mystery of the unsolved shooting would haunt him as his ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book by the author of "Ghost" on his lifelong search for the assassins of an Israeli pilot (and possible Mossad agent) in the author's hometown when he was 16. This is the event that pushed Fred Burton to becoming a cop and eventually working in counter-terrorism. The book covers the milieu of the early 70s beginnings of Palestinian terrorism and the "Black September" organization as well as a bit of the history of that era in the intelligence world.
Zohar -
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice by Fred Burton is a non-fiction book which tells about the author’s lifelong investigation into a political murder of one of his neighbors. The product of the investigation is a mesmerizing book of an investigation of a lifetime.

July of 1973 in Bethesda, MD Joseph Alon was shot to death. Mr. Alon was a high ranking Israeli Air Force pilot, a family man and a diplomatic attaché. Fred Burton, the Alons 16 year
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This fast-paced, non-fiction account of the long unsolved murder of a former war hero turned Israeli diplomat, Joe Alon, (aka Jospeh Placzek) is filled with intrigue, deception and conspiracy theories. I was reading several other books at the same time, as I am wont to do, but once I started this one, the others languished on the table as this story consumed me and I concentrated on it, to the exclusion of all else. It is a case of the truth being stranger than fiction. Can he have been a double ...more
Quentin Stewart
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Fred Burton was 16 a murder occurred in his quiet community that was never solved. Burton had a difficult time accepting the fact that something like this could occur in his neighborhood in 1973. Nothing like it had occurred before and he had a difficult time accepting that it could happen and never be solved. It was one of the factors that led Burton into the field of law enforcement and he never forgot that morning when he first heard of the murder. In each stop in his career as he advanc ...more
Debbi Mack
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
One fateful summer night in 1973, in the quiet DC suburb of Bethesda, MD, a gunman stepped from behind a tree and shot Joseph Alon in his driveway. The shooter got away, despite what seemed to be the best efforts of the local police and FBI to apprehend him. Over the years, the family was plagued with questions no one would answer. This incident not only shattered author Fred Burton's illusions of safety, but led him to a career in law enforcement, then a job with the Diplomatic Security Service ...more
Essentially a true crime story that links into events of global significance, I found this hard to put down. I appreciated how the book related so many newsworthy stories from the 60s and 70s to each other by pursuing just one murder case, and I feel like my cognitive map of many things I had vaguely heard of improved substantially, even if their descriptions here were sometimes thin and tendentious. But I also found the ending problematic as an apparent endorsement of or complicity with extraju ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the author was a teenager a murder happened in his neighborhood that he unknowingly trained his entire life to solve. This book tells the story of how he did that after over 30 years of following the case. While the book is about the murder investigation, about half of it is dedicated to explaining the Israel/Palestine conflicts and how they affected the world and ultimately relate to this murder mystery. A great story and great education on the Middle East.
May 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carolyn by: Stratfor
Story of one man's obsession with the murder of a man you've never heard of (an Israeli war hero, diplomat, and probable spy). You have to be really fascinated with the intricate relationships between Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Arab nations, Black September, the CIA, FBI, etc. to enjoy this book. It's overdramatized and overdone.
Tommy J Champion
Great book

I normally don't read this type of book. However I heard an interview on NPR and it really caught my attention. I respect the author for his dedication to this man an his family. In a world where most people could care less about others, he took it upon himself to make a difference. Thank you sir for going that extra mile to help those in need.
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read if you are looking for a murder/assassination/conspiracy mystery; and even better, it's a true story. The author wrote about his own experience investigating this unique case, and it covers a lot of geo-political and military history over the past 60 years. I found this to be a very engaging and compelling read.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story. Gives you a better idea of how spies, politics, and national interests all actually work.
Just like any other system with people, there are no formulas. It's just people, agendas, and opinions.

Countries pursue their interests, and then make stories that make the situation sound better then it actually is.
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting. A person who lived a few blocks from the author was gunned down. It probably influenced him to pursue a career in law enforcement, and later, to being a member of the counter-terrorism force of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). He spent years looking into this case, and was finally able to solve it and give the family some answers.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story about the murder of an Israeli diplomat in 1973, and lifelong quest of a young neighbor to identify those responsible. Brings back details of a violent period in international relations. Given the increasing sophistication of terrorist attacks in recent years, seems almost quaint. A page-turner.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, espionage
A fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of the conflicts in the middle east. The viewpoint is very specifically the author's, and very specifically American. His readiness to kidnap a suspect for swift American justice, or rendition to God knows where, was particularly disturbing.
richard m.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story - and it is represented as true.
A glimpse into international espionage that surpasses the myths. The range of people/places/events incorporated and illuminated in this tale was more than a little surprising.

Well written.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very little drama for a true crime book. Plodding.
Marjea Greene
I was not expecting this much background and history detail. It became boring in places.
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Great book and eloquently puts historic events of Middle East into a perspective.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not necessarily a thriller, but definitely interesting as to how the whole story played out with the Middle East as a background.
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Sep 08, 2011
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Jan 05, 2012
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Jul 31, 2011
rated it it was ok
Apr 01, 2014
Bennett Shulman
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May 28, 2016
Pj Geraghty
rated it liked it
Nov 06, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jun 27, 2011
Deb Hunter
rated it it was ok
Jan 06, 2015
Marilyn T.Greenhouse
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Oct 31, 2014
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