CRIME-READING – HELLBOUND ON HIS TRAIL: THE STALKING OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE INTERNATIONAL HUNT FOR HIS ASSASSIN

– Yale-trained historian Hampton Sides hails from Memphis. His father had worked on the MLK trial as a lawyer. So it’s no wonder that this fascinating book feels like a personal memoir, an intimate story from the writer. This book is the story of all the characters involved in the murder of Martin Luther King, their characteristics, their habits, their quirks. And, so typical of Hampton Sides, this book is thoroughly researched, well-written, and well-organized.

I was just a child in my single digits when MLK was assassinated. I read this book to learn more about the story. And what a story this is. Sides spoke with every witness, every neighbor of all the people in the book. He traveled thousands of miles to relive the towns and travel routes of the people in this book. He didn’t leave anything to the imagination.

And, typical of Sides, chapters are short and ideal for quick readings. Personalities switch often: starting with Eric Galt (James Early Ray) and his penchant for Mexican whores and cheap photographs, to nemisis J Edgar Hoover, President Lyndon Johnson, George Wallace and the man MLK himself (who lived quite a shameful life behind curtains), this book is laden with historical passages never before revealed.

Although we all know how the killing of MLK transpired, Sides does not take sides with anyone. No character in this book is herofied. What the reader experiences is the rising backfrop to the actual focus of this book: the hunt for James Earl Ray. Out of the 400 pages of this book, the first 164 take place before the MLK assassination.

We learn about the distrust J Edgar Hoover had toward MLK. We read about James Earl Ray’s shyness, Johnson’s rudeness and George Wallace’s resoluteness. The reader finally finishes this book not completely wanting to take just one side anymore, but none.

I highly recommend this book for history fans, people fascinated with FBI history and its people, social history of the 1960s and admirers of MLK. It’s a hard book to put down once you get started, so happy reading. Your mind will thank you for the intellectual insight.

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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