The Annals of Unsolved Crime
By Edward Jay Epstein
(Melville House, Hardcover, 9781612190488, 352pp.)
Publication Date: February 15, 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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One of America’s most acclaimed investigative journalists re-investigates some of the most notorious and mysterious crimes of the last 200 years
The beloved head of the UN dies in a tragic plane crash . . . witnesses unearthed years later suggest it wasn’t an accident. Theories behind the mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe change yearly, and some believe Jack the Ripper was a member of the royal family. History books say Hitler burned down the Reichstag—but did he? And who really organized the conspiracy to kill Abraham Lincoln?
Acclaimed investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein cut his teeth on one of the most notorious murder mysteries of the 20th century in his first book, Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth, one of the first books on the assassination and an instant bestseller. His conclusion? The Commission left open too many questions.
He examines those questions here, as well as some of the most famous “unsolved” or mysterious crimes of all time, coming to some startling conclusions. His method in each investigation is simple: outline what is known and unknown, and show the plausible theories of a case. Where more than one theory exists, he shows the evidence for and against each. And when something remains to be proved, he says as much.
In The Annals of Unsolved Crime, Epstein re-visits his most famous investigations and adds dozens of new cases. From the Lindbergh kidnapping to the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, from the Black Dahlia murder to anthrax attacks on America, from the vanishing of Jimmy Hoffa to the case of Amanda Knox—Epstein considers three dozen high-profile crimes and their tangled histories and again proves himself one of our most penetrating journalists.
Edward Jay Epstein is the author of fourteen books. He studied government at Cornell and Harvard and received a Ph.D from Harvard in 1973. His thesis on the search for political truth became a best-selling book, Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth. His doctoral dissertation on television news was published as News From Nowhere. He is the recipient of numerous foundation grants and awards, including the prestigious Financial Times/Booz Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award for both best biography and best business book for Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer. He has written for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City.
“A grand figure of modern journalism . . . Show Epstein a juicy crime and he will show you how it has been subverted by unseen powers for their own agenda, by the inevitable incompetence of investigative authorities and by the media because it likes a simple story line.”
—Michael Wolff, USA Today
“It’s a terrific book.”
—Errol Morris, Oscar-winning filmmaker
“[Written by] one of the greatest American investigative journalists, a compelling and informed account of how crime and the needs of power and politics intertwine.”
—Patrick Cockburn, The Independent
“Epstein takes the accepted version of events from Lincoln’s and Kennedy’s assassinations to Strauss-Kahn’s sexual encounter in that New York hotel, and he then undermines the accepted version with careful research and close reasoning. It’s really good fun whether or not you end up convinced, but if you like conspiracy theories, read this book.”
—Fareed Zakaria, CNN
“Epstein often is able to provide exactly the kind of comprehensive and levelheaded analysis that is usually drowned out in the sensationalism . . . As a longtime investigative journalist, Epstein knows how to break down a crime scene.”
“Epstein . . . deserves credit for being the one of the very first to smell a rat in [the Kennedy assassination] investigation . . . His analysis [in The Annals of Unsolved Crime] . . . is well documented.”
—Ron Rosenbaum, Slate
“Armchair detectives will eat this book with a spoon. Journalism students need to read the Strauss-Kahn piece yesterday. The JFK piece is required reading for assassination buffs. And for the rest of us? The Annals of Unsolved Crime is a guilty pleasure.”
—Jesse Kornbluth, The Huffington Post
“Whether you’re a true crime devotee or simply someone who loves a good story, you’ll find things you didn’t know—maybe things you would never imagine—all served up in . . . The Annals of Unsolved Crime.”
“Epstein is an inveterate chronicler of bad acts and those who commit them. In a career that began in the 1960s . . . Epstein has done a lot of brave crime reporting over the years . . . [H]is examination of the plane crash that killed Pakistan’s president in 1988 is the authoritative product of extensive reporting Epstein carried out in that country. Likewise, his interviews with key players in the investigation that followed the 2000 murder of a Ukrainian journalist provide . . . original details.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Extremely entertaining, this book will be popular with fans of ripped-from-the-headlines crime tales and students of the more historical cases. Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for Edward Jay Epstein
“[Epstein believes] that conspiracies are more common than most journalists credit; for much of his career, he has reveled in the kind of tantalizing clues that could lead somewhere . . . or nowhere.”
—Joe Nocera, The New York Times
“[Epstein is] a bulldog researcher.”
—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“A brilliant investigator.”
“Epstein tells all.”
—John Leonard, The New York Times
Praise for The Big Picture
“A rich adventure that will change the way you look at movies.”
“Edward Jay Epstein is here to tell us that when it comes to Hollywood these days, we’ve got it all wrong.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“One of the virtues of The Big Picture is Mr. Epstein’s astonishing access to numbers that movie studios go to great lengths to keep secret . . . A groundbreaking work that explains the inner workings of the game.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Hollywood has needed one of these for a long time—a user’s manual. This one could not be more complete. . . .[Grade] A.”
“In his adroit charting of the confidence flow between the various entities and eras Mr. Epstein kicks up a lot of little surprises. . . Edward Jay Epstein is quite good.”
—Larry McMurtry, The New York Review of Books