"Fred Hampton dead body" by Chicago Police Department - from the documentary film The Murder of Fred Hampton Image © Public Domain via Commons

The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the U.S.

Ward Churchill and Jim Van der Wall

Fascinating dissection of the war against “subversives,” everything from assassinations to fomenting race wars.

Publisher: South End
Paperback: 468 pages


The Judas Factor: The Plot To Kill Malcolm X

Karl Evanzz

On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot and killed, and the author of this book purports to know why. After 15 years of intensive research, including hundreds of interviews and the examination of 300,000 pages of declassified FBI and CIA documents, the author contends that it was the aforementioned agencies who bear the responsibility for Malcolm X’s death. The ubiquitous Hoover shows up everywhere as the master of puppets, a man who gloated over his victims, from John Dillinger to Malcolm X. Surprisingly, the author links the assassinations of both Malcolm X and George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, to the same source: COINTELPRO. Indeed, Rockwell received the greatest ovation of his career at a Black Muslim Rally in Washington in 1961. It is a compelling irony that neither Malcolm nor Rockwell were killed by white or black racists, respectively. As dynamic and charismatic figures, they were too much alike, thus, they were both recognized by the powers that be as a great danger to the status quo. “Officially” both men were assassinated by disgruntled former associates. Succinctly put by the author of the book: “I am convinced that Louis E. Lomax, an industrious Afro-American journalist who befriended Malcolm in the late 1950s, had practically solved the riddle of his assassination 25 years ago. Lomax, who died in a mysterious automobile accident while shooting a film in Los Angeles about the assassination, believed that Malcolm X was betrayed by a former friend who reportedly had ties to the intelligence community. In 1968, Lomax called the suspect ‘Judas.’” However, if Lomax was right, and Malcolm was betrayed, it was not with a kiss, as the book graphically demonstrates. JB

Publisher: Thunder's Mouth
Paperback: 405 pages

KGB: The Inside Story

Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky

There have been a number of books written about the KGB, but this one is genuinely informative and loaded with rare photos as well. The book is remarkably well written, and the chapters on Stalin and the Cold War are unique and provocative. For those with an interest in the Rosenberg case, many new details have been provided by this well-informed author. Captivating and difficult to put down once you begin to sink your teeth into it, with intrigue, treachery, double-crosses and betrayals. JB

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 776 pages

Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief

Donny Kossy

Rant #1: “The game world-wide mad deadly COMMUNIST GANGSTER COMPUTER GOD that CONTROLS YOU AS A TERRORIZED GANGSTER FRANKENSTEIN EARPHONE RADIO SLAVE, PARROTING PUPPET.” Rant #2: “In effect, man as a race vegetated. Instead of advancing from innocence to virtue, he remained a clod. “ Rant #3: “NO LONGER CAN EAT DRIED BEANS, May 2. 1989.” It’s all part of kook-lit 101, a series of sensitive and amusing folk profiles. Says the author: “I became the recipient of countless home-made flyers handed to me and other passers-by on the streets… these dense tracts were desperate pleas from the victims of mind control, or mad saints who detailed a theory that would solve all the world’s problems, or obsessed litigants who described their legal quandaries with the aid of inexplicable numerical equations. Handwritten or typed, their authors usually covered every inch of space on the paper, no matter its size.” Unites the weirdoes of the world—something they could never do themselves! GR

Publisher: Feral House
Paperback: 300 pages

The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915-1930

Kenneth T. Jackson

Most people see the Klan as a rural and southern phenomenon, but in the 1920s, with the Klan at its height of power, they flourished in the cities, often in the North. The people who joined the Klan were dislocated, frightened and uprooted by the rapid changes in urban life. Many of these people joined the Klan for patriotic reasons unaware of their bigotry. In many places from Dallas to Atlanta, and Buffalo, to Portland, Oregon the Klan won elective office. SC

Publisher: Dee
Paperback: 326 pages

The Land of Hunger

Piero Camporesi

“A graphic and engaging journey into the folk culture of early modern Europe… a mosaic of images from Italian folklore: phantasmagoric processions of giants, pigs, vagabonds, downtrodden rogues, charlatans and beggars in rags.”

Publisher: Polity
Hardback: 223 pages

The Last Empire: De Beers, Diamonds and the World

Stefan Kanfer

Story of a humble South African farm that sparked a 19th-century diamond rush, turning the Cape of South Africa into an exotic Klondike of corporate lust, brutality and greed. For more than 100 years, control of the world’s diamonds has been in the hands of one family, the Oppenheimers of South Africa and England—the diamond dons of De Beers. “The Oppenheimers have endured threats to their lives, outlived global depression and two world wars, survived Afrikaaner terror, United Nations denunciations, miner’s strikes, revolutionaries, sanctions, failed lawsuits, black consciousness. They have heard themselves called slavers in modern dress… they have also recieved awards for sharing their wealth with African employees… ‘Governments fall, entire countries come and go, but diamonds—and the cartel that controls them—are forever.’” GR

Publisher: Noonday
Paperback: 409 pages

The Last Year of Malcolm X: The Evolution of a Revolutionary

George Breitman

Study of Malcolm X’s political development after he left the Nation of Islam. Analyzes the split between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, and charts the evolution of Malcolm’s views on organizing the black community and on questions of separatism and black nationalism.

Publisher: Pathfinder
Paperback: 169 pages

Lincoln’s Unknown Private Life: An Oral History by His Black Housekeeper, Mariah Vance (1850-60)

Edited by Lloyd Ostendorf and Walter Olesky

Mariah Vance, an African-American domestic worker, worked for Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, from 1850 to 1860. Vance was witness to the Lincoln home life unlike any other person outside the family. Her recently published oral history reveals, for the first time, the Lincolns’ often volatile lives and Mary Lincoln’s unquenchable desire for paregoric (opium suspended in camphor and alcohol). Abraham Lincoln’s public life was well-documented, but little is known about his private life.
After leaving the Lincolns, Mariah Vance continued to be a laundress, maid and housekeeper to support her 12 children. Adah Sutton, a Springfield antique dealer, upon hearing of Mariah’s skill and hard work, brought her laundry and listened while Mariah spoke of the Lincolns. Months later, realizing just who Mariah was talking about, Adah took extensive verbatim notes, which were thrown into a box until years later. At age 72, she decided her notes were important enough to make public. These writings reveal an incredible number of personal conversations and details that only a maid could know. There’s a bit of dirt here and there, like when Mrs. Lincoln consults psychics and throws extravagant society parties to impress Springfield’s finest while depleting Abraham’s bank accounts. But mostly the Lincolns were hardworking, God-fearing, extremely loyal people. Lincoln’s common sense prevails in the face of hallucinations and tantrums, resulting from his wife’s paregoric addictions and withdrawals—Mrs. Lincoln acts much like a heroin addict, but with easy and continued access to her “medicine.” GE/CF

Publisher: Hastings House
Hardback: 550 pages

The Lingering Mystery of RFK

Andy Boehm

“For years it has been accepted public doctrine that Sirhan Sirhan acted alone in killing Senator Robert F. Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, however, the Los Angeles Police Department finally was compelled to release to the public a great deal of its documentation in the case… Examined closely, a very different story emerges from the official tale—one that in an ideal world would compel the authorities to take a new look at thecase and the LAPD’s role in it.”

Publisher: Prevailing Winds
Pamphlet: 14 pages

The Little Black Book

Paul Rydeen

A thin but authoritative address book of extreme groups of all stripes.

Publisher: VIVO
Pamphlet: 23 pages