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The Murder of Sonny Liston: A Story of Fame,…
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The Murder of Sonny Liston: A Story of Fame, Heroin, Boxing & Las Vegas (utgåvan 2017)

av Shaun Assael (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
222792,943 (3.67)1
"A daring investigation into the mysterious death of Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston, set against the dawn of the 1970s, when the mob was fighting to keep control of the Las Vegas Strip, Richard Nixon was launching America's first war on heroin, and boxing was in its glory days. Las Vegas, 1970: Elvis Presley is playing two shows a night at the International. Howard Hughes is running his empire from the penthouse suite of the Desert Inn. And middle-America is flocking to The Strip, transforming it from an exclusive playground for the mob to a mecca for corporate dollars. But the city is also rotting from within. Heroin is pouring over the border from Mexico and the segregated Westside is on the cusp of a race war. The cops, brutally violent, are barely holding it together. Driving through town with the top of his pink Cadillac down, Sonny Liston is the one celebrity who's unafraid to bridge both worlds. Cashing in on his fading notoriety in the casinos, he is also dealing drugs, working as an enforcer for a crime syndicate, and trying to break into Hollywood as an action star. Along the way, he has a boxer's faith that he can duck any threat, slip any punch. Heroin addiction is the only knockout punch he doesn't see coming. On January 5, 1971, Liston was found dead in his home, with heroin in his blood, from what Las Vegas police speculated was a drug overdose. But Liston's closest friends never believed that he accidentally OD'd. They believed he was murdered. In the decades since, a cottage industry of theories has hung over his death. But none have been substantiated. By digging deep into the life Liston tried hard to hide, investigative journalist Shaun Assael treats Liston's death as a cold case. The result is a page-turning whodunit that evokes a glorious and grimy era of Las Vegas, based on police records and original interviews with cops and politicians who worked in Vegas at the time--including a key suspect who was accused of killing Liston, and who offers up his own theory about who did it. The Murder of Sonny Liston takes a fresh look at the legendary boxer, and the town he called home, getting to the bottom of one of America's most enduring mysteries"--"A daring investigation into the mysterious death of Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston, set against the dawn of the 1970s, when the mob was fighting to keep control of the Las Vegas Strip, Richard Nixon was launching America's first war on heroin, and boxing was in its glory days"--… (mer)
Medlem:Hess97
Titel:The Murder of Sonny Liston: A Story of Fame, Heroin, Boxing & Las Vegas
Författare:Shaun Assael (Författare)
Info:Pan (2017), 320 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights av Shaun Assael

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The Serial podcast about Adnan Syed's murder conviction sparked a profusion of so-called "true crime" podcasts, many focusing on unsolved murders or assessing whether particular deaths were the result of foul play. While several of those are worth listening to, The Murder of Sonny Liston displays the advantage of the written word.

The question of whether boxer Sonny Liston's heroin overdose was actually a murder has been a subject of speculation for decades. While author Shaun Assael's The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights can't settle that question, the book portrays a Las Vegas on the verge of its heydays. There's the wealthy casino investors, such as Howard Hughes, and the mob influence in the city. There's the office run by Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb, one of the most powerful men in Vegas, if not Nevada. There's the seedy underside of the Las Vegas Police Department in a jurisdictional muddle of the city's explosive growth. There's the de facto segregation of the community. And while Liston spent much of his time in African-American West Las Vegas, the man considered by many to be the angriest black man in America lived in an exclusive area of the city in a home once owned by Debby Reynolds.

Given the poverty in which he grew up, the fact he came into boxing while serving time in the Missouri State Prison and his later addiction to heroin, gentrification wasn't something that fit Liston. The home and opportunities his celebrity brought didn't cast out the variety of shady characters who were regular elements of and influences on his professional and personal life.

Assael clearly portrays these elements of the story. Unfortunately, while there are several candidates who may well have wanted Liston dead, that theme often seems to get lost in the emphasis on Vegas itself. Although Liston's story makes the book a satisfactory read for those interested in him, the book is as much a history of 1960s Las Vegas as a thorough analysis of whether Liston was murdered. In fact, the latter focuses in large part on a police informant's claims some 12 years after Liston's death. At least the detail Assael provides elevates his exploration above the cursory views taken in most genre-related podcasts.

(Originally posted at A Progressive on the Prairie) ( )
  PrairieProgressive | Dec 7, 2016 |
Admittedly I knew next to nothing about Sonny Liston before I read this book. I'm not much of a sports guru, although I do love boxing movies. All I knew about Sonny Liston was that he was the fallen boxer in the famous photo with Muhammad Ali towering over him. That's it. While this book doesn't go into too much detail about Sonny's early life or early career, it does mention some key facts and picks up the story towards the end of Sonny's life and career. This book doesn't paint a pretty picture of anyone but it is a fascinating look at corruption, the mob, heroin, and Las Vegas. The author meticulously puts together all the possible events, people, and circumstances that point to the famous boxer being murdered, even though there was never a homicide investigation. The plot thickens when you realize that virtually no one was straight, not even his wife. While there is no concrete conclusion at the end, readers will draw their own conclusions and in the process learn a great deal about boxing, fight fixing, draft dodgers, heroin, dirty cops, and Las Vegas. Thoroughly engaging, I wish there had been more pictures, but hey, what is a little outside research on my own. ( )
  ecataldi | Nov 14, 2016 |
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"A daring investigation into the mysterious death of Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston, set against the dawn of the 1970s, when the mob was fighting to keep control of the Las Vegas Strip, Richard Nixon was launching America's first war on heroin, and boxing was in its glory days. Las Vegas, 1970: Elvis Presley is playing two shows a night at the International. Howard Hughes is running his empire from the penthouse suite of the Desert Inn. And middle-America is flocking to The Strip, transforming it from an exclusive playground for the mob to a mecca for corporate dollars. But the city is also rotting from within. Heroin is pouring over the border from Mexico and the segregated Westside is on the cusp of a race war. The cops, brutally violent, are barely holding it together. Driving through town with the top of his pink Cadillac down, Sonny Liston is the one celebrity who's unafraid to bridge both worlds. Cashing in on his fading notoriety in the casinos, he is also dealing drugs, working as an enforcer for a crime syndicate, and trying to break into Hollywood as an action star. Along the way, he has a boxer's faith that he can duck any threat, slip any punch. Heroin addiction is the only knockout punch he doesn't see coming. On January 5, 1971, Liston was found dead in his home, with heroin in his blood, from what Las Vegas police speculated was a drug overdose. But Liston's closest friends never believed that he accidentally OD'd. They believed he was murdered. In the decades since, a cottage industry of theories has hung over his death. But none have been substantiated. By digging deep into the life Liston tried hard to hide, investigative journalist Shaun Assael treats Liston's death as a cold case. The result is a page-turning whodunit that evokes a glorious and grimy era of Las Vegas, based on police records and original interviews with cops and politicians who worked in Vegas at the time--including a key suspect who was accused of killing Liston, and who offers up his own theory about who did it. The Murder of Sonny Liston takes a fresh look at the legendary boxer, and the town he called home, getting to the bottom of one of America's most enduring mysteries"--"A daring investigation into the mysterious death of Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston, set against the dawn of the 1970s, when the mob was fighting to keep control of the Las Vegas Strip, Richard Nixon was launching America's first war on heroin, and boxing was in its glory days"--

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