"Encyclopedia of Assassinations," by Carl Sifakis...

Editor's Choice

April 29, 2001|By Michael Pakenham

"Encyclopedia of Assassinations," by Carl Sifakis (Checkmark Books, 258 pages, $19.95)

It would be simple enough to dismiss this new edition -- and its 1991 original form -- as somewhere between lugubrious and doleful. But it is a serious examination, and a detailed but concise record of more than 400 assassinations and attempts of deadly violence by motivations that can broadly be called political. Some are sufficiently recent and notorious as to be in virtually everybody's mind -- the Kennedys, Yitzak Rabin, Rajiv Gandhi. But the entries on those are rich in details and responsible distillations of theories and evidence of motive and consequence. A book of obvious value to some research needs, but also a quite compellingly interesting look at the role of homicidal violence in the minds and programs of dissenters and those who would radically change old orders.

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