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The Galindez Case by Stuart A McKeever (Book Review)

This is a new section where we do book reviews. Enjoy.

Three Stars out of Five

There's a very wise saying by world's smartest man Noam Chomsky that states, in effect, that today's times are just as violent as the times of Genghis Khan but the difference is the marketing. If you needed confirmation of this, then look no further than the Stuart A McKeever non fiction book The Galindez Case, where he documents -- not as fully as you would like but that will be explained later -- the disappearance and probable kidnapping and probable execution of Basque nationalist Jesus Galindez in 1956. McKeever, a retired New York attorney who gathers information from what looks to be a vast array of sources makes the assertion that Dominican Republic strongman Rafael Trujillo was behind it all. You sort of have to use your discretion as a reader to determine if his assertion was true or not.

What the book is about is the disappearance of Basque nationalist Jesus Galindez on March 12, 1956. And while McKeever makes the case that Galindez made quite a few enemies who could have done him in -- everyone from fascist dictator Francisco Franco (Whom the Basques fought against unsuccessfully and who was later embraced by the United States because historically we like leaders like that...Or "look it up" as Stephen Colbert might say...) to people who might have been upset that he was an FBI informant reporting about the Communists -- he makes the argument that this was done by Trujillo. He also seems to make the argument that the CIA was involved and must have known. What isn't clear is if the FBI had known. It seems to be clear that the New York police, which had its own international bureau, which was surprising, weren't in on it. We think. You're not entirely certain because of the lack of precise footnotes.

First, let's detail the strengths of the book. McKeever gives us a lot of ideas and touches upon just about every major idea of the case. You're given history about how Jesus De Galindez ended up in New York by way of Spain through the Dominican Republic and then finally New York. Turns out that the Dominican Republic was a refuge for people fighting against Franco. Galindez even worked for Trujillo or tried to but soured on the dictator and in fact had finished a book about the dictator that caused his death. He had also been openly critical of the regime. McKeever also makes the extraordinary claim that all the bad publicity behind the Galindez disappearance led to Trujillo's assassination in 1961. Hard to say even with the book's copious amount of notes and perspectives.

This brings us to the main problem of the book: it really isn't written for the average reader. If you're comfortable reading the Warren Commission report or GAO reports or motions in legal proceedings then this book is a lot of fun otherwise this could be a rough ride. The other problem is a kind of sloppy and generalized documentation. When you're making the shocking claim that the United States possibly greenlighted the probable kidnapping and execution of a citizen within its shores then you need to footnote every single point. There are summary notes for each chapter but the reader has no specific idea as to where his many statements and quotations are coming from. Some advice for the ebook edition if one is forthcoming: do Chicago manual style footnotes and document every statement in quotation marks that's made. And being that this isn't necessarily a topical case, McKeever might want to publish an excerpt at a website where this will be treated as important news. He should try all the traditional progressive websites that will criticize American backed dictators openly but the one that best fits is a site called Narco News, which is run by real journalists that do real stories. Democracy Now, The Real News and possibly the Young Turks might be interested as well. Just a suggestion. But otherwise a serious and interesting read but not for readers who can't handle complexity.

The website for the book.

Radio and video interviews with the writer

Narco News or the kind of site that could help this writer promote his book.

Promo video for fictional thriller based on the Galindez disappearance.