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Hellhound on His Trail


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Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

by Hampton Sides (Doubleday, April 2010)

Hampton Sides has authored a new book on the murder of Dr Martin Luther King, due to be released on April 27, 2010.

Sides makes it clear that to him there is no doubt James Earl Ray was King's assassin. From a Q&A section on the Amazon page:

Q: How did the idea for Hellhound on His Trail come to you? What made you decide to focus on James Earl Ray?

A: So many books have concentrated on either advancing or debunking conspiracy theories about the King assassination, but few have looked hard at James Earl Ray himself. Who was this guy? What were his habits, his movements, his motives? I found him to be profoundly screwed up, but screwed up in an absolutely fascinating way. He was a kind of empty vessel of the culture. He was drawn to so many fads and pop-trends of the late nineteen-sixties. He got a nose job, took dancing lessons, graduated from bar-tending school, got into hypnosis and weird self-help books, enrolled in a locksmithing course, even aspired to be a porn director. His personality had all these quirks and contradictions. He was supposedly stupid, but he somehow managed to escape from two maximum security prisons. Some claimed he wasn’t a racist, yet he worked for the Wallace Campaign, called King "Martin Lucifer Coon," tried to emigrate to Rhodesia to become a mercenary soldier, and eventually hired a Nazi lawyer to defend him. He lived in absolute filth and squalor, but kept his clothes fastidiously laundered. And in the end, ironically, that’s what caught him: A tiny identifying laundry tag stamped into the inseam of a pair of undershorts found near the scene of the King assassination.

and:

Q: The King assassination, like the JFK assassination, is rife with conspiracy theories. How did you deal with them?

A: At the outset of my research, I took very seriously the idea that there might have been a conspiracy. I read all the conspiracy books, examined every angle. The only problem with the conspiracy theories that are out there, I found, is that they invariably fail the most basic test: They raise more questions than they address, they create more problems than they solve. And they’re so monumentally complicated: The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, the Green Berets, President Johnson, the Memphis Police Department, the Memphis Fire Department, the Memphis Mayor’s Office, the Boy Scouts of America--everybody killed Martin Luther King! But as I got into it, it became clear that the evidence against James Earl Ray was overwhelming. He bought the rifle, the scope, the ammo, the binoculars. He checked into that rooming house three hours before the murder. He peeled out from the rooming house one minute after the murder, in the same getaway car described by eyewitnesses. He admitted to every one of these things. His only defense was that some other guy--a mysterious man he called Raoul--pulled the trigger. Well, there’s not a shred of evidence that Raoul ever existed. So in Hellhound, I take the clear position that Ray did it, but I leave many doors ajar as to the question of whether he had help, whether he was working in the hope of winning bounty money, whether members of his own family abetted him. When in doubt, I generally err on the side of Occam’s razor: The simplest explanation is usually the right one.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Hellhound-His-Trail-...l/dp/0385523920

From The Dallas Morning News, Sunday April 4, 2010:

Editor's note: On the 42nd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, best-selling author Hampton Sides reflects

on the impact the assassination had on his hometown of Memphis and the tragic stigma the city now shares with Dallas.

Decades after assassinations, Memphis and Dallas remain hostages of history, says Hampton Sides:

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Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

by Hampton Sides (Doubleday, April 2010)

Hampton Sides has authored a new book on the murder of Dr Martin Luther King, due to be released on April 27, 2010.

Sides makes it clear that to him there is no doubt James Earl Ray was King's assassin. From a Q&A section on the Amazon page:

Q: How did the idea for Hellhound on His Trail come to you? What made you decide to focus on James Earl Ray?

A: So many books have concentrated on either advancing or debunking conspiracy theories about the King assassination, but few have looked hard at James Earl Ray himself. Who was this guy? What were his habits, his movements, his motives? I found him to be profoundly screwed up, but screwed up in an absolutely fascinating way. He was a kind of empty vessel of the culture. He was drawn to so many fads and pop-trends of the late nineteen-sixties. He got a nose job, took dancing lessons, graduated from bar-tending school, got into hypnosis and weird self-help books, enrolled in a locksmithing course, even aspired to be a porn director. His personality had all these quirks and contradictions. He was supposedly stupid, but he somehow managed to escape from two maximum security prisons. Some claimed he wasn't a racist, yet he worked for the Wallace Campaign, called King "Martin Lucifer Coon," tried to emigrate to Rhodesia to become a mercenary soldier, and eventually hired a Nazi lawyer to defend him. He lived in absolute filth and squalor, but kept his clothes fastidiously laundered. And in the end, ironically, that's what caught him: A tiny identifying laundry tag stamped into the inseam of a pair of undershorts found near the scene of the King assassination.

and:

Q: The King assassination, like the JFK assassination, is rife with conspiracy theories. How did you deal with them?

A: At the outset of my research, I took very seriously the idea that there might have been a conspiracy. I read all the conspiracy books, examined every angle. The only problem with the conspiracy theories that are out there, I found, is that they invariably fail the most basic test: They raise more questions than they address, they create more problems than they solve. And they're so monumentally complicated: The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, the Green Berets, President Johnson, the Memphis Police Department, the Memphis Fire Department, the Memphis Mayor's Office, the Boy Scouts of America--everybody killed Martin Luther King! But as I got into it, it became clear that the evidence against James Earl Ray was overwhelming. He bought the rifle, the scope, the ammo, the binoculars. He checked into that rooming house three hours before the murder. He peeled out from the rooming house one minute after the murder, in the same getaway car described by eyewitnesses. He admitted to every one of these things. His only defense was that some other guy--a mysterious man he called Raoul--pulled the trigger. Well, there's not a shred of evidence that Raoul ever existed. So in Hellhound, I take the clear position that Ray did it, but I leave many doors ajar as to the question of whether he had help, whether he was working in the hope of winning bounty money, whether members of his own family abetted him. When in doubt, I generally err on the side of Occam's razor: The simplest explanation is usually the right one.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Hellhound-His-Trail-...l/dp/0385523920

From The Dallas Morning News, Sunday April 4, 2010:

Editor's note: On the 42nd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, best-selling author Hampton Sides reflects

on the impact the assassination had on his hometown of Memphis and the tragic stigma the city now shares with Dallas.

Decades after assassinations, Memphis and Dallas remain hostages of history, says Hampton Sides:

From the Army's After Action Report synopsis, it is clear that it was the Army, not Ray who was stalking Dr. King. I'm sure this will be covered in Larry Hancock and Stu Wexler's new book on the subject. I'm also sure they started out with an open mind and considered the possiblity that King was actually killed by Lone Nut JERay, but the truth eventually dawned on them.

BK

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I just bought this book and I plan to start it this week.

I haven't read any books about the MLK assassination, but I sure remember it well because I lived in Memphis at the time.

I am sure I will also pick up and read the Hancock and Wexler book that Bill refers to in his post.

I have a hard time believing that Ray pulled off the MLK hit on his own, but my supposition is largely uneducated at this point.

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