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Includes sections on how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, and a section analyzing the Book of Revelation. Doing this explores the context of Christ's life, and this format ends up producing a refreshing new look.
The radical nature of Christ's message comes out clearly, as the author here boils it down: don't worry about anything; disregard hypocrites; love your neighbor.
The anaylsis of the four gospel books is pretty standard. For a guy who, according to the back cover, is on a teaching gig at St. John the Divine cathedral in NYC (home of ultra-liberals like William Sloane Coffin), the author is remarkably Orthodox in his approach. Althouth he's a Presbyterian, he's in touch with urban ministries and younger people, all of which comes out here.
The anti-scholastic tone achieved by the cover and packaging may also be more authentically Christ-like than most people would think. The author leaves room in his writing for doubts about who Jesus was, or is, which is also appropriate for this medium.
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Vidor eventually set his findings aside, and after his death biographer Sidney D. Kirkpatrick uncovered his extensive notes on the Taylor case. The result is A CAST OF KILLERS, a book which purports to solve the case for once and for all. Although he writes with a somewhat superficial tone, Kirkpatrick spins out his story with considerable conviction. What emerges is an extremely distasteful portrait of greed. According to Kirkpatrick, the studios decided to protect themselves even to the extent of implicating innocent parties while the Los Angeles Police Department preferred to extort money from the killer instead of bringing the case to court. But more disturbing than this is the portrait Kirkpatrick paints a profoundly dysfunctional family, the head of which was dominated by a need for money, fame, and absolute control.
Ultimately there is no hard proof for Kirkpatrick's conclusions, but--and in spite of several errors that have crept into the work--he makes an extremely convincing case for their validity. While A CAST OF KILLERS is far too popular in content to satisfy students of the crime (described as Taylorologists), it is largely in line with current theory re this famous murder, and it makes for a fascinating read. Recommended.
In 1922 the murder of director William Desmond Taylor was so filled with scandel it ruined careers and nearly destroyed Hollywood. If the absolute truth had been known, it might have. King Vidor had been a part of this Hollywood in its formative years and planned to make his comeback film by telling the story of it. Kirkpatrick could have turned this into a pulp type expose but instead, and to his credit, takes a respectful and nostalgic tone, both for Vidor and a time gone by. He uses Vidor's notes and findings to let this murder mystery unfold just as it did for Vidor.
For every film buff with a fascination for old Hollywood this is a book you can't put down. It is juicy but never tawdry, Vidor sifting through the misinformation of Hollywood and the corruption of the police to slowly get a picture of the truth he himsef couldn't yet tell because some of the players were still alive. The homicide and the aftermath is filled with names like Mabel Normand, Alan Dwan, James Kirkwood, Gloria Swanson, Claire Windsor, and Charlette Shelby and her waif like daughter Mary Miles Minter, an early rival of Mary Pickford.
Vidor's reputation and the fact he had been a part of this Hollywood way back when gave him weight and would prompt many to open up and talk to Vidor in a way in which they would not have someone else. He would even get to look at police files that would contradict most of what was reported at the time, raising even more questions. As Vidor plays detective in order to write the screenplay that he hoped would put him back on top Kirkpatrick lets us see a man who was once a vital part of the film industry fighting to be remembered. During his investigation he would come into contact with old flame Coleen Moore, a lovely silent star with a fine career of her own. It was a happy coincidence and would force Vidor to make decisions affecting the rest of his life.
A Cast of Killers is a fun, fast read tinged with sadness, as Vidor somehow knew it would be. Before beginning, Vidor himself likened it to an old bottle of wine. If you love a good mystery, and or Hollywood, this is one you have to read.
'I realized it was vintage stuff-the rarest vintage of all: a murder that has never been solved. One opens such a bottle at his own peril.....'
King Vidor, 1967
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In The Man Who Died Twice, a 1970's Los Angeles Police detective travels back to 1922 Los Angeles, and inhabits the body of William Desmond Taylor, a Hollywood producer who was murdered in real-life Hollywood in February 1922. The LA detective, Ernie Carter, has the advantage of knowing lots of details about the case, from having read the police files, and just living in the Hollywood/LA area all his life. Carter, with Taylor's personality serving as a kind of alter ego, tries to prevent Taylor (and himself!) from being murdered.
Along the way, Taylor/Carter encounters many legendary Hollywood figures, including D.W. Griffith, William Randolph Hearst, John Barrymore, Mabel Normand, and Rudolf Valentino. It is sobering to read about the sad and/or untimely end of many of these stars, and to contemplate how little Hollywood has changed since, to wit Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, Tony Perkins, and many many others.
Peeples brings Hollywood in 1922 to vibrant life, transporting the reader to the silent era with great skill. He seemingly mentions all of the possible murderers, and keeps the reader guessing as to which one he will use as the actual shooter. In real life, the case was never solved, but Peeples' murderer is convincing.
An old science fiction story once had a time traveller in the age of dinosaurs walking along a special path, from which he could not stray. He could not pick flowers, kill any of the animals, or leave any evidence of his visit. If he did, all of the ensuing history of the world would change, subtly in the time of dinosaurs, massively in his own 20th century. I am reminded of that story when I read a book like this. I will leave it to you, if you read this book, to discover if Peeples adheres to the tenets of the SF story.
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