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Distributed for Unicorn Publishing Group

On Assassinations

In this revealing look at the history of assassinations, Kenneth Baker examines over one hundred political and religious murders and murder attempts, from the murder of Julius Caesar to the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the raid of Osama bin Laden's compound. Assassins hope to change the world, but rarely succeed: Baker suggests that the 1914 assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo was the only one that changed the course of history. Other assassinations, whether of monarchs, politicians, dissidents, clerics, journalists, or others, at best give history only a glancing blow.

Baker concludes that, in Macbeth’s words, an assassination “is a poisoned chalice.” In a wide-ranging and informative history, Baker also explores the evolution of assassinations. Since 1945, fewer and fewer assassins work alone. Rather, assassinations are increasingly more likely to be carried out by political and religious terrorists or by the security services of certain states to eliminate dissidents. Russia, Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other governments have utilized targeted killings when they consider their security to be under threat. An eye-opening exploration of the history of killing, On Assassinations shows us that the days of individual assassinations has ended, and a new era of mass murders and state-sponsored killings has begun.

272 pages | 70 color plates, 30 halftones | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4


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"[Baker] has put together this compendium of more than a hundred political murders, from Julius Caesar to Gandhi, from Lincoln to Kennedy and Trotsky to Osama bin Laden. What emerges is a potpourri of intrigue and accident, miscalculation and just plain evil. In many cases, luck played a large part: a chance turn of events without which a murder plot would never have succeeded. . . . Baker, whose long political career included spells as Environment Secretary, Education Secretary and Home Secretary before taking him to the House of Lords, succinctly summarises each assassination and searches for a common thread between them."

Daily Mail (UK)

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