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A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite [NOOK Book]

Overview

The bomb appeared early one morning in an upstairs office of Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino near Lake Tahoe, an enigmatic box covered in a bewildering array of switches. A neatly typed letter explained that the box contained 1,000 pounds of dynamite. It was the largest improvised explosive device in American history—and its creator promised to explain how to remove it safely if the casino delivered $3 million by helicopter to a remote landing site in the mountains. “Do not try to move, disarm, or enter the bomb,” ...
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A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite

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Overview

The bomb appeared early one morning in an upstairs office of Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino near Lake Tahoe, an enigmatic box covered in a bewildering array of switches. A neatly typed letter explained that the box contained 1,000 pounds of dynamite. It was the largest improvised explosive device in American history—and its creator promised to explain how to remove it safely if the casino delivered $3 million by helicopter to a remote landing site in the mountains. “Do not try to move, disarm, or enter the bomb,” the letter warned. “It will explode.”

The bomb maker was one Janos “Big John” Birges, a Hungarian political refugee who had worked his way up from nothing to become a successful entrepreneur in Fresno, California—only to see his life unraveled in middle age by divorce, cancer, and gambling debts. By 1980, he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Harvey’s. And he had roped his two teenage sons—who were as eager to please their father as they were terrified of him—into a plot to get the money back.

But the bomb he planted in the casino that August wasn’t just an extortion scheme. It was a brilliant feat of engineering—an intricate and deadly puzzle that Birges hoped would prove once and for all just how badly the world had underestimated him. In A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite, Adam Higginbotham draws from interviews with federal agents and Birges’s co-conspirators—as well as never-before-released FBI records—to tell the story of the race to stop one of history’s most bizarre extortion plots. By turns action-packed and darkly hilarious, A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite is an engrossing tale of genius at its most deranged.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940149669035
  • Publisher: The Atavist
  • Publication date: 7/31/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 149,799
  • File size: 182 KB

Meet the Author

Adam Higginbotham began his career in magazines and newspapers in London, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Face and a contributing editor at The Sunday Telegraph. Based in New York for the last ten years, he has written for GQ, Men’s Journal, The New Yorker, and Wired.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2014

    Good BUT

    only 79 pages.

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  • Posted September 13, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I was attracted to this book because of my recollections of the

    I was attracted to this book because of my recollections of the bombing of Harvey's Casino back in 1980.  It was such an unusual event at the time that it caught everyone's attention.  Although I knew some details through the media, this was the first time I had the chance to learn more of the facts about the crime.  The book is short, at about 90 plus pages, but gets to the point.  It presents a somewhat concise but informative picture of the bombing and the extortion plot behind it.  I enjoyed it and found it to be a pretty decent read.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone either with an interest in the incident or who likes to read true crime stories.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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