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Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice

Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice

4.4 11
by Fred Burton

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On a warm Saturday night in July 1973 in Bethesda Maryland, a gunman stepped out from behind a tree and fired five point-blank shots into Joe Alon, an unassuming Israeli Air Force pilot and family man. Alon's sixteen-year-old neighbor, Fred Burton, was deeply shocked by this crime that rocked his sleepy suburban neighborhood. As it turned out, Alon wasn't just a pilot


On a warm Saturday night in July 1973 in Bethesda Maryland, a gunman stepped out from behind a tree and fired five point-blank shots into Joe Alon, an unassuming Israeli Air Force pilot and family man. Alon's sixteen-year-old neighbor, Fred Burton, was deeply shocked by this crime that rocked his sleepy suburban neighborhood. As it turned out, Alon wasn't just a pilot—he was a high-ranking military official and with intelligence ties. The assassin was never found and the case was closed. In 2007, Fred Burton—who had since become a State Department counterterrorism special agent—reopened the case. Here, in Chasing Shadows, Burton spins a gripping tale of the secret agents, double dealings, terrorists and heroes he encounters he chases leads around the globe in an effort to solve this decades-old murder. From swirling dogfights over Egypt and Hanoi to gun battles on the streets of Beirut, this action-packed thriller looks in the dark heart of the Cold War to show power is uses, misused, and sold to the most convenient bidder.

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Chasing Shadows

A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice

By Fred Burton, John Bruning

Palgrave Macmillan

Copyright © 2011 Fred Burton
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-230-62055-1



Saturday, June 30, 1973

The summer of 1973 marked the first significant dividing line in my life. I was sixteen, about to start my junior year at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, and completely unprepared for the sudden dose of reality one episode of violence brought to my naive and limited view of the world.

Bethesda in the early 1970s was a safe haven, a place where nothing bad ever happened. Our neighbors in the sleepy, blue-collar bedroom community were the kind of people who built America and kept it great: factory workers, construction foremen, low-level government employees, cops, and firefighters. With brawn, reliability, and a can-do attitude, we were throw-backs to a different era. As the 1970s waned, ours became a dying breed.

My dad started out shoveling coal in West Virginia. After World War II, he tried his hand at building cars in Detroit. When that did not work out, he moved the family to Bethesda and opened up a gas station on the corner of Arlington Road and Bradley Boulevard. The station is still there, a lone monument to an era long since consigned to yellowing newspapers and fading memories. In the intervening years, Bethesda has been Yuppified; it is the place where the D.C. gentry go to spawn.

My dad's Chevron station was only two blocks from our house. From the late 1960s throughout the 1970s, it was a sort of community center for my group of friends. In the mornings that summer, I would throw on a pair of jeans, an old white T-shirt, and a pair of tennis shoes, then run over to the station to start my day. I worked side by side with my old man, pumping gas, changing oil, and cleaning windshields as my pals dropped by to chat during the lulls in the business. Gas was twenty cents a gallon then, and nobody had heard of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The gas station stood on a busy corner with a supermarket and hardware store across the street. In some ways, my father's gas station was the nexus for our little neighborhood. It was the one place everyone stopped at on their way to wherever their days took them. Some of Dad's customers included Spiro Agnew and other notable figures around D.C.

I often wonder if Joe Alon passed through our service islands. Had I ever filled his tank? I probably had, but I did not know him then. His '71 Galaxie 500 would have looked like anyone else's eight-cylinder sedan.

Looking back, that July ended up being the last good summer for us in Bethesda. The Yom Kippur War kicked off at the end of the summer. America's support of Israel during the war outraged the Arab world and triggered the OPEC oil embargo. In the midst of the oil crunch, the economy began a long downhill slide at same time Watergate unraveled the Nixon presidency.

I was about as politically aware as your average sixteen-year-old. The Vietnam War was a distant event I knew only through Walter Cronkite's broadcasts. The Apollo space program had ended the previous December, and there was not much else to hold a teenager's interest in the nightly WTOP radio news broadcasts I used to listen to in my dad's GMC truck. From my limited vantage point, it seemed we stood on the brink of a return to normalcy after all the turmoil the 1960s had brought. I was too young to understand that there was no going back. And I was too naive to recognize the brewing storm on the horizon.

That June 30 I spent the day pumping gas. At five, sunburned and oil-stained, Dad cut me loose, and I ran back home for a quick shower and a change of clothes. Cleaned up, I jumped in our 1965 GMC truck with an eight-track player and rolled out to meet my pals at The Tasty Diner, a fixture in Bethesda to this day.

If the gas station was the nexus for our neighborhood, Tasty's was the local hangout for high schoolers. It looked like an old Pullman railroad car stuck up on blocks in a weedy field. Inside, the double row of high-backed booths sported little jukeboxes arrayed on each table. We spent hours there, girl watching, listening to music, and discussing our one real passion: baseball.

Johnny Cash sang "Folsom Prison Blues" on the jukebox that evening when I arrived. The guys made room for me, and the waitress brought us burgers and Cokes. We decided to hit a movie later that night. The big summer release, American Graffiti, was a month away, but the trailers every week made us almost frantic to see it. The cars were too cool to miss.

* * *

Just south of my father's gas station was a maze of residential roads. In the middle of this little enclave stretched Trent Street. Shortly after sunset, while we kids went about our summer routine, Joe Alon and his wife, Dvora, returned to their Trent Street home after a day and evening of shopping. Their oldest daughter, Dalia, who was a senior with us at B-CC High, had been gone all day on a first date with a boy she had met at the Roy Rogers where she worked as a waitress. The Alons' other two daughters, Yola, fourteen, and Rachel, six, had stayed at home all day. When the Alons returned that evening, they found Yola and Rachel curled up in the living room watching television.

Joe and Dvora had been invited to a party earlier that week, and the day before Joe had confirmed his attendance. Now, at nine-thirty that evening, Joe put on a pair of brown slacks, a white shirt and tie with a gold tie clasp, and a red sport coat. His wife slipped into a cocktail dress. Joe escorted Dvora out to the Ford Galaxie 500 sedan sitting in the driveway. Before they left, someone switched on the porch lights, bathing the front yard in their amber glow. The garage door stood open, which was not unusual. Crime was nonexistent back then in Bethesda. Hardly anyone bothered to lock their doors. It was a Saturday night, and a party waited up on East Kirk Street, a few miles away. Even though he should have been watching his back, he felt that security was not an issue.

Not long after Joe and his wife drove away for the party, a shadow crossed the front yard. A man, moving with speed and stealth, stole across the driveway and slipped behind some bushes that flanked the garage. The figure waited with discipline and patience. Inside the house, their girls fell asleep in front of the television.

Three hours passed. Dalia and her date, Robert Dempsey, drove up Trent Street in his light blue VW Bug. He walked her to the porch, said good night, and left without going inside. Dalia locked the front door behind her once she was inside the house. Her arrival woke up Rachel and Yola, who shut off the TV and went to bed. Within minutes, the house was totally dark. Only the porch lights remained on.

Outside, the figure remained still and hidden behind the bushes near the garage. The three girls inside were at their most vulnerable, tucked away in their beds, back door unlocked, garage wide open. But the figure was not interested in the girls. He continued his vigil from the bushes, eyes scanning for the return of the family's Ford sedan.

At twelve-thirty, Joe and Dvora left the party on East Kirk Street. Joe insisted on driving, although he had been drinking throughout the evening. He slid behind the wheel while Dvora snuggled close to him on the bench seat. Cautiously, he puttered home to the one-story rambler on Trent Street. Just before 1:00 A.M., the green Ford rolled to a stop on the driveway in front of the garage. The porch lights no longer blazed, and when Joe shut off the sedan's headlights, darkness cloaked the yard. Unconcerned, Dvora popped out of the passenger's side of the car and headed for the front door without waiting for her husband. Joe, who had left his red sport coat in the backseat, opened his door, stepped out, then leaned inside to retrieve the coat. With his back to the yard, bent over awkwardly, Joe never saw the figure slip from bushes and walk toward him.

Dvora had just opened the front door when she heard the first shot. Glancing back, she saw her husband stagger by the car. She ran inside as four more shots rang out. The daughters, roused by the noise, poured into the living room. Dvora went through the kitchen, opened the door to the garage, and flicked on the light, hoping to see her husband. She could not see him. Up the street, a car's headlights shined to life, catching Dvora's attention. It rolled past the Alon house, and she could see it was a white, full-size sedan. It drove off down Trent Street and vanished into the night. She had never seen that car in the neighborhood before.

Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. The garage light had illuminated the driveway. If the gunman was still out there, it would make Joe an easier target. Dvora herself was an easy target now, standing in the doorway at the back of the garage. Quickly, she flicked the light off, closed the door, and dialed the Montgomery County Police.

The operator wanted so much information that Dvora was overwhelmed. She handed the phone to Yola, grabbed some towels, and told Dalia to follow her. Going through the front door, they ran out into the night in search of their husband and father.

They found Joe on his back in the grass beside the driveway. Blood was everywhere. Dvora and Dalia fell to their knees and went to work, desperately trying to staunch the bleeding. But there were too many wounds. Joe tried to speak, but no words came out. Dvora held his head while Dalia placed the towels across his chest. An ambulance from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad roared up Trent Street. The paramedics arrived to find both mother and daughter splattered with blood, Joe's body still in Dvora's arms.

Traumatized and reeling, Dvora rode in the ambulance with Joe's body as it drove to Suburban Hospital. Back at the Trent Street house, the Montgomery County Police descended on the crime scene, searching for clues. Somewhere in the night, a killer remained at large.

* * *

The next morning, I awoke to the news that there had been a murder in our neighborhood. The Washington Post, which ran a front-page story, gave only the basics of the crime. I read the article over breakfast, stunned that one of my schoolmates could be touched by such raw violence. Was it a random street crime? Was it something more? If it was something more, then who was Joe Alon and why would anyone want him dead? I think many people in Bethesda were asking those same questions around their breakfast tables that morning.

Twenty-four hours after the murder, Dvora and her daughters boarded Air Force Two (part of the presidential air fleet used to back up Air Force One) and flew to Israel. No one saw two of the daughters again until 2010, when we met at the house with an Israeli TV crew to discuss the murder.




Joseph Alon lived in an average American neighborhood in an average-size house and drove a nondescript American sedan. His children attended the local public schools, just like most everyone else in Bethesda at that time. At first glance, there seemed to be no reason behind Joe's murder. It seemed random and disturbingly out of place for our community.

The fact was, the image Joe portrayed was carefully cultivated and concealed his true identity, which was anything but ordinary.

For starters, Joe Alon was not an American, and his real name was not Joe Alon.

* * *

In the 1920s, Joe's Zionist parents emigrated from Brno, in what was then Czechoslovakia, to Palestine, where they settled on a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley near Mount Gilboa. When Joseph was born in 1929, his last name was Placzek. Two years later, his family was driven off the kibbutz by ongoing Arab-Jewish violence and returned to Brno. The Placzeks were a well-known and respected Jewish family there and no doubt were welcomed back. Joe's father, Friedrich, had a brother named Georg who was a noted physicist. Prior to World War II, Georg emigrated to the United States, where he taught at Princeton and later joined the Manhattan Project.

In 1939, just before the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, Joe's father sent his ten-year-old son to live in England. He had the foresight to see what fate held for his country and his people. Joe got out just in time, though his brother and sister remained in Brno.

In March of that year, the Germans swept into Prague, the Czech capital. Eight days after the invasion, German soldiers murdered Friedrich Placzek. Two years later, the Nazis rounded up most of the Czech Jews—Joe's mother and sister among them—and moved them into the Terezin Ghetto, which had been established inside a series of eighteenth-century fortresses. The ghetto later became known as Theresienstadt concentration camp. The inmates, who ultimately numbered almost 150,000, were forced to serve as slave laborers for the Third Reich, manufacturing coffins, sorting confiscated Jewish clothing that was shipped to Germans who had been bombed out of their homes by the Royal Air Force, and splitting locally mined mica. The conditions were cramped and squalid, leading to outbreaks of typhus and other diseases. Malnutrition claimed thousands of lives, as the Germans kept the Jews on starvation rations or worse. Torture and random murders were part of everyday life at Terezin.

In June 1944, the Germans allowed the International Red Cross to visit the camp. In preparation for that visit, Terezin received a propaganda makeover designed to convince the Red Cross that conditions were not only humane but luxurious. Faux stores were created within the fortress and stocked liberally with imported goods, food, and consumer items. Washrooms were constructed, and the Jewish inmates were given better clothing and told to behave. The window-dressing paid off. The Red Cross reported there were no problems at Theresienstadt. A propaganda movie was made, using a Jewish director and Jewish inmates for actors, that showed how well and humanely the camp functioned.

A few months later, the Germans shipped two-thirds of the Theresienstadt inmates to Auschwitz, including Joe's mother and sister, where they were all murdered. The director and all of the actors who took part in the propaganda film were among those slain.

By the time the Soviet Red Army reached Theresienstadt in May 1945, only 17,250 starving and disease-wracked Jews remained alive. Of the 15,000 children sent to the ghetto and camp, fewer than 100 lived to see the Soviets liberate the camp.

Joe Placzek survived the war, thanks to his father's foresight and decision to send him abroad. In England, Joe watched the war unfold. He studied in English schools, learned the language, and thrived despite his separation from his family. His parents, brother, and sister were never far from his mind. After the war ended, he traveled back to Brno, where he discovered that the Nazis had virtually annihilated his community and family.

He learned first of his father's death, then that his mother and sister had survived the hell of the Terezin Ghetto only to be gassed at Auschwitz, most likely in a mass extermination in the fall of 1944. Only his brother, his uncle Georg the Princeton professor, and another uncle survived the war.

* * *

At first, Joe tried to settle down in Brno and learn a trade. He decided to become a jeweler, but that did not last. As he reached manhood, Europe's surviving Jews fled the Old World for the hope of a new nation in Palestine. Fighting between these Jews and the Palestinian Arabs raged throughout 1946 and 1947. The British found themselves caught in the middle, alternating between trying to suppress the Jewish resistance and mediating between the Jews and Arabs. Neither approach worked.

After all their suffering in Europe, the Jews wanted to return to their original homeland—they wanted their own nation again. The last remnants of the Jewish people saw this as their only hope. Hitler had almost wiped them out. Now they would make their stand and fight for independence.

The resistance, called the Haganah (the "Defense"), needed weapons, and lots of them. Wealthy Jewish donors, including many Americans, funneled money to the Palestinian Jews so that they could purchase machine guns, rifles, and ammunition. Most nations refused to sell arms to the Jews, but the Czech government obliged. Starting in June 1947, the Czechs sold the Haganah some 35,000 leftover German rifles and 5,500 machine guns. The Jewish underground in Europe smuggled these weapons past the British blockade of Palestine to get them to the desperate resistance fighters.

The weapon sales proved to be the springboard for further Czech support. Male and female Jews eager to join the fight made their way to Czechoslovakia, where they formed an infantry brigade. The Czechs armed the unit and provided extensive training. The effort solidified the relationship between Israel and Czechoslovakia and led to even more military support in the months to come.

In 1948, with most of his family dead and his people in peril once again, Joe Placzek abandoned his peaceful jeweler's life and joined the Jewish underground in Czechoslovakia. That spring, the Jews declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The pronouncement sent shock waves across the world and triggered a war in the Middle East. Attacked by Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, the nascent Jewish state faced extinction. More than anything, the Israelis needed an air force to protect its cities and military bases. The Haganah had flown some light aircraft—basically Piper Cubs equipped with hand grenades and rifles—but the Israelis lacked modern combat aircraft and the pilots to fly them.


Excerpted from Chasing Shadows by Fred Burton, John Bruning. Copyright © 2011 Fred Burton. Excerpted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Fred Burton is one of the world's foremost experts on security, terrorists, and terrorist organizations. He was deputy chief of the Counterterrorism Division of the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service and is currently a vice president at Stratfor, a global intelligence agency known as the "shadow CIA." He is the author of Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent and has appeared on the Daily Show, Glenn Beck and Anderson Cooper 360, and on Fox, ABC, and CBS radio. He has also written for the Los Angeles Times, among others. He lives in Austin, TX.
John Bruning is a military historian and the co-author of House to House. He lives in Independence, Oregon.

FRED BURTON is Vice President of Intelligence and Counterterrorism at Stratfor, the largest global private intelligence company, and is one of the world’s foremost experts on security, terrorists and terrorist organizations.

Mr. Burton is a former State Department counter terrorism deputy chief and DSS Agent who orchestrated the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing. Mr. Burton also conducted the debriefings of the U.S. hostages held in Lebanon; investigated the plane crash that killed President Zia of Pakistan, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, and a U.S. Army general. Burton was instrumental in the development of the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program to target terrorists like Yousef and Osama Bin Laden; investigated the assassination of Israeli President Rabin; the killing of Rabbi Meir Kahane; the al-Qaeda New York City bombing plots; the Libyan-backed terrorist attacks on diplomats in Sana’a and Khartoum; and countless other terrorist attacks and threats around the globe.

Burton is the author of a bestselling memoir, Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent, and Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent’s Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice (Palgrave, 2011). 

John R. Bruning is the author or co-author of eight books, including House to House by David Bellavia.

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Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
This fast-paced, non-fiction account of the long unsolved murder of a former war hero turned Israeli diplomat, Joe Alon, (aka Jospeh Placzek) is filled with intrigue, deception and conspiracy theories. I was reading several other books at the same time, as I am wont to do, but once I started this one, the others languished on the table as this story consumed me and I concentrated on it, to the exclusion of all else. It is a case of the truth being stranger than fiction. Can he have been a double agent? Was there a cover up of his murder or was it truly unsolvable at the time? There are many mysteries dealt with in this short book, as we are taken from Brno, Czechoslovakia to Israel and finally to the United States. All of the intervening wars, including the history of Israel and the Middle East conflict, are outlined and somewhat explored in the process. It is a clear and concise explanation that is easily understood and absorbed. Beginning with the murder of Joseph Alon, in 1973, a tale of intrigue which spans decades is born. Tracing back through the history of this unique man and his family, we are taken from the tragedy of the Holocaust to Israel's war for independence and right up to the present day. We learn what made him successful and what motivated him to do the things he did. His courage was often tested and his piloting skills in the Israeli Air Force were legend. He was a major force in Israel's defense forces. He loomed large, once discovered, in the Palestinian terror network. Did politics, international relations and clandestine operations prevent the details of his murder from being explored and solved in a timely fashion? Why was his family kept in the dark about the circumstances surrounding his death? This is a well written book whose pages turn themselves. You will not be bored as you trace the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, through the life of this unusual hero or was he??? There are so many variables that one wonders if the whole story behind his murder can ever truly be resolved? The conjecture surrounding the secrets and ploys of various governments and their enemies create plots that rival those of a modern day spy novel. The subterfuge surrounding the secret deals between different organizations is often unfathomable. In the end, you will turn the final page with more knowledge about the event than you had before but you will still wonder about what to believe regarding the mysterious death of Joseph Alon. It is a true life tale of espionage.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
Terrorism, murder, revenge, an eye for an eye, so very little separates one from the other. Small nuances that define our lives. Thin lines crossed by individuals and governments. Who is to say what is right? A statement often attributed to Winston Churchill states, history is written by the victors. As a young man of sixteen, Fred Burton's life was changed forever by the news of a murder in a quiet suburb of Bethesda, Maryland in 1973. The mystery of the unsolved shooting would haunt him as his life followed a career in law enforcement and security analysis. The victim was Colonel Joe Alon, an Israeli Air Force pilot assigned to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. On an otherwise quiet July night, he was shot, execution style, in front of the home where he lived with his wife and two daughters. The murder would go unsolved by the local police and the FBI. Why was this man murdered in the U.S.? Was it a random shooting or was it tied to the history of this Israeli pilot who had fought in the Israeli-Palestinian wars while protecting his country. Reopening the cold case on the killing, Fred Burton traces Joe Alon's life through the formation and defense of the Israeli state, as Alon plays a leading role in the development of the Israeli Air Force. The trail leads across the years through the Middle East to Europe and the United States. The story of Joe Alon is a story of individuals and governments, mystery and intrigue, spies and terrorists, obfuscation and cover-up on many levels, ultimately leading the author to an inescapable conclusion and a moral conundrum. Book provided for review by the well read folks at Palgrave/Macmillan.
FBO1940 More than 1 year ago
Since Col Alon was an IAF Mirage III commander in the Six Day War, did he personally participate in the deliberate Mirage III assault on the USS Liberty on June 8, day one of the war? See pages 78-81, and the Timeline. Since Robert McNamara and President Johnson recalled 6th Fleet aircraft upon knowing that it was Israel, not Egypt, that mercilessly was attacking the USS Liberty, some sixteen hours lapsed before the ship could be rescued. Some 34 seamen were killed and 171 were wounded, and the ship was full of holes. Ultimately, no one or nation was held accountable. Had Aloni been involved, surely the US government may have had some misgivings toward Col Aloni. So would I.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
Chas­ing Shad­ows: A Spe­cial Agent's Life­long Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assas­sin to Jus­tice by Fred Bur­ton is a non-fiction book which tells about the author’s life­long inves­ti­ga­tion into a polit­i­cal mur­der of one of his neigh­bors. The prod­uct of the inves­ti­ga­tion is a mes­mer­iz­ing book of an inves­ti­ga­tion of a lifetime. July of 1973 in Bethesda, MD Joseph Alon was shot to death. Mr. Alon was a high rank­ing Israeli Air Force pilot, a fam­ily man and a diplo­matic attaché. Fred Bur­ton, the Alons 16 year old neigh­bor, was shocked by this hor­ren­dous crime in his sleepy neighborhood. As he grew up, Fred Bur­ton, now a coun­tert­er­ror­ism spe­cial agent, reopened the case and found more than he bar­gained for try­ing to solve this almost for­got­ten murder. Chas­ing Shad­ows by Fred Bur­ton is an amaz­ingly fast pace, excit­ing and inter­est­ing book. Mr. Bur­ton writes a com­pelling account of a four decade old unsolved mur­der which involves Israeli diplo­mats, Amer­i­can and Israeli intel­li­gence, Black Sep­tem­ber, the PLO, CIA, FBI, PFLP, the USAF and more. At the time of the mur­der Mr. Bur­ton was 16, as he grew up, entered the gray world of intel­li­gence and law enforce­ment, the crime never left his mind. When he started to inves­ti­gate he found out some­thing strange: it seemed that none of these enti­ties want the mur­der to be solved! That includes the Israeli gov­ern­ment who has prided itself on aveng­ing the mur­der of its cit­i­zens regard­less of bor­ders and local or inter­na­tional laws. This very com­pelling account is not only about the mur­der, but a small les­son in his­tory to put every­thing in con­text. The strug­gle of the US Air force against the MiG fight­ers, the birth of the Israeli Air force, as well as the mutu­ally ben­e­fi­cial rela­tion­ship between the two coun­tries, as well as sec­tions devoted to how Mid­dle East­ern ter­ror­ism oper­ated in the 70s. In my opin­ion, the mys­tery took a back seat to the fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory les­son, but that’s not to say it is not mes­mer­iz­ing as well. Due to the subject’s diplo­matic stature, many of the sus­pects can­not be named and were dif­fi­cult to track lead­ing only to dead ends or false leads. How­ever, once in a while, through sheer deter­mi­na­tion and per­sis­tence, Mr. Bur­ton slowly made progress. The nar­ra­tive weaves the pain of the Alon fam­ily who are being blocked by the Israeli gov­ern­ment and his own frus­tra­tion of run­ning into brick walls at every turn. Mr. Bur­ton is a won­der­ful sto­ry­teller who weaves inter­na­tional intrigue and com­pli­cated rela­tion­ships between peo­ple, orga­ni­za­tions and coun­tries in a very read­able format.
qstewart More than 1 year ago
When Fred Burton was 16 a murder occurred in his quiet community that was never solved. Burton had a difficult time accepting the fact that something like this could occur in his neighborhood in 1973. Nothing like it had occurred before and he had a difficult time accepting that it could happen and never be solved. It was one of the factors that led Burton into the field of law enforcement and he never forgot that morning when he first heard of the murder. In each stop in his career as he advance through various levels of law enforcement he kept that murder in mind and was always open to any facts or stories that might come his way as a police officer. His final position, before retirement, was with the Diplomatic Security Service in the State Department. As deputy chief of the Counterterrorism Division of the DDS he made contacts and heard things that would enable his private investigation of the 1973 killing to go on once he retired. After retiring he made contact with two daughters of the victim who were still looking for answers to their father’s death. Burton uses sources that he made contact with before his retirement, the first police officer on the scene that night, and others to attempt to track down the person of persons that committed the murder in 1973. Of course he started with the victim, the Military Attaché to the Israeli Embassy. This leads Burton to give us a brief history of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians that started at the Olympic Games of 1972. Was the Military Attaché killed as part of this “Shadow War” or was he victim of a robbery gone badly. Chasing Shadows is an excellent book tracing the conflict that possibly led to the death on a quiet street in the USA. It is also the story of one man’s search for justice for an invasion in his quiet community that as a teenager he did not understand. He needed to bring closure in his own mind to an occurrence that he did not understand. An excellent book and an easy and enjoyable read. It is fast paced and keeps one’s attention. Highly recommended.
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