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


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Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring A Cold War Assassin to Justice by Fred Burton, John R. Bruning

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 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. Published to widespread praise, Chasing Shadows spins a gripping tale of the secret agents, double dealings, terrorists, and heroes he encounters as he chases leads around the globe in an effort to solve this decades-old murder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230339910
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/22/2012
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.84(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.74(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

The Long Pursuit
The Crime
The Lion of Hatzor
The Investigation Begins
Dvora's Quest
Conspiracy Theory
Rolling Thunder
Stealing the MiG-21
The Bear's Black Eye
The Fate of the Evidence
The Suspect List
Origins of Terror
The Birth of Black September
The Shadow War Begins
Unbridled Vengeance
Coming into Focus
The CIA's Involvement
Tracking the Killers

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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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