Book Review: Requiem for a Kingfish

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Huey Long, Carl Weiss, Arthur Vidrine
  • Pages : 8 (2783 words )
  • Download(s) : 151
  • Published : April 6, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
A review of, Requiem for a Kingfish: the strange and unexplained death of Huey Long by Ed Reed. In “Requiem for a Kingfish: the strange and unexplained death of Huey Long”, Ed Reed gives the reader a thought provoking account of this murder which has been clouded in mystery ever since that fateful night in Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1935. Reflecting the chaos surrounding Long’s death, the fractured account jumps around in time and location, Reed anchors it with crystalline prose and the driving mystery; how really did Huey Long die? A question which, it is fair to say Reed feels has not been properly addressed in the over fifty years which has passed between Long’s death and the publishing of this book. There are a number of reasons why this question has never been answered to the satisfaction of Reed. Firstly, Long’s hospital records were sealed and never released or analyzed. Then there is the fact that there was no official autopsy performed on the body of Huey Long and all the medical professionals participating in the surgery refused all interviews. Also investigations by the city and state police have disappeared along with the weapon allegedly used by Weiss. These are the key pieces of information needed for solving the puzzle that is the death of Huey Long. In order to correctly answer this question Reed interviewed a vast number of people and reviewed thousands of documents connected with the case. Also, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, Reed was able to obtain and examine some 2,000 FBI files which deal with Long and Louisiana. Through painstaking efforts he was also able to gain access to the hospital records that give valuable knowledge into last hours of Huey Longs life. But perhaps most interesting of all Reed was capable of breaking the silence of those present at the surgery, giving us precious eyewitness account of what really happened in the operating room. This new information obtained by Reed gives the reader an excellent opportunity to answer questions which largely remained unanswered since 1935 and make the book an even more compelling read. Reed begins this book by first giving the reader valuable insight into the feelings Huey Long roused in the citizen’s of Louisiana as he explains, “There was no middle ground. You were for him or against him”. Although he admits that his family were very much pro-long with his mother always feeling that “she had a personal friend in Washington” and Reed himself in his youth even getting in a fight with a young boy his age over Long policy’s, we do not see this Long bias carried throughout the book. Reed for the most part of the book presents us with just the facts as he gained through his detailed research. As Reed clearly states, “I do not attempt to judge him in this manuscript. I have tried to tell the truth as I see it.” With all this research completed Reed is able to shed new light on some important aspects which before now remained shrouded in darkness. One of these important aspects that Reed discusses is the idea that the assassination Huey Long could have been a conspiracy, carried out by those closest to Long. It can be said that nothing capture’s the imagination of the reader like a conspiracy theory and with the Huey’s assassination it is fair to say it is not without foundation. Firstly, there is the assassin, Dr Carl Weiss who is like no other assassin we have seen throughout history, a successful, well respected doctor, with a loving wife and family around him and seemingly everything to live for. Reed through his detailed research on the life of Weiss and the character of Long illustrates to the reader how ironic it is that such a highly respected and much liked physician is implicated as the shooter of Long, whose behavior leading up to his death is that of “a deranged and unbalanced man” Next there is the strange way those closest to Long conducted themselves after his death, some of whom were eye witnesses to his...
tracking img