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Assume Nothing: Encounters with Assassins, Spies, Presidents, and Would-Be Masters of the Universe by Edward Jay Epstein

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Curiosity led Edward Epstein to investigate some of the greatest political mysteries of our time, such as the JFK assassination in Dallas, the Vatican banking scandal in Rome, and the diamond cartel in South Africa. Seeking more information, he often found himself a fly on the wall at the highest reaches of the establishment, observing how presidents, tycoons, bankers, and media moguls secretly greased the wheels of power. This memoir recounts his life as a pursuer of lost truths.

Some accuse Epstein of being a conspiracist, but that is incorrect. He is a puzzle solver. Instead of accepting the received wisdom, he searches for the missing pieces of the picture, such as the autopsy photographs of President John F. Kennedy that were kept from the investigation conducted by the Warren Commission. Finding suppressed or overlooked evidence may result in overturning an established narrative, as happened with the publication of Inquest, Epstein's book about the official probe into the JFK assassination. But that is very different from looking for a conspiracy.

Sometimes, Epstein's work has in fact uncovered a deep conspiracy, as with the world diamond cartel. Other times, it has discredited belief in a conspiracy, as when he delved into the murders of numerous Black Panthers. After his findings were published in the New Yorker, newspapers including the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times issued editorial apologies for their own reporting on the murders, which had suggested that an FBI conspiracy was behind them.

Epstein's primary interest has never been to advance an agenda, but rather to spot gaps in the conventional narrative and fill them in. Assume Nothing is the story of a lifelong quest for missing puzzle pieces, and also a story of self-actualization.

About the Author
Edward Jay Epstein was born in 1935 in New York City. He received his BA at Cornell University, his PhD at Harvard University, and taught political science at MIT and UCLA, where he was Regent Professor of Government. He was a staff writer for the New Yorker and a columnist for Manhattan, Inc and Slate. Viking Press published his undergraduate thesis under the title Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth in 1966. His PhD thesis, which was excerpted in the New Yorker, was published by Random House as News from Nowhere: Television and the News. Dossier, his biography of Armand Hammer, also excerpted in the New Yorker, won the Financial Times/Booz-Allen-Hamilton award as both the best biography and the best business book. He has published 18 books and lives in New York City.


"What's seriously amazing is to get into the mind of one of the world's best investigative journalists. The Warren Commission chapters are utterly riveting, and one marvels at the way Epstein insinuates his way into getting so many important scoops. Assume Nothing should be taught in every journalism school."

-Tina Brown, former editor of the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Newsweek

"Edward Jay Epstein's autobiography Assume Nothing serves up one engaging chapter after another on the personalities he has met, befriended, dated, or investigated over the course of his career as academic, author, and reporter. The cast of characters that moved through Epstein's life is head-spinning-Vladimir Nabokov, Barbara Streisand, James Angleton, Allan Bloom, Pat Moynihan, Earl Warren, Hannah Arendt, and Donald Trump, to name a few. Assume Nothing is not only an entertaining tale of the writer's life but also a personal chronicle of an era."

-James Piereson, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America's Postwar Political Order

"With seamless access to some of the key players of our time, Edward Jay Epstein helped define the great age of journalism. His memoir Assume Nothing puts to shame the all-too-frequent practice of deferring to a standard narrative. Ever since he exploded the illusion that the Warren Commission had done a thorough investigation of the John F. Kennedy assassination-which he accomplished while still a senior at Cornell in 1960-Epstein has brilliantly challenged some of the most wrong-headed and tenacious myths of our credulous era. Epstein is a national treasure."

-Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury

"Assume Nothing is an astonishing, delightful, and unique memoir by investigative icon Edward Jay Epstein. His unmatched investigations have taken him into the worlds of espionage, diamonds, cartels, and Hollywood, and he now reveals his own secrets of how he got his jaw-dropping scoops."

-Shelby Coffey, former editor of the Los Angeles Times

"Edward Jay Epstein is the man who knew everybody-from Vladimir Nabokov to Richard Nixon. His extraordinary memoir is the cavalcade of our era."

-Sidney Blumenthal, former aide to President Bill Clinton

Book Information
ISBN 9781641772945
Author Edward Jay Epstein
Format Hardback
Page Count 392
Imprint Encounter Books,USA
Publisher Encounter Books,USA


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