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In Hoffa's Shadow

A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth
Narrated by: Stephen Graybill
Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (92 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

As a young man, Jack Goldsmith revered his stepfather, longtime Jimmy Hoffa associate Chuckie O’Brien. But as he grew older and pursued a career in law and government, he came to doubt and distance himself from the man long suspected by the FBI of perpetrating Hoffa’s disappearance on behalf of the mob. It was only years later, when Goldsmith was serving as assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and questioning its misuse of surveillance and other powers, that he began to reconsider his stepfather, and to understand Hoffa’s true legacy. 

In Hoffa’s Shadow tells the moving story of how Goldsmith reunited with the stepfather he’d disowned and then set out to unravel one of the 20th century’s most persistent mysteries and Chuckie’s role in it. Along the way, Goldsmith explores Hoffa’s rise and fall and why the golden age of blue-collar America came to an end, while also casting new light on the century-old surveillance state, the architects of Hoffa’s disappearance, and the heartrending complexities of love and loyalty.

©2019 Jack Goldsmith (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Reader has a good voice, but

He often puts emphasis on the wrong part of the sentences. This is akin to a computer reading it. There is no
consciousness of meaning. So I had to concentrate and mentally correct for this.
It is an interesting story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story, not the best reader

I was a young child in the Detroit area when Hoffa disappeared, and I follow Goldsmith’s work on Lawfare, so I looked forward to this book. As expected the story (both the news aspect and the personal side) was deeply compelling, but I was repeatedly distracted by the reader’s mispronunciations of Michigan places and names. I also think the emotional component might have been stronger if the author had read it himself. I still highly recommend the book, though, and the details of government ineptitude and malfeasance are timely reminders of the consequences of neglecting principles for the sake of short term objectives.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Remarkable and moving!

Memoir and mystery full of rare grace and truth. Unlike any book I’ve ever read. Thank you Jack and Chuckie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great read

Just finished book. Really great read. nice job of capturing the humanity and grittiness of conversations with Chuckie, LCN and the teamsters as well as the legal sophistication of labor, investigative abuse, and DOJ. Robert Kennedy looks bad. Thank you Jack Goldsmith.

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great story

I really enjoyed every minute of the story. It was well written and a great performance to boot.

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A story that has it all

Growing up in the 1950's with photos of Hoffa in the Saturday Evening Post wearing his trademark white socks with business clothes, I was fascinated by his fame due in part to the hearings where Bobby Kennedy threw his weight around. Hoffa's disappearance in 1975 was predictable given his mob ties, and we are all fascinated by people who disappear and never resurface. But this story has more--a stepson who distanced himself from a loving stepfather and became a Federal prosecutor. More than I ever suspected about our government's wiretapping of the Mafia. Bobby Kennedy's obsession with convicting Hoffa of a crime, any crime. What may have been the sale of Hoffa's pardon by the Nixon administration for $1M in cash, perhaps the same cash used to pay off the Watergate burglars. Legality of the Stellar Wind surveillance program as described by James Comey in 2018. In Hoffa's Shadow is definitely a "Best of 2019" for me.

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Great History of a controversial story.

As a 17 year Teamster I enjoy the history of my union. Good, bad or otherwise it's a history and getting a close look from a man that was there thru it all is very important.