Blind Vengeance: The Roy Moody Mail Bomb Murders

Ray Jenkins, Author University of Georgia Press $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1906-3
Jenkins, an attorney and Pulitzer Prize-winning former syndicated columnist and editorial-page editor observed the South for 40 years, beginning as a journalist with Montgomery's Alabama Journal in 1959. His 25 years of ""first-hand observation of Alabama politics"" provide an authoritative backdrop for what is ostensibly an account of a series of bombings eight years ago. But in fact, Jenkins uses this as a springboard to consider Southern sociology, politics and the changing face of the South during decades of integration and racial conflicts. Shortly before Christmas 1989, mail bombs took the lives of a federal judge in Alabama and a Georgia civil rights attorney, and two other packages were intercepted en route to an NAACP office and a federal courthouse. Following federal, state and local investigations, small-time con man Roy Moody was arrested and convicted. Jenkins makes excellent use of court reports, newspaper files, interviews, the 3000-page trial transcript and a psychiatric profile that included 25 hours of videotaped interviews with Moody (not introduced at the trial) which enabled him to probe the racist mind of this killer who blamed society for his failures. Like Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song, the book benefits from memories of the woman closest to the central subject. Unfortunately Jenkins interrupts the narrative flow with digressive discourses, overlong background material and sidebar scene-settings. A chilling portrait of Moody eventually emerges, but some readers may abandon this book well before. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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