The Death Merchant by Joseph C. Goulden with Alexander W. Raffio (1984, Hardc...

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The Death Merchant
CIA Intrigue, International Terrorism, Multimillion Dollar Weapons Deals -- the Violent and Shadowy World That Saw the Rise and Fall of Edwin P. Wilson, Master Dealer in Illicit Arms
by Joseph C. Goulden with Alexander W. Raffio
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Copyright 1984
Book Club Edition

In the recent annals of international crime, Edwin P. Wilson stands alone.  Of all rogue agents in the shadowy world of former CIA operatives, of foreign mercenaries and confidence men, no one rose higher and fell further.  Today, following three trials that established his guilt over a small spectrum of his complex dealings, Wilson is in federal prison for what is likely to be the rest of his days.  He left behind him a host of ruined lives and the crumbling remnants of an illicit empire that earned him enormous profits in the six years of the "Wilson Organization."

There has been much speculation about Wilson in the world press, but little has been established as to just how this onetime CIA "company man" used his Washington connections to further his illegal enterprises, or their astonishing extent and nature, or the remarkable chain of events that finally brought Wilson to justice.  All is now revealed in this riveting, extraordinarily detailed book.

From his early years growing up on an Idaho farm as the son of a cold and demanding father, through college, military service in Korea, and a tour in the merchant marine, Wilson was an enigmatic loner.  A physically impressive man, he was capable of great charm and persuasion, attributes that allowed him to influence profitable deals for himself while working for the CIA and, later, under special assignment for the even more clandestine Task Force 157 (an agency of Naval Intelligence that Wilson actually hoped to build into his own CIA).  How Wilson was able to continue the businesses he established under government cover even after he was found out and dismissed from federal employment is one of this book's more remarkable findings.  Joining forces with Frank Terpil, a notorious criminal free lance still at large, Wilson was soon in business abroad as a major supplier of Libyian strongman Muamar Quaddafi.  Establishing ties with Western arms dealersm conscripting his associates from the retired rolls of U.S. intelligence agencies and the ranks of former Special Forces mercenaries, Wilson flourished from his base in Tripoli.  As closely related in one astonishing episode after another, he was able to smuggle arms and explosives out of the United States to European terrorist organizations on an unprecedented scale; he trained units of the Libyian armed forces and manufactured bombs for Libyian agents; and he accepted contracts for the murder of Quaddafi's enemies, leading to one incident responsible for the break in diplomatic relations between the United States and Libya.  With the cooperation of many of Wilson's closest colleagues, as well as those law enforcement officials who finally managed to close the net around Wilson, Joseph Goulden has been able to reconstruct an unprecedented saga of technological spying, terrorism, and arms brokering.  And in his portrait of Edwin P. Wilson, he has given us an amoral being almost larger than life, a man of such power lust and viciousness that even from his prison cell he endeavored to kill not only potential witnesses against him, but also his prosecutors and, in a final apotheosis of rage, his wife of twenty-seven years.  Compelling from first page to last, The Death Merchant plunges us into the real world of spy-thriller fiction.  It is an unforgettable and galvanic reading experience.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover.  Pages may be tanning and discolored from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.  Dust cover and dust cover flaps are tanning from age and show a bit of edge wear.

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    • ISBN B01F9QH296
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