Simple Book, Complex Figure

Simple Book, Complex Figure

The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hoffa, by Walter Sheridan. New York: Saturday Review Press. 554 pp.

As head of the Kennedy “get Hoffa” squad, Walter Sheridan was instrumental in putting Hoffa into prison. His book is a warning about the threat Hoffa, in Sheridan’s view, still poses to society.

The first part of the book, largely a rehash of other writings, deals with the McClellan Committee investigation and allegations of Teamster corruption, emphasizing connections between the union and the Mafia. The second part takes up Kennedy’s crusade against Hoffa and its eventual culmination in two convictions —for jury-tampering and pension-fund fraud. These chapters are more interesting than the earlier ones especially when Sheridan writes about his own personal involvement. The third part describes Hoffa’s efforts to get the convictions overturned, resulting, finally, in a conditional commutation by President Nixon. Hoffa now is out of jail, but prohibited from engaging in union activities until 1980.