Megan Harlan
December 20, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin

Current Status
In Season
Mark Singer
Politics and Current Events, Nonfiction

We gave it a B-

Was Dan Quayle once a pothead? That’s the question dangled throughout this biography of Brett Kimberlin, a convicted bomber who created a small sensation during Quayle’s 1988 vice presidential campaign by claiming he sold marijuana to Quayle in the 1970s. Kimberlin’s revelation — which came while he was in prison for drug smuggling — intrigued journalists, but most dropped the story when he offered no proof. Kimberlin himself claims the bombshell led to his becoming a ”political prisoner” — his ”shoo-in” parole was denied. Essentially, Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin revises Mark Singer’s 1992 article for The New Yorker on the saga, in which he accepted Kimberlin’s version of events too readily. Having since decided that his subject was, in fact, lying, he’s returned to the tale and fleshed out Kimberlin’s manipulative personality. Even if Singer doesn’t answer all the questions, it’s still a fascinating story, and it’s interesting to see how a hoodlum conned such a respected journalist. A lawyer’s caveat to Singer — ”You realize you’re getting into the murkiest, most amorphous mass of story in the world” — applies equally to readers. B-

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