Alex Goodall

Shooting Stars

Age of Assassins: A History of Conspiracy and Political Violence, 1865–1981


Faber & Faber 726pp £25 order from our bookshop

Poor, dull Switzerland! The historic refuge of political conspirators and fleeing assassins across the years, it has also been, as Michael Newton points out in his sweeping new history of assassination, a constant target of abuse from the outlaws who found safety behind its borders. For all its hospitality, the land of cuckoo clocks offered little to the political killer: what they craved was not safety but a piece of the action.

At first it seems implausible that one could write a coherent history of assassinations – which, after all, are hardly confined to a particular political group, time, context or tradition. Newton introduces us to nihilists, anarchists, revolutionary

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter