Books: A Terrorist for Our Times

THE DEATH MERCHANT by Joseph C. Goulden

Simon & Schuster; 455 pages; $17.95

In 1982, when former CIA Agent Edwin Wilson was awaiting trial for having masterminded the biggest arms-smuggling operation in U.S. history, he spent his time plotting the assassination of two federal prosecutors and six potential witnesses against him. For that crime Wilson was sentenced to 25 years in prison. In addition, he received 32 years for smuggling explosives and weapons to Libya.

Because of a technicality, Wilson was spared prosecution for the murder contract he had put out on his hated former wife, the mother of his two children. "Take...

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