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This is the story of the murder of Holly Maddux. She had been a girlfriend of guru Ira Einhorn. Her body was found in a trunk in his apartment, after she had been missing and he swore he did not know where she was. Of course, he also swore he did not slay her even though she was found in her apartment. This is also the story of capturing Einhorn who fled the US after he got out of jail on e book was well written and amazing to read. It included the modernize as to Einhorn's captjure, trial and life imprisonment. I do recommend this book. It gives a history of the times when the murder happened and how people (including Holly) were attracted to this dirty, arrogant man.
THE UNICORN'S SECRET by Steven Levy is a professionally written and extraordinarily researched real crime book. The main players are Ira Einhorn, known as the Unicorn, and his long-term girl mate Holly Maddux, a girl from a mid-sized city in Texas, whose upbringing was 180 degrees from Ira's. In my opinion the best real crime includes no melodrama, no asides or attempts on the part of the author to create himself part of the story, no filler and no repetition. This book meets all of those criteria and more, particularly in that it is no rush to print, Levy being interested in writing a quality book rather than turning out a load of weak crap to capitalize quickly on the hot case of the e story revolves around Einhorn, the hippie guru - as proclaimed by the press and by himself - of Philadelphia in the 60's, and an advocate of Fresh Age 70s self-absorption, whose interests turned to paranormal physics: the study of the power of the mind along with interests in mind-control and UFOs, among others.Einhorn was a kind of genius, able to quickly read and retain vast amounts of material on a widely eclectic dozens of subjects. He was an organizer/promoter of huge counterculture happenings such as Philadelphia's Earth Day celebration in the 60's. He was widely respected as and entertaining speaker; he was a facilitator of positive interaction between the hippie/underground political movements and the establishment and actually worked on kind of a contract basis for Bell Telephone, among others, for a long while. He was in demand as a college lecturer, basically teaching "Ira". When asked to describe him, people just said, "He's Ira", a unique, friendly, and prominent individual.But Ira was also overbearing, self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, physically dirty, promiscuous, and though he'd never have admitted it, overtly misogynistic. He was known to be verbally abusive and generally condescending to the women who got involved with a's considered opinion was that he was smarter and "more enlightened" than all but a few of his contemporaries. Therefore, in his world, a lover who would object to Ira's "open relationship" concepts (though only begin for Ira), an acquaintance who complained about his smell; an observer who confronted Ira about his need to always be the center of attention; or a listener who, unlike many, refused to be intimidated by Ira's pronouncements, which were often no more than Fresh Age B.S., and questioned Ira about his blather - these people would be dismissed by Ira as being too unenlightened, to understand the genius, and therefore the inherent entitlement of the Ira the magnificent.While he was in a lot of ways gifted, he comes across as a basically unpleasant personality, something he was probably aware of himself, because though he preached hippie love and social enlightenment, he divulged nothing of his private emotions. He was in a lot of ways a heavy Levy writes it, "Some people had heard rumors that (Ira) was violent to women. A lot of more had witnessed him verbally abusing women he was involved with. Almost anyone could see that he was unmistakably predatory in his approach to women he wanted to create love to. And one would have to be blind to miss the fact that behind his disarming friendliness lurked an ego that did not operate in sync with the egalitarian spirit of the times. Charisma was his tool, but also his weapon."One day in 1977, Holly Maddux disappeared, with Ira's explanations being inconsistent versions along the line of, "She went out for a package of cigarettes and never came back."This line of explanation, along with Ira's respected reputation in a widely varied spectrum of psychological and academic endeavors, collapsed when two years later Holly's body was found hidden in a steamer trunk on Ira's back porch. Ira's statement to the police detective on the stage was, "You found what you found." And his defense became that he'd had no idea that the body was there and that it must have been a plot by those in the globe who were threatened by his cutting edge interests. And, Ira being Ira, an awesome number of gullible people seemed to believe it.I won't reveal any more about the plot here, but I will say that 20 years later there were further developments in the Unicorn's case which are necessarily not in the book, but which are easily found on the e amazingly detailed study of Einhorn's larger than life strengths and massively dishonest weaknesses will appeal to any reader who appreciates quality is is not only absolutely top-of-the-line real crime, but also an in-depth look at the 60s and 70s counterculture that I think would appeal to a more general readership.A MUST read for fans of the genre.
Levy is an wonderful writer. Makes slow sections interesting, but eventually story drags at netheless not to be missed by real crime fans. Rarely does one encounter writing of this caliber in the genre. Case is fascinating too. Google for updates on the crazy assassin who took off for 17 years before capture and will rot in prison. Currently 75 and in failing health. Karma is a @#$%!.
The Ira Einhorn/ Holly Maddux murder story. This is a beautiful interesting and compelling real crime because the main characters are quite interesting. Ira Einhorn could have succeeded in a lot of professions but chose to pursue a "career" as a hippie activist involved in activities such as the first "Earth Day" event. Einhorn, a smooth talker, managed to ingratiate himself not only with the counterculture but also with numerous businessmen who saw him as a useful conduit for info on shop trends and creative thought. (Isn't it nice that we have the Internet to search those nuggets now, so people don't have to rely on the likes of Einhorn and his packages of media clippings?) Holly Maddux, the victim, actually was a fairly self-sufficient woman who had traveled the globe on her own and held down a physically intensive job in a Buddhist bakery. When she finally got tired of Einhorn's ego and assorted shenanigans and began a relationship with another man, Einhorn couldn't take it. Soon her body was found in a trunk in his closet and he had the gall to claim the government framed him for the murder, then jump bail and flee to Europe with the support of his rich friends. Fun fact: Einhorn's attorney at this point was none other than Arlen Specter. Although not reflected in the edition I read, Einhorn was eventually extradited (after the case was featured on shows like "America's Most Wanted" for years), tried and is now serving a life sentence.I realize the 70s were a prime time for mistrust of the government and wacky thinking in general, but it's hard to see how people could be so naive as to buy into Einhorn's act. Indeed, some of the silly ideas set forth in the book created me wish to laugh out loud though murder is hardly a humorous subject. I gave the book only four stars because it's not really clear what the "Secret" is until you obtain almost to the end of the book - you think it's the body in the trunk, but it's not - and also because, while you do obtain some sense of dynamics of Einhorn's and Holly's relationship from things like diary entries and a few friends, I really didn't obtain a amazing sense of why these people were together as long as they were. Holly could easily do a lot better for herself and it's hard to believe the portrait painted of her as somewhat insecure because it contrasts so much with her other life experiences described in the book. Did she obtain a kick out of being the friend of a seemingly strong man? Did he blubber and tell her he required her? It just wasn't really clear. I would have also liked to hear in detail from a few more of Einhorn's other women.
This book has every detail you could ever wish on Ira Einhorn and the murder of Holly Maddux. Given the evidence the author presents, it's difficult to argue Einhorn's innocence.But the book is fair-minded. Holly Maddux is not portrayed as a totally naive innocent. In a lot of ways, she is shown as a selfish decadent kid of the late 1960s (regardless of the carefully crafted squeaky-clean, small-town cheerleader photo that has dominated the tv specials on her murder). But in reality, she was a shiny apple that was rotted inside; a person whose actions showed an arrogant disdain for the family values with which she was raised...You wonder what was going on in Holly's head. Einhorn is shown as a grimy, immoral person who rarely bathed, lived in filth, and sponged off of anyone who would listen to his nonsense. (It's ironically fitting that Einhorn was a founder of Earth Day!!)It's also proper to note that Holly repeatedly returned to Ira over the years, despite the objections of a lot of caring people in her sphere. She probably enjoyed his celebrity. Was Ira truly manipulating her? Not according to this book.
Ira Einhorn was a kid of the Age of Aquarius. He was not only a child, though, he was an instigator, planner, creator of that weird era. He became leader of a social movement and no story better illustrates the power of such media-driven movements. First of all, they have the ability to create ordinary people interpret the globe in terms that differ from reality. Thus, we are subjected to everyday litanies of the poor environment while the US (again) tops the UN list of nations with the cleanest water and safest e other power of social movements is the manner in which all sorts of crimes are permitted for the "good of the movement". Ira was a showman who not only caught the leading fads and trends but made them. Thus he joined Fresh Age idiocy (UFO's, ESP, conspiracies at every corner) with ecology where he was the instigator of the preposterous "Earth Day", a celebration that has now become a financially successful cottage industry. Add to that radical politics, drugs and sex and one has the recipe for a disaster. Repeatedly he outwitted politicians who attempted to money in on the recent craze. Through sheer showmanship and continual media self-promotion he established himself as the man around ound this time enter one Holly Madux, former high school cheerleader from Texas and susceptible to his a lot of charms. Five years later she "disappears". Skip forward and her body is found in Ira's apt, he is arrested and with the support of Arlen Specter (R-PA) he is released on a $40,000 bond and skips the country. He resurfaces in Ireland only to disappear again. Finally, in 1997 he was caught in France, still proclaiming his iends felt he had deserted "the Cause" though he is fondly remembered for his power as an organizer, facilitator and power broker - perhaps his real calling. His personal life was, of course, much various from his public persona and apparently involved cruelty toward his lovers. In his recent interviews one almost gets the sense of entitlement for commission of a crime due to his past actions. A sad, touching, horrifying, eye-opener of a book.
Hard to believe that I was about 5 years old in a suburb of Philadelphia when Holly Maddux's body was found in a trunk in Ira Einhorn's apartment . . . even harder to believe is that he managed to escape and has been living in France for all these years. This book is fabulous . . . I was totally engrossed in it from page 1. Being from the Philadelphia area, I was somewhat familiar with the case, but reading this book opened up so much more to me about Holly, her family, and this monster, Ira Einhorn. He was a small-town nobody, the founder of Earth Day who thought the globe revolved around him. What a shame that Holly got involved with him and could have been so naive and easily fooled. The pictures are disturbing -- she was such a attractive girl, and Ira such a fat, disgusting, ragged-looking oaf. It does not seem to create sense. Then again, it shows how manipulative and sneaky Ira really was.Even though I knew how the book was going to end, I actually found myself applauding Holly as she began to explore her strengths and pull away from Ira and resolutely decide to remove herself from his life. What if she had been able to do that? How unbelievable (for everyone) if that had happened . . . but Ira would not allow anyone leave him. He considered Holly to be his possession, and was not about to allow anyone obtain away from him so easily. It amazes me that he was able to escape detection for so long, and that his mates and acquaintances actually trusted and believed his stories . . . even after Holly's body was found. How does one explain that? A body is found in your apartment and you expect everyone to believe you had nothing to do with it? That there was a conspiracy versus Ira Einhorn? Obtain real! Ira was a nobody -- no one would waste their time conspiring versus him. The book was fascinating and frightening at the same time. Much better than the TV film about the case (which, I admit, sparked my interest and convinced me to buy this book). I recommend it to anyone who is at all intrigued by the case, or anyone who is a fan of the true-crime genre. It is a page-turner, a tale that will sicken and sadden you all at once. Unfortunately, it is a story without a resolution, since Einhorn is still in France and has not been brought to justice -- and that will create you seethe with anger.
This is a gripping story, created all the more tragic because Einhorn remains free in France. It paints the picture of why liberal activists are so often not benevolent, but selfish, sometimes psychopathic. People with large egos like to pat themselves on the back, which is what fuels their activism: selfishness NOT selflessness is what so often fuels the public liberal. Einhorn is a (very) extreme example of that. Sometimes the scum, and not the cream, rises to the top (as Einhorn did for a time). France should be ashamed of themselves for harboring him. To read more about psychopaths (of which Einhorn almost certainly is) read the nonfiction WITHOUT CONSCIENCE. Reading that book will support you spot real evil before it happens. Maybe Holly would be alive today if she'd had that book.
Reviewers below think UNICORN'S SECRET was too tedious and didn't obtain to the point quickly enough. I disagree. The book is as much about the 60's as it is about Einhorn and Maddux. You need this background to understand the characters, especially Einhorn. You learn Einhorn's will to power actually played a more substantial role in his politics than any altruistic or ideological motivations.Einhorn was addicted to the leadership role, and allow politics define who he was in a method that truly twisted his personality. We see this over and over again, even today, in such movements as the Christian Coalition, and Leonora Fulani's "social therapy."UNICORN'S SECRET, along with David Harris' DREAMS DIE HARD (about another tragic murder of a 60's radical) support more fully define the decade for history.
I have no doubt that the material contained in this book is as factual as the writer portrays. I did search it difficult to hold up with the changes in time, setting and circumstances of the characters. Perhaps the writer feels that this is a method of sustaining the suspense, but I found it distracting. Overall, I was interested in this man who was recently brought back to the US to stand trial for the murder of his girlfriend. I did learn a lot about him and that is amazing background for what will inevitably be Court TV material soon. It might have been helpful to the reader to have a psychiatrist's view of Holly and why she did not leave Ira when she was obviouly drawn to another man. I almost gave up on this book before reading the "secret" revealed in the latest chapters. Amazing acc of Ira Einhorn who was evil before he killed Holly.