Boom! American Bombings, 1876-1990

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We are delighted to announce a return engagement by LAVA favorite Ed Nordskog, Senior Arson Investigator for the LASD and author of “Torchered” Minds: Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists and the newly-released Fire Raisers, Freaks and Fiends: Obsessive Arsonists in the California Foothills.

Join Ed in the Cal State Los Angeles teaching crime lab, as he presents an expansive and illuminating overview of a poorly understood aspect of American true crime lore: the history of political and organized crime bombings.

Ed’s presentation will cover six distinct periods and themes:

  • 1876-1906 – Labor Movement bombings, such as the Haymarket Affair of 1886, the inspiration for May Day demonstrations.
  • 1920-41 – Communist or Anarchist bombings, perpetrated by recent US immigrants who had been involved with these political movements in Europe.
  • 1950s – Civil RIghts-era bombings, dynamite and fire bombings of blacks churches and Jewish temples which supported the Civil Rights movement. Targets also included homes of individuals. A vast majority of these bombings remain unsolved.
  • 1970s – Left Wing radical bombings; thousands of incidents perpetrated by dozens of individual groups, including small splinter organizations.
  • 1980s – Right Wing radical bombings, reflecting the opposite end of the political spectrum from the bombings of the 1970s, but exhibiting similar modes of attack.
  • 20th Century – Organized Crime bombings, which are unique and bear no relation to the other types of incident.

By the end of Ed’s presentation, attendees will have gained familiarity with the different eras and motivations of American bombers, the tactics and types of explosive devices used, and the individuals and institutions targeted by the various groups.

Copies of Ed Nordskog’s books will be available for purchase during the program.