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PARIS

A SHORT HISTORY

A well-informed but too-terse portrait of Paris’ colorful history.

A British historian summarizes the history of one of the world’s great cities.

In the latest installment of the publisher’s Short History series, prolific author Black offers a quick rundown of the major political and cultural events that have made Paris one of the most visited and romanticized cities. He covers a lot of ground, from the city’s earliest days, when Caesar’s deputy defeated the Parisii in 52 B.C. and put the city under Roman control; to medieval times, when Charlemagne was crowned in 768 but “spent most of his life on campaign, notably against the Saxons”; to the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, the building of Versailles in the 17th, the “great flourishing of creativity” by authors and musicians in the 1920s, and the massive projects—high-speed train service, the Louvre’s pyramid entrance—begun under François Mitterrand in the late 20th century. Black’s volume, while clearly erudite, is pretty much a list of major historical events, construction projects, and so on, with little or no elaboration. The one exception is the more in-depth chapter on the French Revolution. Readers seeking an executive summary of Parisian history—punctuated by wonderful old maps and inserts on lighter topics, including the Montgolfier brothers’ pioneering flight in a hot-air balloon and the growth of fast-food chains that showed “not all Parisians are unwilling to spend their money on ultra-processed burgers and fried chicken”—may find it useful and entertaining. The author also offers some memorable oddities, such as the story of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris. Around 250 A.D., “during the persecution of Christians,” Emperor Decius “allegedly” had him beheaded at Montmartre: “It was said that he picked up his decapitated head and walked for some distance, preaching as he went.”

A well-informed but too-terse portrait of Paris’ colorful history.

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9780500027080

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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