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THE MIGHTY MOO

THE USS COWPENS AND HER EPIC WORLD WAR II JOURNEY FROM JINX SHIP TO THE NAVY’S FIRST CARRIER INTO TOKYO BAY

Satisfying military history.

Big aircraft carriers dominate histories of the Pacific war to the near exclusion of small ones; this is a rare and entertaining exception.

Early on in his debut book, Canestaro, intelligence officer for the National Intelligence Council, reminds readers that by the end of 1942, four of the six big carriers in the Pacific had been sunk and weren’t completely replaced until 1944. As a stopgap, Franklin Roosevelt, against objections from the Navy bureaucracy, ordered nine light cruisers under construction hastily rebuilt to host aircraft. Smaller, ungainly, overcrowded, with a dangerously narrow, shorter flight deck and holding one-third as many planes, these light carriers turned out to be successful workhorses and critical supporting players in winning the war. Several of their big brothers rest in museums, but all light carriers were discarded and forgotten after 1945. Canestaro tells the story of the Cowpens, named after a celebrated Revolutionary War victory. Commissioned in May 1943, it fought in most of the battles without achieving any spectacular glory, but doing the job for which it was built. The author offers a detailed, bottom-up account of more than two years of campaigning, with pauses for interesting minibiographies of sailors, airmen, and commanding officers as well as the traditional epilogue describing their postwar lives and the mechanics of the ship, which was mothballed in 1946 and sold for scrap in 1960. Military buffs will know what to expect, but general readers, accustomed to military histories emphasizing iconic battles, may squirm at the reality of day-to-day naval warfare. Training and landing accidents, in addition to bad luck, killed as many men as battle. Air-to-sea rescue capabilities were primitive, so innumerable pilots who landed safely at sea were never heard from again. Incompetence was no less prominent than heroism, but heroism was not in short supply.

Satisfying military history.

Pub Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9781538742716

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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.

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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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