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ON MANY A BLOODY FIELD

FOUR YEARS IN THE IRON BRIGADE

An immensely affecting evocation of the military experience during the Civil War, which tracks a small band of Union soldiers over the entire course of the belligerency. Drawing on personal papers, archival material, and allied sources, veteran Civil War historian Gaff (Brave Men's Tears, not reviewed) offers a start-to-finish account of those who served in Company B of the 19th Indiana, a regiment that along with other all-volunteer outfits from Michigan and Wisconsin comprised the so- called Iron Brigade. Recruited as the Richmond City Greys shortly after Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, the unit went into action in the summer of 1862, at Brawner Farm and the second battle of Bull Run. As an integral part of a storied legion in the Army of the Potomac, it subsequently campaigned (with considerable distinction and appalling losses from disease as well as rebel muskets) at South Mountain, Antietam, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Laurel Hill, and Weldon Railroad (a gateway to the South's capital). In addition to providing meticulous reconstructions of the many battles in which the Hoosiers fought, the author recounts how they relieved the tedium of winter camps with bad whiskey, baseball, foraging, and games of chance. Gaff also details the adverse reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation of troops who had rallied around the flag to quell an insurrection, not to free black slaves. Covered as well are the ways in which Washington induced veterans to remain in the ranks once their three-year enlistments were up, the unhappy lot of POWs, the persistent problem of desertion, the political games played by general officers, the paperwork snafus that seem to afflict any military organization larger than a squad, and the informal ceasefires often arranged by Northern and Southern pickets. American history on a human scale, and an estimable close-up contribution to a genre overcrowded with big-picture assessments. (25 photos, five maps, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-253-33063-7

Page Count: 618

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996

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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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