Next book

Into the Carpathians

A JOURNEY THROUGH THE HEART AND HISTORY OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE. PART 1: THE EASTERN MOUNTAINS

An engaging, evocative work, despite its split personality.

Sparks (Dreaming of Wolves, 2010) recalls trekking through the Carpathian Mountains in this memoir and history of Eastern Europe.

An expedition called “The Way of the Wolf” offers a 2,000-mile journey through the Carpathians from Romania to Germany. During the trek, a group of wildlife professionals and eco-volunteers take an inventory of wolves and other animals that inhabit the range, track their movements, and collect scat samples for analysis. It’s the brainchild of Peter Sürth, the chief wolf tracker and technician at the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project, whom the author met while volunteering for the organization in Transylvania (as described in his previous book). Sparks’ latest offering takes a similar tack, recounting the day-to-day experiences of the expedition’s support team, describing the sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscape, and offering razor-sharp vignettes of Slavic village life. These observations often have the roughness of diary entries, and herein lies their candid charm. During an evening stroll, for example, the author overhears “the riffs of Take Me Home, Country Roads booming from a neighboring house”; he notes wryly, “John Denver’s voice occasionally managed to transcend multi-gendered, Romanian-accented shouts, hoots, hollers, and screams that accompanied the familiar and comforting melody. Take me home indeed.” However, the author’s attempts to combine a travelogue with a walking history of the territory are less successful. The research is detailed, accurate, and supported by a wealth of secondary sources, and it brings to life the rich history of the Carpathians and its people. Yet the diary sections become swamped by long, unwieldy historical digressions. As a result, there’s a sense that there are two books on offer here, each with its own merits—one, a charmingly disheveled travel narrative; the other, a straight-laced historical thesis— and the author struggles but ultimately fails to make a seamless connection between the two. Still, this book, punctuated by stunning color photography, will attract those with an interest in wildlife and Eastern Europe.

An engaging, evocative work, despite its split personality.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Koehler Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2015

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

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

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • 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

Next book

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

Close Quickview