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OVER THERE

FROM THE BRONX TO BAGHDAD: TWO MONTHS IN THE LIFE OF A RELUCTANT REPORTER

Of the war itself we catch only smoky, sand-blown glimpses. But Feuer’s first book helps us understand how the image of war...

An innocent abroad: New York Times reporter Feuer’s engaging memoir of a brief sojourn in Iraq.

Feuer dons the Gray Lady’s “This Reporter” persona to become the narrator known as “T.R.,” and though the result of referring to himself in the third person is at first a little strange, he never makes the mistake of taking himself too seriously. Quite the reverse, for the most part: our Candide first turns up in these pages as a cub reporter who, though lazy and unambitious, at least is honest. Thanks to the vetting of a brilliant editor, T.R./Feuer reluctantly finds himself on a short list of reporters to be allowed into Iraq, a cause for celebration for the career-minded; says one colleague, “You’re on the fucking list? Dude, that’s great! Beers in Baghdad!” Given that his last story had been a profile of a Bronx resident who had emerged as the largest packager of tours to Italy, Feuer finds himself mystified by the assignment, but he nonetheless stocks up on the requisite safari gear and reporter tech kit in the evident hope of at least looking something like a war correspondent. He finds no shortage of things to write about, and as he gradually sheds his naive affect, he turns in some memorable portraits: there are the boozy death-and-glory hounds in the press corps; a Jordanian woman who diligently makes time in a world of graft to catch up with Sex and the City DVDs; Iraqi civilians whose lives have been overturned by the invasion; and, especially, American combat troops whose own innocence seems at odds with a certain trigger-happiness. His self-portrait is memorable, too, as Feuer recounts how his “eyes were opened to the methods used to make the news. He hated thinking any thought that might inspire cynicism, and would hardly wish to bitch . . . still he was surprised.”

Of the war itself we catch only smoky, sand-blown glimpses. But Feuer’s first book helps us understand how the image of war is crafted, and for that alone it is welcome.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58243-327-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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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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