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THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, 1918-1956

AN EXPERIMENT IN LITERARY INVESTIGATION (VOLUME ONE)

We have lived through so very much, and almost none of it has been called by its right name." Westerners, of course, already possess mammoth accounts of the Soviet prison system — the "Gulag Archipelago" of interrogation centers, transit camps, slave labor installations, etc. Here it is returned in a voice both different and familiar, a sarcastic, exclamatory, poetic, hyper-Russian voice. Among all the charts of convoys, arrest quotas, grotesque trials and torture, several things stand out. One is Solzhenitsyn's portraits of his fellow prisoners. Another is an account, adumbrated in his novels, of the regime's persecution of Soviet POW's during and after World War II. Finally there is Solzhenitsyn's now thumping anti-Bolshevism. Stalin, he thinks, simply followed "the beaten track"; already in Lenin's time the horrors were planted, he insists, viewing the Civil War and the early 1920's self-righteously rather than historically. The book praises the mildness of the czarist prison system, again disregarding the context. And Solzhenitsyn's moving sympathy for the Russian soldiers who defected to Vlasov's anti-Soviet army is mingled with hints of political approval which have already engendered intricate, sizzling debate. This volume is only one third of the whole work; judgment on the shape and color of Solzhenitsyn's anti-Communism must await the remainder. Meanwhile, "I have come almost to love that monstrous world" of the Archipelago, he says — it was more rial than ordinary secular life.

Pub Date: June 24, 1974

ISBN: 0813332893

Page Count: 676

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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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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