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SHADOW NETWORK

MEDIA, MONEY, AND THE SECRET HUB OF THE RADICAL RIGHT

Though partisan, the text nonetheless raises significant red flags that should alarm everyone who believes in democracy.

The background machinations—digital, financial, religious, and otherwise—that have enabled the American far right to ascend and wield increasing political power that is disproportionate to their numbers.

Nelson (International and Public Affairs/Columbia Univ.; Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris, 2017, etc.), a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, spent years researching this account of the 1981 formation and burgeoning influence of the Council for National Policy, an ultraconservative (and once-secretive) group that opposes abortion and gay marriage and that advances the cause of fundamentalist Christianity in all aspects of American life. The author’s approach is chronological, analytical, and admonitory, as she fears the effects on our democracy of the deep divisions in our electorate, especially in the digital age. Nelson highlights some key moments in our history: the arrival of the Puritans, the Democrats’ loss of the once-solid South (occasioned by their support of civil rights legislation), and the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and their successors of both parties. She describes the enormous power on public opinion of cable news and of the pervasive digital platforms. Most of all, the author follows the money, from the Koch brothers to the DeVos family and others (she does not neglect the left-wing money from George Soros). Countless millions have flowed from those sources to political organizations, individuals, and campaigns. Nelson observes that even though Barack Obama won two presidential elections, the opposition to him and his policies (especially health care) swelled among the CNP and their affiliates. She also deals substantially with Donald Trump, the moral compromises evangelicals employed to justify their support of him, and the purges of moderate Republicans from positions of authority. She recognizes, as well, how the internal battles of Democrats have been self-defeating.

Though partisan, the text nonetheless raises significant red flags that should alarm everyone who believes in democracy.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63557-319-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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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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