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THE DEVIL’S DISCIPLES

THE LIVES AND TIMES OF HITLER’S INNER CIRCLE

Each was effective in his own way, and Read’s narrative gives Hitler’s lieutenants their due for their roles in making the...

Hermann Göring to Heinrich Himmler, April 1945: “Herr Reich Marshal . . . if anything should prevent you from succeeding the Führer—say you are eliminated—can I have the position?”

Adolf Hitler may have been close to the definitive self-made man, but he did not come into or maintain his power single-handedly. Far from it: without the early support of power-hungry men such as Ernst Röhm and Rudolf Hess, he might never have maneuvered his way from obscurity to Germany’s chancellorship. In this very long but unflagging study, English historian Read sharpens the focus on these lieutenants such that Hitler sometimes seems absent from the scene altogether. “Each member of Hitler’s inner circle,” Read writes, “was deeply and totally besotted, desperate to please him, and bitterly jealous of any attention he bestowed on other suitors”—a rivalry that Hitler found most useful, inasmuch as it prevented his juniors from forming alliances that could be turned against him. One such junior was Himmler, a party stalwart from the first, who asserted that he would shoot his own mother if the Führer commanded. Another was Joseph Goebbels, a genius at telling lies and having them believed; for instance, some 5,000 Jews survived the war in Berlin itself, “protected by sympathetic Berliners,” even as Goebbels insisted that the city was “Jew-free.” Another was Alfred Rosenberg, theoretician and de facto leader of the early Nazi party while Hitler was imprisoned, who, Read memorably writes, “was cold, arrogant, and boring beyond belief.” Yet another was Göring, the most militarily accomplished of the Nazis, who ordered the murder of his old friend, Hitler’s rival Röhm, in 1934, explaining to his American captors after the war, “But he was in my way . . .”

Each was effective in his own way, and Read’s narrative gives Hitler’s lieutenants their due for their roles in making the Nazi state the efficient death machine that it was—squabbling with one another all the while and endlessly jockeying for position.

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-393-04800-4

Page Count: 986

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2003

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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.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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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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