THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. will be read because he is Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. That much is assured. But beyond the name and the campus fame, there is the fact that this is a perfectly satisfactory book on a rather — by now — shopworn subject. Nothing here, understand, to set you on your political ear, but rather what we have come to expect from Professor Schlesinger: a vivid historical review of the development — no, alarming accretion — of presidential power. Of course George Reedy (and Schlesinger acknowledges the debt) has deftly explored this trend (viz. Twilight of the Presidency, 1970; and The Presidency in Flux, KR, p. 549) — Schlesinger even uses Reedy's operative adjective "monarchical" — and Emmet John Hughes in his recent The Living Presidency (KR, p. 667) more cautiously but very ably addressed the same issue, arguing that we must resist the present impulse — generated by the Nixonomical horrors of Watergate — for "reforming zeal" and live with the "abiding paradoxes" of the modern office. Schlesinger's contribution is his talent for organizing history — he conducts his inquiry with the surehandedness of a professional so at home with his material that we sometimes forget that a scholar is at work unscrambling the contradictory past. We saw it — this genius for putting together the lineaments of the historical record — in the Roosevelt volumes and here he is just as good. The overriding theme here concerns the presidency in the democratic system: can we permit the chief executive unlimited authority in the area of foreign affairs and war-making and remain a free nation, or must we sacrifice efficiency and speed of decision-making by sharing the power around, as the Constitution mandates? Schlesinger wants a "constitutional" presidency — a rather wobbly solution in these days of constitutional confrontation at the highest level. But withal, Schlesinger has seemingly effortlessly traced the rise of the autocratic White House and that is sufficient.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 1973

ISBN: 0618420010

Page Count: 629

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1973

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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

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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