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BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY BURN AGAIN

DEMOCRACY, REBELLION, AND REVOLUTION

For most readers, Fountain will offer fresh insights. While some readers may not agree with all of his conclusions, the...

Truth is stranger than fiction in these linked reported essays about the 2016 presidential campaign.

The book’s title comes from a Robinson Jeffers poem, with the final word “Again” suggesting approximately 80-year cycles in which the United States reinvents itself through a cataclysmic event: the Civil War, the Great Depression, which spawned Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, and the shocking election of Donald Trump. Some of the essays appeared in the Guardian, where Fountain (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, 2012, etc.)—the winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize—is a columnist. The book opens, naturally, at the beginning of 2016, as the author chronicles his journeys among the presidential candidates as they participated in the Iowa primaries. Hillary Clinton (“with the years has come a kind of dreadnought presence, queen of the fleet, thick armor plating and heavy guns”) appears first, followed by Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders. Fountain provides useful context beyond each candidate’s campaign with relevant historical information and also by introducing each essay with a monthly “Book of Days” that summarizes global, national, and local news headlines. As the author covers events much like an especially woke journalist, he slides gradually into his Third Reinvention thesis by showing the mutation of traditional presidential campaigning, grounded in a Frankenstein-like scenario during which a monster—especially Trump but also Sanders—turns against its inventor, represented by traditional political parties. Throughout the narrative, as a victory for Trump seems increasingly possible, Fountain savages him in ways many journalists would not. The author portrays Trump as a congenital liar, so far beyond hypocrisy that the author struggles to find a new word to describe him.

For most readers, Fountain will offer fresh insights. While some readers may not agree with all of his conclusions, the author’s masterful original phrasings make the book worthwhile, urgent, and timely.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268884-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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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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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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