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THE COLLABORATION

HOLLYWOOD'S PACT WITH HITLER

Unlike Michael Munn's wide-ranging Hitler and the Nazi Cult of Film and Fame (2013), Urwand's work keeps the focus on a few...

A Harvard University fellow offers a keen, unsettling look at the unholy alliance Hollywood made with the Nazis, which allowed both to keep packing movie theaters in Germany up until the outbreak of war.

Concomitant with Hollywood’s golden era of the 1930s was the rise of the Nazi Party, whose chief officials admired American films and tried to enlist some of Hollywood’s affective touches and technical mastery for their own productions and propaganda efforts. Movies had potentially the same kind of magical power that Hitler could wield in his mesmerizing speeches; his critical appraisals of his nightly viewing of new films ran to “good,” “bad” and “switched off.” This meant that movies that were anodyne and entertaining were approved for German audiences (Laurel and Hardy); movies that were dangerous to German sensibilities were bad (All Quiet on the Western Front); and movies that had problematic content were simply changed or not permitted to get made (It Can’t Happen Here). Germany was an important export market for Hollywood films (before World War I, it was the largest). Despite the quota regulations on imports, Hollywood films were welcomed by the Nazis, and a good “working relationship” was developed between Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry and the big studios. There was pressure on the studios to censor defense of Jews in certain films and suppress films that portrayed Nazis in an unflattering light (The Mad Dog of Europe). The result of this complicated and slippery relationship, as Urwand depicts with subtlety, was the absolute disappearance from film of Nazis and Jews until the end of the decade.

Unlike Michael Munn's wide-ranging Hitler and the Nazi Cult of Film and Fame (2013), Urwand's work keeps the focus on a few films for an elucidating study.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-674-72474-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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