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EXTREME NORTH

A CULTURAL HISTORY

A fascinating and historically disturbing journey through an intriguing land of mystery and legend.

An investigation of the cultural history and mythology of “the North,” which “represents a space both real and imaginary.”

German historian Brunner begins by explaining the concept of the North; where it begins is “in the eye of the beholder.” Depending on where you live—North America, Europe, Africa, etc.—your concept of the North will vary. As with the South, Brunner asserts, “over time,” the North “has also become layered with cultural and political meanings, baggage even.” In an engaging, sometimes academic tone, the author analyzes how the idea of the North has evolved over the centuries. Among the many topics he explores are early European fears of Viking raids, the effects of the European obsession with finding a northwest passage to China, and Norse myths and fairy tales. Stories of fierce Vikings continue to fire the imagination despite the fact that “we have only the flimsiest evidence of how men and women of Viking times might have looked.” As demand for products such as whale blubber, cod, and narwhal ivory grew, writes Brunner, the image of the Nordic people shifted from “fearsome barbarians to trustworthy merchants with whom good business could be done.” However, acts of barbarism toward Indigenous populations beginning in the 16th century forever changed their lives. “It was only in the late nineteenth century that Westerners began to develop even a rudimentary understanding of Inuit culture,” and the Inuit were but one among many northern peoples the Europeans encountered. During this time, scientists and romantic travelers also had an increasing interest in seeing the North as opposed to merely reading about it. Yet another shift came following World War I, with an increase in writings related to racial science, which described a “superior” branch of humanity and “channeled interest in the North in an ominous new direction.” Today, writes the author, “the mythical North remains very much in currency,” continuing to inspire writers, environmentalists, politicians, and adventurers.

A fascinating and historically disturbing journey through an intriguing land of mystery and legend.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-393-88100-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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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'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

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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