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STANDOFF

HOW AMERICA BECAME UNGOVERNABLE

A good choice for political junkies.

Former CNN senior political analyst Schneider (Government/George Mason Univ.) offers a thoughtful account of how American politics have changed from the 1960s to the age of Trump.

The author argues that the clash between the New America of “diversity and inclusion” that emerged in the 1960s and the 2016 backlash from Old America (“mostly white, mostly male, mostly older, mostly conservative, mostly religious, and mostly nonurban”) has left the nation at a “standoff” and its “most divided” since the Civil War. Tracing the development of that growing rift over the decades, he examines the forces that have produced America’s present “gridlock and dysfunctional government,” chiefly the separation of powers built into the Constitution. He makes a strong case that voters have increasingly placed values over interests and that public opinion often rules: The “intensity of opinion matters, not just numbers.” Much of his book is a detailed examination of recent presidential elections studded with sharp observations drawn from the author’s extensive reporting career: “We do have class politics in the United States,” he writes, “but these days, the class division is mostly inside the two parties rather than between them”; “The American people want to be left alone, with just enough government restrictions to protect the public welfare”; “White working-class men see political correctness as a way of shutting them out.” Schneider covers such issues as abortion and gun control as well as the rise of tribal politics, America’s “deeply religious culture,” and Trump’s “perpetual political war” on the “cosmopolitan ruling class.” His examples of how Americans segregate themselves politically are vividly drawn: “People in Kennesaw [Georgia] worry about their children getting into heaven. People in Bethesda [Maryland] worry about their children getting into Yale.” He says our system of limited government is “particularly important when the country has a president with the temperament of a megalomaniac.”

A good choice for political junkies.

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4516-0622-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • 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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