THE RESCUE SEASON

A TRUE STORY OF HEROISM ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Although this aims to be the next Perfect Storm or Into Thin Air, it lacks the smooth narration and intense drama that...

An action-packed tribute to the parajumpers (PJs) of the US Special Command Forces.

Having spent several months with the 210th Alaska Pararescue Squadron, Drury (Mafia Cop, 1992) covers a lot of ground here, documenting the PJs’ heroic deeds and their place in military history. Although PJs have run combat missions overseas and stand on Global Alert during NASA space missions, the Anchorage-based squadron devotes the greater part of its time to rescuing civilian climbing fanatics from the area’s most formidable peak, Mt. McKinley. The author does a fine job of detailing the climbers’ weather and equipment obstacles, allowing us to watch foolhardy jocks head straight for storms and hidden crevasses. These chilling accounts, which typically conclude with amputations, seem like scare tactics aimed at amateur mountaineers. Although the rescue anecdotes give the story a quick-moving feel, Drury occasionally detours into the PJs’ and climbers’ prosaic personal lives, revealing how their wives and children deal with daredevil daddies. He also slows the pace to render portraits of the men he has met, although the women are mostly faceless. Extensive coverage of weather conditions and Mt. McKinley’s intimidating characteristics inform us of avalanches and icefalls, elucidating humans’ odds of withstanding nature. There is a strong sense of macho camaraderie among the PJs and, while some come across as self-sacrificial patriots, others strike us as self-righteous rebels who look forward to breaking the rules.

Although this aims to be the next Perfect Storm or Into Thin Air, it lacks the smooth narration and intense drama that appeals to mainstream audiences. Still, it’s a worthwhile read for aspiring military heroes or sportsmen obsessed with Alaska.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-684-86479-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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