FIELDS OF BATTLE

PEARL HARBOR, THE ROSE BOWL, AND THE BOYS WHO WENT TO WAR

A fine sports book with a stirring extra dimension.

A veteran sports journalist revisits “the most unusual yet meaningful Rose Bowl Game” ever.

In 1941, Duke University was a national football power. Under legendary coach Wallace Wade, the Blue Devils were undefeated and slated for their second trip to the Rose Bowl to face Lon Stiner’s Oregon State Beavers, surprise winners of the Pacific Coast Conference. West Coast security concerns following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced officials to move the game from its customary venue in Pasadena, California, to Duke’s home field. As he prepares us for this extraordinary match-up, Curtis (Every Week a Season: A Journey Inside Big-Time College Football, 2004, etc.) explores each school’s distinct culture, introduces coaches and select players, and summarizes the evolution of each team’s season, including the unusual logistical challenges posed by the last-minute site change and the game's charged wartime atmosphere. He doesn’t neglect the big game’s details (an Oregon State upset), but he focuses mostly on what came after, the horror of a world war into which more than 70 of the game’s participants immediately plunged. Yes, Curtis invokes the hoary football-as-war analogy in his title, exhortatory quotations from the likes of Wade and Vince Lombardi, but mainly he’s careful to distinguish between an arduous game and savage war. In Europe and the Pacific, the boys of the Rose Bowl became men. Four were killed, many wounded; some won medals, and not a few returned to lives marked by alcoholism, depression, and divorce. Especially memorable are the tales of OSU’s Stan Czech, who before his capture as a POW shared a hasty cup of coffee with Duke’s Wade in a foxhole; Jack Yoshihara, the “alien” prohibited from traveling with his team to the Rose Bowl and who spent the war in an internment camp; and Frank Parker, the Beaver standout who rescued a Duke player near death on the battlefield.

A fine sports book with a stirring extra dimension.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-05958-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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