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A NEW TIME FOR MEXICO

Desultory essays, mostly uninspired, on Mexico, following closely behind the noted author's execrable roman it clef Diana (1995). Updating his Tiempo Mexicano (Mexican Time), a vigorous examination of the wrongs of Mexico's political and economic system of the 1970s, this collection offers a few highlights worthy of the Fuentes of old, He is an incisive student of the differences that divide Mexicans and Americans: Conceptions of the marketplace and of individual liberty; ideas, as the title suggests, of time itself, exemplified by the term manana, which "does not mean putting things off till the morrow. It means not letting the future intrude on the sacred completeness of today." Fuentes has much to say on the cultural complexities of Mexico, on the likelihood that the NAFTA accord will fail, on the stranglehold a corrupt central government has on a country that should by all rights be both wealthy and internationally influential, on the ever-declining "Mexican miracle" promised in the oil-rich '70s. But noteworthy passages are too few and far between. Rather than connect his themes and make a definitive statement, Fuentes is mostly content to issue vaporous pronouncements: "To see Mexico from the air is to look upon the face of creation." "Only the Revolution made present all of Mexico's pasts—that is why it deserves a capital R." "The Indians of Mexico are the only aristocrats in a country of provincial imitations, shabby colonial hidalgos, haughty republican Creoles, and corrupt, cruel, and ignorant revolutionary bourgeois." The reader will be forgiven for wondering why a Mexican Indian, the poorest of Mexico's poor, should feel aristocratic, but Fuentes should not be forgiven for this altogether silly rhetorical device. In the end, Fuentes refuses to make a clear, definitive statement on the crises facing Mexico, a sad thing in a writer who once made his country comprehensible to the world.

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-374-22170-7

Page Count: 214

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1996

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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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