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NEW NEWS OUT OF AFRICA

UNCOVERING AFRICA’S RENAISSANCE

A refreshing alternative to the dismal views of Africa’s prospects that pervade the press.

Despite HIV/AIDS, oppressive governments, genocide and poverty, the winds of hope are blowing across much of Africa, declares one of the most celebrated names in American racial history.

The first black woman to graduate from the University of Georgia, Hunter-Gault (In My Place, 1992) now lives in South Africa and travels around the continent as a correspondent for NPR. She has seen much to cheer her. The three segments of this new work are revisions of three lectures she gave in 2003 at Harvard, where she was a fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research. The author contends that people in the West have been getting only “old” news from Africa about what she calls the Four D’s: death, disease, disaster and despair. No Pollyanna, Hunter-Gault is quick to acknowledge that these conditions remain grave. She discusses the genocide in Darfur, the enormity of the AIDS pandemic, unemployment and poverty, the repression and corruption that still characterize business-as-usual in too many African nations. But she also sees more and more of what she calls “new news”: political and charitable organizations, determined and fearless journalists, hopeful and courageous people, many of whom, despite having little formal training and technological expertise, are devoted to the causes of democracy and human rights on the continent. Much of the author’s optimism is based on opinions formed during her travels and interviews with Africans at every economic and political level. But she is sanguine, as well, because of enlightened political movements and organizations such as the New Partnership for African Development and the Pan-African Parliament. She believes that the West can best help African states by forgiving debts, many of which were incurred when tyrants misappropriated Western loans, and she urges Western media to focus more on African progress and less on the Four D’s.

A refreshing alternative to the dismal views of Africa’s prospects that pervade the press.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-19-517747-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

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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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