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THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

A BLACK POWER MANIFESTO

Valuable as a thought experiment alone but also an “actual plan” for effecting lasting political change.

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The distinguished New York Times columnist offers a daring but utterly sensible plan to advance Black civil rights.

The devil that Black Americans know all too well is racism, and, as Blow notes from the outset, it is not confined to the South: “Black people fled the horrors of the racist South for so-called liberal cities of the North and West, trading the devil they knew for the devil they didn’t, only to come to the painful realization that the devil is the devil.” Though George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police was roundly protested—and with Whites often outnumbering Blacks at demonstrations around the country—soon after, Jacob Blake suffered the same fate, in Milwaukee, by bullets rather than asphyxiation, but with “no similar outpouring of outrage.” What Blow calls “white liberal grievance” is useless in the face of a racist system that will not change. Or will it? Given that Georgia is at the crux of the 2020 presidential election and that Stacey Abrams’ get-out-the-vote campaign brought in hundreds of thousands of voters to turn the state blue, Blow considers the state “proof of concept” that Black voters can indeed sway elections. He adds that the entire South could follow suit if only Blacks would reverse the path of the Great Migration to the North during Jim Crow and remake the electoral map by forming a solid majority. As he writes, if just half of Black residents elsewhere moved South, it would establish that majority from Louisiana all the way across the Southern heartland to South Carolina, “a contiguous band of Black power that would upend America’s political calculus and exponentially increase Black political influence.” It would also end White supremacy in that intransigent region. “The South now beckons as the North once did,” he urges in his resounding conclusion. “The promise of real power is made manifest. Seize it. Migrate. Move.”

Valuable as a thought experiment alone but also an “actual plan” for effecting lasting political change.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291466-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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