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KILLERS OF THE KING

THE MEN WHO DARED TO EXECUTE CHARLES I

A gripping account of the aftermath of Britain’s revolution, during which both sides fought for justice and Christianity and...

C.V. Wedgwood’s masterwork told this story in three volumes, but Britain’s Charles I (1600-1649) loses his head on Page 55 of this fascinating, one-volume account in which British historian Spencer (Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier, 2008, etc.) describes what happened afterward.

Stubborn and authoritarian, Charles provoked a rebellion that ended in his defeat, capture, trial and execution. Nearly 60 of the 83 “commissioners” who conducted Charles’ trial signed his death warrant. Careful to observe bureaucratic niceties, they carefully preserved the warrant and all records, a move that proved to be a bonanza for historians as well as Royalists on their return 10 years later. Before assuming his father’s throne in 1660 (following Oliver Cromwell’s death two years earlier), Charles II issued his famous Declaration of Breda, proclaiming general forgiveness for those who declared their loyalty “excepting only such persons as shall hereafter be excepted by Parliament”—a big loophole. Readers will initially be sympathetic to Royalists who suffered under the republic, which treated Charles I badly, executing him after a distinctly Stalin-esque show trial. However, they will reverse their sympathies as Charles II and a new Parliament, dominated by Royalists, wreaked vengeance. Spencer recounts the mostly dismal fates of the surviving regicides. Thirteen were tried (in equally Stalin-esque settings) and executed, mostly by drawing and quartering, a gruesome, protracted procedure. Nineteen received life imprisonment under awful conditions, and few of those survived. Fifteen fled to Europe and three to America where several were murdered by Royalists, three kidnapped and returned for execution, and the rest passed anxious lives, the last dying in 1689.

A gripping account of the aftermath of Britain’s revolution, during which both sides fought for justice and Christianity and behaved despicably.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1620409121

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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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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