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OCTOBER

THE STORY OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION

An intriguing march to revolution, told here with clarity and insight.

The award-winning fiction writer revisits the exciting, messy story of an explosive Russia on the brink of civil war.

London-born novelist and political theorist Miéville (Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories, 2015, etc.) takes on the roiling events of the Russian Revolution on the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik insurrection. From the beginning of 1917, events occurred at a dizzying pace and involved a rich cast of characters, which the author delineates at the end of the book in a “Glossary of Personal Names.” Miéville tells the story in a frank, mannerist fashion. Of course, since readers know the outcome (“purges, gulags, starvation, mass murder”), there is a sense of dark foreboding throughout. The author questions whether it was inevitable that Vladimir Lenin and his cohort would shift increasingly to the left and embrace violent insurrection. No: events were constantly shifting and up in the air, and Miéville presents the action with his novelist’s eye. Looking to the “prehistory of 1917,” the author chronicles the cataclysmic changes in Russia in the late 19th century especially, including emancipation of the serfs in 1861 by Alexander II, who was assassinated by “People’s Will” radicals in 1881. “The man of the future in Russia,” noted populist writer Alexander Herzen, “is the peasant.” The Marxists believed that autocratic Russia was not yet ripe for socialism. Thus, the events that unfolded over the next two decades, as the working class gained confidence and size, were inchoate until brought into sharper focus by external crises such as the Russo-Japanese War, anti-Jewish pogroms, the institution of a “consultative parliament,” the Duma, by Czar Nicolas II, and the deeply unpopular mobilization for war against Germany in 1914. It was a “fraught and protean political culture,” as the author writes, juggling the many activist protagonists such as Leon Trotsky, who was working to incorporate the incendiary ideals of Lenin.

An intriguing march to revolution, told here with clarity and insight.

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78478-277-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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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.

Awards & Accolades

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  • National Book Award Finalist

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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