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Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World

A thorough, enjoyable collection which ably demonstrates Italy’s long reach.

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This comprehensive book details the impact of the ancient, southern European country of Italy.

This is the third volume in a series that started with 2014’s All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded, about Laycock’s homeland of Great Britain, and was followed by Kelly and Laycock’s America Invades (2015). Now the duo tackles a country to which both feel connected, one whose history goes back millennia to ancient Rome. As Kelly explains in his introduction: “Italians are literally and figuratively an ‘outgoing’ people….From Marco Polo to Christopher Columbus, they have been some of the world’s greatest travelers, explorers, and adventurers.” As a result, there are few countries which Italy has not, at least theoretically, touched. For example, it even has a tenuous connection to the distant Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, where its military has taken part in joint exercises in recent years. Italy has an even greater impact on countries nearer to it, such as its neighbor, Austria; they “share a border, and they also share a lot of violent history with many invasions back and forth,” the authors note. In this volume, Kelly and Laycock have done meticulous research, and it all shows on the page. With names such as Columbus, Polo, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte appearing over and over again, the authors help readers to grasp the big global picture at any given point in time. They also single out Italian-Americans, especially in the military, and their roles in history. An added bonus is an appendix featuring a colorful journal entry by Kelly’s great-grandfather Thomas Tileston Wells, written during an ill-timed vacation to Europe at the outbreak of World War I. Overall, Kelly and Laycock have created a dense, readable compilation about a nation whose impact on global history is often underappreciated.

A thorough, enjoyable collection which ably demonstrates Italy’s long reach.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-94-059872-7

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Book Publishers Network

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

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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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