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THE INDIAN WORLD OF GEORGE WASHINGTON

THE FIRST PRESIDENT, THE FIRST AMERICANS, AND THE BIRTH OF THE NATION

Insightful and illuminating but relentlessly squirm-inducing.

An expansive history of our first president and his interactions with Indian countries and how “the future he envisioned would be realized at the expense of the people who lived there.”

During George Washington’s presidency, the bulk of the federal budget was spent on wars against Indians and their affairs. After beginning with this jolt, Calloway (History and Native American Studies/Dartmouth Coll.; The Victory with No Name: The Native American Defeat of the First American Army, 2014) delivers a detailed, impressively researched history of white-Indian relations during Washington’s lifetime. An ambitious young man in the 1750s, Washington already owned shares in the Ohio Company, which claimed immense tracts mostly in present-day Ohio. He made numerous official trips to assert his claims and those of the British, oppose the rival French, and recruit Indian support. All failed, culminating with Gen. Edward Braddock’s disastrous defeat in 1755. Historians traditionally describe this as a painful education that contributed to Washington’s later greatness, but Calloway maintains that ignorance of Indian culture and bad military advice bear major responsibility for the debacles. Many tribes sided with Britain during the Revolution, and Washington responded with cruel, almost genocidal campaigns that laid waste cities and farms and killed everyone in sight. Calloway concludes that “Washington spent a lifetime turning Indian homelands into real estate for himself and his nation,” and as president, he worked hard to further this agenda. It involved several brutal frontier wars, described ably by Calloway; however, readers will also have to wade through tedious diplomacy, negotiations, treaties, and bickering. At his death, Washington owned tens of thousands of acres of former Indian land, and frontier tribes were in steady retreat. Calloway is no revisionist. Historians agree that Washington’s treatment of Indians was marked by self-interest, ignorance, and racism, but they prefer to emphasize areas where he did better.

Insightful and illuminating but relentlessly squirm-inducing.

Pub Date: April 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-19-065216-6

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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