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NEPTUNE

THE ALLIED INVASION OF EUROPE AND THE D-DAY LANDINGS

A work that manages to be both succinct and comprehensive in scope.

A fine D-Day study both technical and humanitarian.

Before Operation Overlord, involving the vast amphibious landing of 1 million Allied troops across the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, there was the 13-month intricate planning and execution that made it possible: Operation Neptune. Acclaimed naval historian Symonds (Emeritus, History/U.S. Naval Academy; The Battle of Midway, 2011, etc.) has the teacher’s patient touch and big-picture knowledge to accessibly present the truly incredible scope of this largely naval endeavor. He begins with an important memorandum drafted by Gen. Harold Stark at the height of the German Blitz on London laying out “a major naval and military effort in the Atlantic” to forestall British collapse. This “Germany First” thrust was subsequently taken up at the so-called ABC conference in Washington in March 1941, delineating American and British goals. The strategy involved a huge buildup of American materiel and manpower, which was not available for another year. In the meantime, Churchill and Roosevelt cooked up the joint intervention in North Africa, which would act as a kind of colossal rehearsal of the combined logistical and operational nightmare that would be needed in a cross-Channel thrust. Symonds portrays the American generals as childishly overeager for a European invasion, while the Britons remained prudent and restrained; indeed, American inexperience emerged in the first trying months of the Tunisian campaign. As the plans for a cross-Channel combined operation were assembled, Symonds reviews the staggering requirements in shipping alone—e.g., the building of key landing craft, cargo ships and Higgins boats to transport the materiel and men. He also examines the troop preparation of 1 million Americans spread across bucolic southern England in his suspenseful buildup to D-Day—a graspable, moving spectacle of men and machinery.

A work that manages to be both succinct and comprehensive in scope.

Pub Date: May 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-19-998611-8

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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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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