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THE SIKH HERITAGE

BEYOND BORDERS

A substantial and visually arresting guide to five centuries of Sikh shrines.

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An illustrated history of important sites in Sikh history in Pakistan.

In this oversized, sumptuously illustrated picture book, Pannu takes readers on a comprehensively detailed guide to the shrines and holy places of great figures from the Sikh faith. The book looks at 84 such sites, providing a great deal of information alongside stunning color photos by the author. Pannu searches through the Janamsakhis, the Sikh scriptures, and seeks to “incorporate logic and rationality in their interpretation,” and then supplies readers with images of many of the places mentioned in these and other Sikh writings. The book covers a broad expanse of history, from the days of Sikhism's founder, Guru Nanak, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries to the India-Pakistan Partition of 1947 to the present day, when relations between India and Pakistan remain raw and turbulent. In his introduction, Pannu expresses the hope that his crossing of borders in search of a shared cultural heritage might be a harbinger of the future: “I remain optimistic that a day will eventually dawn when everlasting peace will prevail, and works like this book will prove to be both educative and enlightening.” Over the course of 400-plus pages, the work covers Pakistani sites in Sheikhupura, Kasur, Nanakana Sahib, Narowal, and Lahore. In each chapter, the author pairs historical mentions of the place and shrine at hand with photos of its current appearance, and the juxtapositions between past and present often result in a compelling dissonance.

With a minimum of fuss, Pannu intriguingly deploys quotations from scriptures and historical accounts alongside his photos, which he’s taken over the course of years. The prose tells readers of places sacred to Sikh tradition, featuring locations as sacred to Sikhs as Bethlehem or Gethsemane are to Christians. Yet the excellent photographs very often show dilapidated, sometimes defaced ruins that no passerby would ever guess held greater significance. One example of a lone gurdwara—a type of block-tower that’s ubiquitous throughout the book—is all that remains of the Gurdwara Lahura Sahib in the village of Ghavindi, where Guru Nanak once rested beneath a Lahura tree. Guru Hargobind’s visit to the village of Padhana, as recorded in the Mahima Prakash Vartak, was an occasion for the Sikh holy man to dispense calm wisdom—but Pannu’s photos of the interior views of Gurdwara Patshavi VI display a squalor and decay that even the author, as an optimistic guide, can’t ignore: “The decoration inside the smaller, third-story structure is quite beautiful, despite the aging and deteriorating floral embellishments on the ceiling.” Parked mopeds lean against the chipped and flaking walls of buildings where living saints once shared the peace and insight of the Sikh faith’s central tenets; street lamps and power cables obscure once-glorious gurdwaras from street views. And the juxtaposition is ultimately spellbinding; readers will be able to feel the weight of centuries on these holy places as Pannu shares religious passages that have better weathered the passage of time.

A substantial and visually arresting guide to five centuries of Sikh shrines.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73329-370-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Pannu Dental Group

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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

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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