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SIX DAYS IN AUGUST

THE STORY OF STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

A true-crime page-turner about one of the more notorious bank heists of the past half century.

A historian painstakingly reconstructs the crime that gave rise to the pop-psychological term Stockholm syndrome.

In August 1973, a furloughed Swedish convict armed with a submachine gun burst into a Stockholm bank and took four hostages, who, during their ordeal, seemed to grow attached to the gunman and a prison mate brought in at his request. The crime inspired the catchphrase Stockholm syndrome, which King defines as “the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with, or sympathize with his or her captor.” It is often applied to high-profile kidnapping victims such as Patty Hearst and Elizabeth Smart. The “syndrome,” however, has been little studied and isn’t an officially recognized psychiatric condition; rather, it is “more a media phenomenon than a proper psychiatric diagnosis.” As such, King reconstructs the six-day standoff by drawing largely on sources other than academic studies, ranging from FBI materials to interviews with hostages and with gunman Jan-Erik “Janne” Olsson and his prison friend Clark Olofsson. In a suspenseful, chronological narrative, the author shows how missteps by the police, the media, and Prime Minister Olof Palme, combined with small acts of kindness by the hostage-takers, drew the group together. Early on, for example, the police barricaded the entrance to the bank vault in which the captors and captives hid, leaving the group with nothing to eat or drink, which made the hostage-takers look like heroes when authorities yielded to their demands for food. The most startling sign of a bond arose after the standoff ended when hostage Kristin Enmark asked captor Olofsson to father her child and was “devastated” when the resulting pregnancy was ectopic. King keeps a tight focus on ties that arise in hostage crises, but readers may suspect that some of his findings apply to the “terror bonding” that results from other crimes, such as domestic violence or child abuse.

A true-crime page-turner about one of the more notorious bank heists of the past half century. (8 page b/w photos)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-393-63508-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: April 19, 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

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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