ANSWER THEM NOTHING

BRINGING DOWN THE POLYGAMOUS EMPIRE OF WARREN JEFFS

Award-winning journalist Weyermann (The Gang They Couldn’t Catch: The Story of America’s Greatest Modern-Day Bank Robbers—And How They Got Away With It, 1993) throws open the curtains on the deplorable actions of Warren Jeffs and his polygamous sect.

The Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) has been portrayed as a persecuted religion with women and children forcefully handled by armed soldiers as the government ran roughshod over their rights to religious freedom. There is another side to the story, writes the author, who tells it through the brave voices of the lawyers, police and brutalized FLDS victims who have all fought to bring down this powerful offshoot of the Mormon church. FLDS established its own prophets and continued to practice polygamy—requiring men to take at least three wives if they wanted to achieve salvation—long after their Mormon brethren abolished it. Mathematically, however, this posed a problem of too many men and not enough women, leading to the systemic rape of young girls through forced marriage to significantly older men and the expulsion of possible rivals, teen-aged “lost boys.” All this was brought to a maniacal pitch by Jeffs, who, after declaring himself prophet, siphoned off taxpayer dollars from lobbyists who kowtowed to the powerful FLDS lobby. Weyermann’s powerful exposé on the FLDS’ origins, it’s subsequent rise to power and how it held court over the U.S. political system is essential reading as the struggle for justice continues today. A masterful exploration of one of America’s most shameful secrets.

 

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976531-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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