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ALL THINGS MADE NEW

THE REFORMATION AND ITS LEGACY

Experts and lay readers alike can pick and choose elements from MacCulloch’s vast store of knowledge.

Authoritative essays on the Protestant Reformation.

A recently knighted academic and acclaimed author, MacCulloch (History of the Church/Oxford Univ.; Silence: A Christian History, 2013, etc.) presents a variety of pieces on the main currents of the Reformation, published previously in scholarly and literary British journals. Grouped into three areas—Reformation elements traversing Europe, those affecting England, and those considered from a modern point of view—the essays take on large themes such as the Council of Trent, the Tudors, and the making of the King James Bible. The author frequently plunges into academic minutiae that are endlessly fascinating but will sail over the heads of nonscholars—e.g., his examination of angels and the Virgin Mary. Delighted that the subject is gaining new interest by academic researchers, MacCulloch ably conveys a sense of the ideological excitement of the era, when the majority of Western Europeans were jolted by the challenges of Martin Luther in terms of how people had considered death, salvation, and the afterlife and were “convinced that they had been cheated.” The author underscores how cracking the Catholic Church took an enormous force and thus required an equally forceful counterrevolution to meet it. In his essay on John Calvin, MacCulloch shows how he expertly distilled Catholic doctrine rather than consider himself a Protestant; as such, he could be called the fifth Latin doctor of the Church (after Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory). The author’s treatment of the Tudors is masterly, from the reign of Henry VIII, when new rebellious religious identities were emerging and Thomas Cranmer presided over the creation of the first Book of Common Prayer (1549), to Queen Elizabeth I’s delight in the church music of William Byrd and the synthesis of Anglicanism from low and high church elements.

Experts and lay readers alike can pick and choose elements from MacCulloch’s vast store of knowledge.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-19-061681-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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