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THE CAUSE OF ALL NATIONS

AN INTERNATIONAL HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

An important—even necessary—addition to the groaning shelves of Civil War volumes.

Before and during the Civil War, both North and South lobbied hard in key European capitals to convince officials and the general population of the justness of their causes.

Impressively, Doyle (History/Univ. of South Carolina; Secession as an International Phenomenon: From America’s Civil War to Contemporary Separatist Movements, 2010) provides some novel insights about this most chronicled of conflicts. Although he alludes periodically to the military campaigns—from Bull Run to Appomattox—he uses them principally as reference points, signposts on his journey through the complex and fierce diplomatic efforts underway in England, France, Italy and the Vatican. Many Europeans, especially those with republican sympathies, could not understand why Abraham Lincoln, early in the war, refused to declare the North’s effort as a war on slavery; Southern diplomats sought to downplay the slavery issue for their own reasons and focused on the tyranny of the North and on the Southern desire for independence. The South desperately sought political recognition from European powers and hoped for military and financial aid as well. They found precious little, and as the war wound down, the European powers backed off (some had made renewed efforts to re-establish themselves in the Western Hemisphere—France in Mexico, for example), especially when the South remained intransigent about slavery. Doyle brings onto the stage a number of figures unfamiliar to all but scholars of the Civil War—envoys and diplomats, some of whom surreptitiously sought to enlist the participation of Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was virulently opposed to slavery and who toyed somewhat with the offers to lead the Union Army. Lincoln’s eloquent oratory was among the most powerful of the Union’s weapons abroad, and Doyle ably conveys the widespread, genuine grief in Europe when news of his assassination arrived.

An important—even necessary—addition to the groaning shelves of Civil War volumes.

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0465029679

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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