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THE FRENCH SECRET SERVICE

FROM THE DREYFUS AFFAIR TO THE GULF WAR

An authoritative analysis of the complex role of intelligence services in modern French history. With Porch's (History/Naval War College; The French Foreign Legion, 1991, etc.) book, it will no longer be possible to think of the defining moments of modern France without also considering the function and influence of the country's secret services. From the two world wars to the disastrous colonial policies in Indochina, Africa, and Algeria, the French intelligence services have had an enormous say in the country's politics, usually without the knowledge of French citizens. Porch takes us through the establishment of the modern French secret services, born out of the defeat of the Franco-Prussian War (187071), through their unheralded successes and sometimes spectacular failures. It is no accident that the French secret services are directly implicated in the two most devastating episodes in modern French history: the Dreyfus Affair and the fall of France in MayJune 1940. Yet Porch partially exonerates the intelligence community in arguingcontrary to the traditional view that politicians ignored intelligencethat they were obsessed with it to the point of paralysis. The secret services were to be the Achilles' heel of the Fourth Republic, and readers will be astonished to learn the extent of domestic spying in the Fifth Republic today. The author has had to overcome several obstacles in writing this book, and many of the questions raised cannot be answered until certain classified documents become available. In addition, there is a perpetual war in the bewildering underworld of espionage and intelligence between various offices and services. A major strength of the book is that it places the French secret services squarely in political context and insists on the necessary state-intelligence connection, which, unfortunately and sometimes tragically, breaks down. Those breakdowns have literally altered the course of French history. An absorbing and detailed critique of the French intelligence community.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-374-15853-3

Page Count: 599

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1995

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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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