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STEALING HOME

LOS ANGELES, THE DODGERS, AND THE LIVES CAUGHT IN BETWEEN

Provocative, essential reading for students of California history.

A well-known tale of racial injustice given a fresh look by sportswriter Nusbaum.

The construction of Dodger Stadium is an epic well known in the history of Southern California. The author digs deep to find stories from the canyon where the stadium was built, a place made by Mexican and Mexican American families who were covenanted out of other neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The early residents could climb the hill above the canyon and see the skyline of a growing metropolis whose new City Hall appeared “like an arrow pointing upwards to the infinite possibilities of Southern California—or perhaps like a giant middle finger aimed directly at [them].” When the 101, a multilane major highway, was built, the isolation was complete—until, when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved across the country, the three neighborhoods of Chavez Ravine were deemed an ideal spot for a stadium. Nusbaum charts the course of what happened next, as neighbors banded together and activists set about agitating for their rights, all to no avail, and with jail sentences for some. One aspect of the story is that, a decade before the Dodgers arrived, the area was slated for modernist public housing, but the project was shelved in a Cold War era in which such utopian enterprises smacked of communism. Instead, capitalism won out: Deeds were bought and sold, properties condemned, construction companies and developers enriched. A nice twist, as Nusbaum writes toward the end of his illuminating narrative, is that barely anything seemed to go right as the stadium was going up. With the passage of time, the communities of Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop faded from memory. “Baseball may have mystical powers, but it cannot erase the past,” writes the author near the end. “It cannot redeem us.” That’s just right, and Nusbaum does good work by reminding readers of what was lost in the name of municipal bragging rights.

Provocative, essential reading for students of California history.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-4221-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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  • National Book Award Finalist

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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