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LONG SHADOWS

TRUTH, LIES AND HISTORY

Paris raises uncomfortable questions of enormous importance, but the complexities of the situations often demand far more...

A Canadian writer visits places with dark histories to find what people know and feel about them.

“I could imagine nothing more compelling,” writes Paris (The End of Days, not reviewed), “than to hunt down the ways that the past is managed to suit the perception of our present needs.” And “hunt down” she does—in ways ranging from enlightening to superficial. She begins with WWII, visiting Germany and interviewing a variety of people, including Martin Bormann Jr. (now a Catholic priest). She notes that Germany not only acknowledges its wartime atrocities but requires their study in the school curriculum. In France, she views some of the trial of Maurice Papon, a former Nazi collaborator during the occupation, and again interviews a wide range of people (including a group of high school students who are skeptical about the French myth of a pervasive resistance movement during the war). In Japan, the author finds an unwillingness to examine war crimes committed by the Japanese (e.g., the 1937 Rape of Nanking) rather than those committed against them (such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki). In the shallowest section of her survey, Paris goes to the US and considers the lingering legacies of slavery. Here, she points out the obvious, cites the well-known (e.g., de Tocqueville’s prescience), and regrets that Congress declined to issue an apology for slavery. In South Africa, her interviews range from the guy who sat next to her on the plane to Desmond Tutu. Included is a riveting account of a hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Lusikisiki. She also tells the story of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, dives into the murky historical waters of the Balkans, and discusses the history of prosecutions for war crimes.

Paris raises uncomfortable questions of enormous importance, but the complexities of the situations often demand far more analysis than she offers—or appears capable of offering).

Pub Date: June 5, 2001

ISBN: 1-58234-156-7

Page Count: 500

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

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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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