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BRIDGE OF WORDS

ESPERANTO AND THE DREAM OF A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

Schor is strongest in tracing Esperanto’s past and present, but she is less persuasive about its robust future in fostering...

The history of a new language that was invented “to bring conversation to a world of misunderstanding.”

Combining biography, history, and a memoir of her own “middle-aged anguish,” Schor (English/Princeton Univ.; Emma Lazarus, 2006, etc.) offers an illuminating, well-researched chronicle of the development of Esperanto from its origins in 19th-century Bialystok to its present iterations on six continents and in 62 countries. Herself a speaker of the constructed language, she reveals her experiences in Esperanto classes and interactions with Esperanto enthusiasts—earnest, quirky, and sometimes contentious—at conferences throughout the world. Central to her story is the father of the language, L.L. Zamenhof, an ophthalmologist who, ironically, was the son of a censor. As a Russian Jew, subject to virulent anti-Semitism, he sought a way to modernize the Jewish community and “gradually include people of other faiths and nationalities.” Communication was central to his vision: cobbling together grammar and word parts from German, English, Russian, Latin, and Greek, Zamenhof contrived a new language to enable conversation “despite differences of nationality, creed, class, or race.” Meant to be a bridge, Esperanto soon became a source of division, as followers of Zamenhof sought to seize power over the dissemination of the language and align it with their own widely dissonant political views, including imperialism, isolationism, socialism, anarchism, and communism. Multiculturalism, meant to be “the lifeblood of Esperanto,” was not easily achieved. “The problem,” said a former head of the Universal Esperanto Association, “is that language is an institution of power. Intended, Zamenhof hoped, to counter nationalism, fascism, and xenophobia, Esperanto sometimes was undermined by those same forces. As George Orwell, the nephew of an Esperanto leader, noted, “for sheer dirtiness of fighting, the feuds between the inventors of various of the international languages would take some beating.”

Schor is strongest in tracing Esperanto’s past and present, but she is less persuasive about its robust future in fostering transnational identity, “durable international networks,” and a strong sense of “belonging to the world.”

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9079-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Readers Vote
  • 31


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  • Our Verdict
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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • 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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