1913

THE YEAR BEFORE THE STORM

With exceptional wit and understanding, Illies shows the societal and cultural changes propelling man toward modern art, new...

In his first English-language translation, German author Illies scours the landscape of the year 1913, making a leap into a fascinating new structure of writing.

The author uses excerpts from journals of now-famous people in the capitals of modernism, including Vienna, Munich, Paris and Berlin. He explains their ideas and snatches quotes and tosses them apparently willy-nilly into chronological chapters. However, due to the author’s creative talent, the structure of the narrative works like a charm. Among the many events that occurred during that year: Franz Kafka wrote bizarre letters to his love, Felice Bauer; the Die Brücke group of expressionist artists stumbled toward collapse; Hitler sold a few watercolors; Stalin remained in exile; the Mona Lisa was still missing; James Joyce was teaching English in Trieste, Italy; and Gustav Mahler’s widow, Alma, was refusing to marry Oskar Kokoschka unless he painted her in a masterpiece. Though the narrative may seem disjointed at first, readers will continue to turn the pages to see what becomes of Thomas Mann and his brother or to see Carl Jung daring to challenge Freud’s theories. Illies happily neglects all the political stirrings that would lead to war the following year. Instead, he follows members of the modernist arts, with Marcel Proust touching a nerve of the avant-garde and Mann exploring tormented passions in Death in Venice. Also included: Ezra Pound contacts Joyce, Kafka broods, Albert Camus is born in Algeria, and 15-year-old Bertolt Brecht has a cold.

With exceptional wit and understanding, Illies shows the societal and cultural changes propelling man toward modern art, new thought processes and war. An excellent companion to Keith Jackson’s equally illuminating Constellation of Genius (2013), which gives similar treatment to the year 1922.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61219-351-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Melville House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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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

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

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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