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WHEN THE NEW DEAL CAME TO TOWN

A SNAPSHOT OF A PLACE AND TIME WITH LESSONS FOR TODAY

Authors tend to want to reach the maximum number of readers; Melloan, on the other hand, seems determined to drive away...

A retired Wall Street Journal editor recalls growing up in a small Midwestern town in the 1930s and strives to show the relevance to today's economic struggles across the country.

In this slim volume, Melloan (The Great Money Binge: Spending Our Way to Socialism, 2009, etc.) has actually produced three books: a meandering memoir of Whiteland, Indiana, a lightly populated farm town; a broader anecdotal, sometimes revisionist history of the Great Depression; and a screed more or less faithful to President Ronald Reagan's oft-cited quotation, “government isn't the solution to our problem, government is the problem." The memoir portions serve as the most intriguing passages of this hybrid book, although even in those chapters Melloan mixes interesting characters and situations with those of such limited interest that it seems only his close relatives might care. As the youngest of eight children born to a family that often struggled financially, Melloan understandably discusses the traits of his siblings, parents, and additional family members. Certainly a memorable character from the Whiteland area is Ralph Barger, described by the author as a hunchbacked dwarf. Melloan explains how Barger earned trust and a livelihood during difficult times. In the author’s narrative, Barger also becomes a symbol as a self-sufficient free-market capitalist rather than someone who today might exist on handouts from government welfare agencies. Throughout, Melloan praises and sometimes romanticizes farmers, truckers, railroad laborers, and other blue-collar strivers who worked hard and avoided government handouts. When Melloan turns his focus to the larger economic scenario during the 1930s and the 2000s, he delights in bashing professional economists, presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt and their political advisers, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the journalism and fiction of John Steinbeck, and many other proverbial cows, sacred or otherwise.

Authors tend to want to reach the maximum number of readers; Melloan, on the other hand, seems determined to drive away anybody who might be considered a "liberal."

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3608-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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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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