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LAFAYETTE

HERO OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Despite uneven prose and an erratic structure, Saint Bris provides an enthusiastic portrayal of this “Hero of Two Worlds.”

A spirited, though awkwardly translated, reappraisal of a vital figure of the American and French Revolutions.

French historian and biographer Saint Bris attempts to correct the prevailing criticism of the Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834) as naïve, in terms of his dealings with the republicans during the French Revolution and allowing himself to be manipulated by King Louis XVI. Instead, the author portrays Lafayette as an honorable man, despite his class entitlement, whose deeply committed sense of egalitarianism was even “more determined and fervent on the eve of his death than at the age of twenty.” In mostly palatable prose, Saint Bris traces the remarkable career of this “child of nature,” born in the crumbling chateau of Chavaniac in the Auvergne mountains, fatherless and raised mostly by his enlightened but impoverished grandmother and tutor. His mother and grandfather brought him to school in Paris, and upon their deaths he became a rich orphan at age 13. However, his training as a soldier molded him, and he leapt at the chance to become a hero by volunteering to help the American cause. Armed with a letter of recommendation by Benjamin Franklin, Lafayette ingratiated himself with George Washington. In France, however, it was a different story. Charged with the ideals of American democracy, Lafayette championed the rights of man while also helping the royal family to safety. He was duped by both sides, imprisoned and eventually released only with the help of the grateful Americans who adored him. The author valiantly pursues Lafayette’s later career securing Napoleon’s abdication and as an elected representative during the Restorations and July Revolution of 1830.

Despite uneven prose and an erratic structure, Saint Bris provides an enthusiastic portrayal of this “Hero of Two Worlds.”

Pub Date: May 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-60598-087-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Borderland/Ivan Dee

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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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


  • New York Times Bestseller


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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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