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THE FINAL ACT

THE ROADS TO WATERLOO

A broad, colorful, engaging panorama of a crucial moment in the shaping of modern Europe, tracing the fall of Napoleon and the wily maneuvers of the victors to carve up his collapsed empire. Dallas (At the Heart of a Tiger: Clemenceau and His World 18411929, 1993) has extraordinary material to work with, and he makes the most of it. The long, costly struggle of England, Russia, and their allies to vanquish Napoleon seemed, with his exile to the island of Elba in 1814, to be over. In the aftermath of the war, the mutually suspicious victors convened the Congress of Nations in Vienna to establish national boundaries, carve out zones of influence, and firmly reassert the place of monarchs in an increasingly republican world. A remarkable cast of characters gathered to map out the new Europe, among them Tsar Alexander of Russia, by turns a mystic and a determinedly shrewd expansionist; Talleyrand, France's representative, a man bright and adaptable enough to have survived both the Revolution and Napoleon's reign; Castlereagh, a moody, brilliant figure who had almost singlehandedly created the British Foreign Service; and Metternich, Austria's Machiavellian foreign minister. Then, incredibly, Napoleon broke loose, quickly rallied his armies, and set out to reclaim his empire. That quest ended at Waterloo, in the most pivotal battle of the 19th century in Europe. Dallas's portraits of leading figures, while frankly opinionated, are deeply informed. He uses his considerable research admirably, offering vivid, fresh depictions of Paris, London, and Vienna, and of the drawing rooms, counting houses, and battlefields that figured in the vast drama. His argument that the treaty that emerged from Napoleon's downfall largely created modern Europe—and the tensions that would lead to even bloodier wars—is persuasive. A gripping and highly original work of popular history. (50 illustrations, 3 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8050-3184-7

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1997

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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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