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THE BEATS

A GRAPHIC HISTORY

A worthy introduction to the makers of Howl, Naked Lunch, On the Road, Turtle Island and a small library’s worth of enduring...

An illustrated tour of the world of hepcats, bongo bangers and other denizens of the bohemian 1950s.

The culture of the ’50s really began in the ’40s, when Jack Kerouac started palling around with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and others of their experimental, countercultural ilk. Fittingly, Pekar (Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History, 2008, etc.) and Buhle (American Civilization/Brown Univ.; editor: Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography, 2008, etc.) begin this pen-and-ink survey of Beat Generation icons with that trio. Their exploits will be well-known to readers familiar with their contributions to literature. In the hands of the profoundly dyspeptic Pekar, however, the less-than-appealing aspects of the three—Kerouac’s alcoholism and right-wing extremism, Ginsberg’s pederasty, Burroughs’s bad aim with a pistol—are laid bare. But we still read their work and that of many of their contemporaries, and one of the best things about this collection by various hands—including art by noted underground cartoonist Jay Kinney and text by surrealist doyenne Penelope Rosemont—is that it elevates lesser-known figures tied to Kerouac and company. Among those are Kenneth Rexroth (who pointedly asked not to be numbered among the Beats, but has been labeled so evermore all the same), Diane Di Prima, Michael McClure, Kenneth Patchen, Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones), Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia and even Tuli Kupferberg, beatified octogenarian and rabble-rousing Fug. Again, this roster will harbor no surprises for those who know the Beats, but those who do not may be surprised at how varied the movement was—and how different its East and West Coast branches were. The only serious drawback is that few of the drawn figures look much like their real-life counterparts. Instead, it seems, they are shifted one contemporary to the left—Ginsberg looks like William Gaines, Kerouac like Gregory Corso, Patti Smith like Joan Baez, and so on.

A worthy introduction to the makers of Howl, Naked Lunch, On the Road, Turtle Island and a small library’s worth of enduring books.

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8090-9496-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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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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