WOUNDED KNEE

PARTY POLITICS AND THE ROAD TO AN AMERICAN MASSACRE

Sober but stinging account of one of the saddest chapters in American history.

Richardson (History/Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War, 2007, etc.) argues that the Wounded Knee massacre was a direct result of Gilded Age political expediency.

The author examines partisan wrangling in the decades after the Civil War that observers of the current scene will find all too familiar. Looking to expand their power, President Benjamin Harrison and a Republican-controlled Congress admitted South Dakota to the Union in 1889. Few in Washington cared that much of the state’s land was the Sioux reservation. The plans of railroad and mining companies, reliable supporters of the Republicans, trumped the welfare of the indigenous peoples. Enlightened whites of the day saw the “civilization” of the Sioux—by which they meant turning them into ersatz whites—as the highest goal for the natives. Others, remembering Custer’s defeat at Little Big Horn, would have been just as happy to see them exterminated. Indian agents, who were usually unqualified if not outright corrupt, doled out rations stingily. So when in 1890 Sioux (and other tribes) responded to the threats to their way of life by adopting the Ghost Dance religion, which promised the disappearance of whites and the return of buffalo and open land, the whites perceived it as a rebellion. The U.S. Army was called in to stabilize the situation. The stakes were raised by an unresolved election that could determine control of the Senate and a power struggle between the Army and the Department of the Interior, which oversaw Indian affairs. The atrocity, during which soldiers mowed down some 300 Sioux men, women and children, was probably preventable, but few of those who participated seemed to know how to stop it—or made any great effort to do so. Richardson brings the actors, both Sioux and white, into clear perspective, and paints the broader context with a deft hand.

Sober but stinging account of one of the saddest chapters in American history.

Pub Date: June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-465-00921-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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.

Awards & Accolades

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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

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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