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FOUR SHOTS IN THE NIGHT

A TRUE STORY OF SPIES, MURDER, AND JUSTICE IN NORTHERN IRELAND

A riveting tale of bad guys all around, engaging from start to finish.

A swift-paced exposé of the Northern Irish Troubles and the fraught interactions among British intelligence and the Irish Republican Army.

Hemming, the author of Agent M and Agents of Influence, delivers a true-crime tale narrated with the skills of a whodunit pro. The author opens with the murder of a British agent, his body left beside a country lane. The British agent was also a member of the IRA, with responsibilities that included storing weapons used in the war against Britain. He was killed, Hemming charges, by another IRA member, possibly on the orders of Martin McGuinness, who became a prominent politician in Northern Ireland and was famously granted an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, an interaction that speaks to the well-worn observation about Northern Irish politics: “If you’re not confused, you don’t know what’s going on.” The killing, notes the author, was marked by “savage intimacy,” carefully planned from start to finish; the IRA leadership surely knew about it beforehand, but MI5 may have had an inkling before the fact as well. Hemming writes confidently of matters that the IRA has surely tried to keep silent—not just political murders but also everyday tactics, such as the use of dog and horse transports to move weapons around, those transports being difficult for British canine sniffers to expose. One extraordinary revelation is that British intelligence had so thoroughly infiltrated the IRA that the organization was brought to an effective standstill, its stalwarts not knowing whom to trust. One British handler reveals that military intelligence wanted to force the IRA out of the military and into the political arena, against the wishes of the British government—even if Margaret Thatcher, Hemming notes, did authorize secret negotiations to curb the bloodshed.

A riveting tale of bad guys all around, engaging from start to finish.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781541703186

Page Count: 368

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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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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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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