Next book

SCARS OF INDEPENDENCE

AMERICA'S VIOLENT BIRTH

An accomplished, powerful presentation of the American Revolution as it was, rather than as we might wish to remember it.

The American Revolution was no festive musical.

German-born historian Hoock (British History/Univ. of Pittsburgh; Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, 2010, etc.) asserts that this is "the first book on the American Revolution and the Revolutionary War to adopt violence as its central analytical and narrative focus." Over time, he writes, the Revolution's pervasive violence and terror have "yielded to a strangely bloodless narrative of the war that mirrors the image of a tame and largely nonviolent Revolution." In fact, he claims in this fresh approach to a well-trod subject, "to understand the Revolution and the war—the very birth of the nation—we must write the violence, in all its forms, back into the story." This he certainly does, examining both physical and psychological violence inflicted by all participants—British, German and colonial military forces, Patriot and Loyalist partisans and civilians, Native Americans, and free and enslaved blacks—on each other throughout the conflict. The catalog of misery includes battlefield atrocities, rape and plunder of civilians, inhumane imprisonment, lynchings and expulsions, and the scorched-earth destruction of crops, plantations, and entire towns. Hoock suggests that the conflict is best understood as America's first civil war rather than as a colonial uprising. He also considers at length the struggles by civil and military leaders of both sides to determine what levels of violence would be efficacious in achieving their objectives and acceptable under contemporary ethical standards, issues of continuing relevance today. Deeply researched and buttressed by extensive useful endnotes, this is history that will appeal to both scholars and general readers. The author presents his grim narrative in language that is vivid without becoming lurid. In urging an acceptance of historical accuracy over our foundational myths, he hopes to direct us toward "an approach to global leadership…more restrained, finely calibrated, and generously spirited."

An accomplished, powerful presentation of the American Revolution as it was, rather than as we might wish to remember it.

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8041-3728-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 31


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

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

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 31


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • 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

Next book

A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

Close Quickview