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LENS OF WAR

EXPLORING ICONIC PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CIVIL WAR

A brilliant starting point for truly understanding the Civil War. As the authors point out, there is still much to explore.

A pictorial guide to the changes in our historical views of the Civil War, curated by Gallman (History/Univ. of Florida; Northerners at War, 2010, etc.) and Gallagher (History/Univ. of Virginia; The Union War, 2012, etc.).

Though these iconic photographs of the war were often included in scholarly works, the authors realized that few actually took the time to analyze the pictures themselves. This book opens a new page of considerations of the people, victims and ruins; the home front, slaves, women, guerrillas and “the Destructive War.” Gallman and Gallagher asked a wide network of professors, authors and independent researchers to choose their favorite photo from the Civil War and write an essay about it. The result will awaken new awareness, but the rawness of the war may upset some readers. One author kindly warns animal lovers that his essay about a picture of a dead horse may be tough going. This isn’t just a coffee-table book to pick up randomly, as the authors suggest; it can be read in a few hours, and each essay naturally moves readers on to the next. Though many of these photos have been “staged,” in that bodies were moved or guns and survivors placed to improve composition, that doesn’t reduce their power. These Civil War writers, experts and teachers each explain their reasons for choosing a photo; often, it harkens back to seeing it as a child and using that experience as a launching point for a career. The essays freely challenge the ethics of war photography; one asks, “When is it not all right to take an image of something?” When must we leave death alone? Pictures are natural entrees into imagination, but we must understand the difference between history and memory. Particularly noteworthy contributors include Harold Holzer, Joseph T. Glatthaar and Elizabeth R. Varon.

A brilliant starting point for truly understanding the Civil War. As the authors point out, there is still much to explore.

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8203-4810-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Univ. of Georgia

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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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