CHAMPIONS DAY

THE END OF OLD SHANGHAI

A satisfying juggling act of academic research and engaging popular history.

A distillation of the international flavor of old Shanghai and its sublimated race relations through one wartime day of celebration, mourning, and horse racing.

Carter, a history professor and fellow of the National Committee on U.S.–China Relations, focuses on Nov. 12, 1941, when “three crowds gathered in Shanghai…in different locations and with very different motivations” but all “represent[ed] tremendous change amid the crises engulfing China.” It was the time of Japanese occupation, yet the International Settlement, the 3-square-mile area that served as an extraterritorial colony sheltering foreigners amid the bustling Chinese city, remained technically neutral. The Settlement was also the host of the vaunted Shanghai Race Club, whose last Champions Day race was held on this day. This event, ably portrayed by the author, drew the first—and largest—crowd. Originally established in 1850 by British residents who had elbowed their way into Shanghai commerce after the Opium Wars, the SRC gained popularity over the next few decades as more foreigners flocked to the prosperous city and horse racing grew in popularity among the Chinese. Excluded from joining the SRC, in the early 1900s Chinese merchants founded the International Recreation Club, located outside the IS, allowing the members to bypass “the complicated politics of the all-but colony.” The second crowd was celebrating the birthday of the late Sun Yat-sen (d. 1925), father of republican China, whose legacy was being co-opted by the city's Japanese occupiers. The third crowd was attending the ornate funeral of China's wealthiest woman, Liza Hardoon, “the half-Chinese, half-French Buddhist widow of a Baghdadi Jewish merchant, whose death symbolized the passing of a generation that had seen Shanghai rise to global prominence.” Carter, whose knowledge of Chinese history and culture is abundantly clear, moves fluidly back and forth between the historical perspective and the bitter moments when Japanese occupation would eclipse the city's once flamboyant heyday.

A satisfying juggling act of academic research and engaging popular history. (45 illustrations)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-393-63594-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

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
  • 16


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

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

Close Quickview