EL MONSTRUO

DREAD AND REDEMPTION IN MEXICO CITY

Monstrously entertaining and tenderhearted view of “Chilango” history on the eve of the centennial of the Mexican Revolution.

Longtime Mexico City denizen, social activist and journalist Ross (Zapatistas! Making Another World Possible: Chronicles of Resistance 2000–2006, 2006, etc.) fashions a brave, stirring love letter, cautionary tale and travelogue of his beloved city.

Having personally witnessed a quarter-century of the ebb and flow of Mexican revolution, bloodshed and social cataclysm from his lair at the Hotel Isabel across from the National Library, the author possesses a vivid sense of the complexity of “El Monstruo.” Slaughter, invasion and enslavement have dominated Mexican history, as Ross traces in his vernacular, pithy journey from the establishment of the lake city of Tenochtitlán to the devastation by the Spaniards under Hernán Cortés, subsequent incursions by the French and Yanquis and waves of successive revolutionary violence and civil war. The Mexican capital has inordinate and some might say nefarious influence on the rest of the country. Ross characterizes the Mexican Revolution of 1910 (the “cannibal revolution”) as an age-old struggle on the part of the disgruntled peasantry to wrest power from the grasping oligarchs operating in the capital. The author is thorough and engagingly irreverent, and his focus is broad. He doesn’t skimp on any one period or personality, from the lively Anglo writers who flocked to the city after the revolution, such as Ambrose Bierce, to the drug-addled Beats; the reception of Leon Trotsky and his subsequent murder; Truman’s cynical wooing of Mexico as a “bulwark against the red menace” (he was the first U.S. president to actually visit Mexico City); to the rise of the left, drug wars, high-level corruption, NAFTA, Zapatista insurgency, burgeoning of crime and general misery of the masses. From his binational perch, Ross offers a singular, sympathetic take on Mexican history for American readers, especially regarding the mystifying political machinations since the 1968 Olympic Games.

Monstrously entertaining and tenderhearted view of “Chilango” history on the eve of the centennial of the Mexican Revolution.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-56858-424-9

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2009

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