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THE CHAOS OF EMPIRE

THE BRITISH RAJ AND THE CONQUEST OF INDIA

A rich, somewhat overlong history that should prove fascinating for students of Indian history.

A British expert in South Asian politics tackles the history of Britain’s conquest of India.

As Wilson (History/King’s Coll. London) shows, while India may have been subdued, it was never really conquered. A people who existed in an age of negotiation and open discussion would gladly have adapted to the East India Company’s needs, as long as it suited them. India was a culture of diverse societies. The Mughals fostered harmony, not homogeneity, were careful not to impose the will of a centralized state, and felt that enemies could always become friends. The British were really policemen and railroad builders. Rather than intending to settle the subcontinent, they were there simply to make money. Though the East India Company was interested in trade only, not political power, they still ruled and did so without engaging citizens. They made paper a surrogate for authority, reducing lives to lines in an account. It was not until Queen Victoria was named Empress in 1876 that India was actually united with England. Wisely, Wilson focuses on the view from the Indian side rather than that of the Raj, and he carefully and thoroughly describes the people of India, their ties to Persia, and their social and political lives. The history before the English is intriguing, as towns and regions were separate but equal. Though enlightening and clearly written, the detail-dense narrative would be a great deal easier to follow with maps showing the political changes during the time period. Wilson deals forcefully with those who supposedly “formed” India, including Thomas Macaulay, who spent three years in India in the 1830s writing a code of penal law without ever engaging a local; Robert Clive, aka Clive of India, who served as commander in chief of British India; and Warren Hastings, the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal in the 1770s and ’80s.

A rich, somewhat overlong history that should prove fascinating for students of Indian history.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61039-293-8

Page Count: 592

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • 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

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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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