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AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER

THE KILLING OF LEON KLINGHOFFER

An engrossing narrative of a notorious act of terror.

The seemingly interminable struggle between Palestinians and Israelis serves as the backdrop to this tale of the seizure of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985.

In this gripping account, former Wall Street Journal and New York Times reporter and critic Salamon (Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein, 2011, etc.) adeptly reveals the parallel lives of the well-educated and privileged wife of the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front and the successful, New York City–bred daughters of abductees Marilyn and Leon Klinghoffer. The author intersperses the domestic dramas and mundane daily routines of both families with the plotting and execution of the terrorist act. Salamon’s storytelling skills imbue this terrible event with personal, relatable dimensions. She describes how the terrorists demanded that Syrian authorities negotiate with Israel to release Palestinian prisoners and transport the hijackers to a friendly Arab state that would provide them asylum. Aboard the ship, the hostages’ conflicting emotions of dread and a need to humanize their captors during the siege is personified by Marilyn. “The young man covered [wheelchair-bound] Leon with a blanket and handed him a cigarette; Marilyn returned the kindness with a hug and a grateful kiss,” writes the author. “ ‘They seemed so middle class,’ she thought, ‘like people you could relate to.’ ” She was proven tragically wrong, however, when they killed Leon and dumped his body into the ocean. Salamon’s account of the strategizing of Palestinian, Israeli, and American diplomats, followed by the soldiers’ captures and subsequent escapes, are as engaging as a spy novel. She extensively recounts the trials of the hijackers and offers lengthy aftermaths for the families. However, her similar attention to the international productions of the opera The Death of Klinghoffer are overlong and do not warrant the same focus.

An engrossing narrative of a notorious act of terror.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-43310-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

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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


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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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