CREATING CHAOS

COVERT POLITICAL WARFARE, FROM TRUMAN TO PUTIN

All is fair in war, as this straightforward history demonstrates, even when that war is undeclared and everyone denies...

With investigations continuing regarding Russian interference in American elections, Hancock (Unidentified: The National Intelligence Problem of UFOs, 2017, etc.) provides context dating back to Machiavelli.

A veteran analyst of covert actions, the author doesn’t judge according to right or wrong, let alone good or evil. He works under the assumption that this is the way that power sustains, defends, and extends itself, and he generally sees the Russian intelligence initiatives in the wake of the Cold War and the Soviet breakup as the mirror image of America’s perspective after World War II. The United States feared that communism was destabilizing relations around the world, encroaching on America’s domain and establishing beachheads (such as Cuba) within striking distance of its adversary. And now? “Russia would become the champion of stability and the United States would be viewed as the existential threat, the covert sponsor of revolution and regime change,” he writes. In other words, role reversal but business as usual. Hancock shows how age-old tactics have moved into new forms of cybertechnology as governments on both sides have sown disinformation in order to create chaos, as the book’s title puts it. The author also puts suspicions about Russian collusion in the election of Donald Trump into context, showing how such Russian efforts long predated the 2016 election and that they have continued well after. “In short, what we are describing is not meddling in a single election nor positioning one candidate over another,” he writes. “It is a destabilization effort with the overall goal of fragmenting the American public and inserting chaos into the political system…the same sort of campaign that Russia had consistently accused Western democracies of conducting against the independent republics and Russia itself.” Though some might find some of the charges startling, the plodding prose and matter-of-fact tone never veer toward sensationalism.

All is fair in war, as this straightforward history demonstrates, even when that war is undeclared and everyone denies everything.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944869-87-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: OR Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2018

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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.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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  • 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

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