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HEAVEN'S BRIDE

THE UNPRINTABLE LIFE OF IDA C. CRADDOCK, AMERICAN MYSTIC, SCHOLAR, SEXOLOGIST, MARTYR, AND MADWOMAN

A colorful contextual study of Craddock and her teeming era.

The compelling life of a turn-of-the-century free spirit and free-speech activist who was silenced by the evangelical zeal of the vice squad.

Schmidt (American Religious History/Harvard Univ.; Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality, 2005, etc.) delineates the life of Philadelphia-born self-styled religion scholar and sexologist Ida Craddock (1857–1902), who navigated two important currents in late-19th-century America: the campaign for “moral purity” waged by a righteous Protestant majority, and a spirit of liberalism and spiritualism as advocated by women’s-rights activists, intellectuals and free-thinkers. Hounded throughout her life by Anthony Comstock and his zealous New York Society for the Suppression of Vice in her attempts to publish her books on various controversial topics such as phallic worship and marital sex counseling, she was tried by jury and locked up, ultimately taking her own life at age 45 to avoid another humiliating incarceration. Craddock’s father died in her infancy, leaving her in the care of her overbearing mother, and she attended the Quaker schools and demonstrated early on her marvelously nimble intelligence and “peculiarities of character.” She hoped to attend college, but her entrance to the all-male University of Pennsylvania was denied. She supported herself by teaching a form of shorthand called phonography, then working as secretary at the American Secular Union. Her forays into folklore and comparative mythology led her into the study of sex worship, and she dreamed of establishing a Church of Yoga, in which all brands of religious messengers—monks, New Thought leaders, Theosophists, mediums, occultists, etc.—would be welcome. Her claims to have a “spiritual husband” named Soph especially alarmed her mother, who instigated her institutionalization, prompting Craddock to flee to England. Championed by editors William T. Stead and Moses Harman, she set up shop in New York City as a marital counselor. Her frank-speaking pamphlets, including “Letter to a Prospective Bride” and “The Wedding Night,” were swiftly snatched up in Comstock’s anti-pornography crusade, spelling Craddock’s untimely demise.

A colorful contextual study of Craddock and her teeming era.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-465-00298-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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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

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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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