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TILTING AT MILLS

GREEN DREAMS, DIRTY DEALINGS, AND THE CORPORATE SQUEEZE

Of much interest to environmentalists, community planners, and policy wonks.

Create a clean, green paper mill in the heart of New York, adding jobs and dollars to a failing economy? Rare is the good idea that is realized without being made somehow less good.

Or good and dead. So former New Yorker staffer Harris (Rules of Engagement, 1995, etc.) proves in this thoroughgoing account of good intentions, white papers, backroom dealing, and, in the end, sabotage. The hero of the tale is 30-ish Allen Hershkowitz, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council who by dint of hard study and work had made himself one of the world’s leading authorities on recycling technologies. Inspired in part by the saga of the Mobro, a New York City garbage scow that in 1987 sailed the high seas seeking a place to deposit its noxious cargo, Hershkowitz concocted a plan by which an essentially abandoned plot of land in the Bronx could be remade into an environmentally progressive factory for de-inking and recycling used paper, which accounted for nearly half of the contents of America’s overflowing landfills and was New York’s biggest export. Hershkowitz recruited a stellar host of allies and even persuaded Maya Lin to design the new factory. But enter an opposing army of special interests, from NIMBY (and sometimes crooked) neighborhood associations to trade unions, from the mayor’s office (Rudy Giuliani comes in for a good shellacking here) to competing paper companies, all bent on either seizing a piece of the action or making sure that the Bronx Community Paper Company is stillborn. As the narrative unfolds, Hershkowitz’s idea is bled dry by a thousand paper cuts, an excruciating torture. Overly laden with detail, Harris’s account has its torturous moments as well, but in the end it adds up to a pointed case study in the conflicting priorities and unforeseen foes that any do-gooder is likely to face in advancing a just cause.

Of much interest to environmentalists, community planners, and policy wonks.

Pub Date: March 11, 2003

ISBN: 0-395-98417-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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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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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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