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THE PHOENIX YEARS

ART, RESISTANCE, AND THE MAKING OF MODERN CHINA

An illuminating chronicle of several generations of resilient and beleaguered Chinese artists, with minibiographies, a...

A well-grounded survey of the incredible courage of Chinese artists since the first flowering of the late 1970s and subsequent crackdowns.

O’Dea, an Australian journalist who has traveled to and lived in China during the past three decades and founded ArtInfo China, first befriended Chinese artists in the late 1980s and followed their tumultuous trajectory during the years since. Here, she chronicles the lives of nine people, moving from China’s “great experiment in ‘opening up and reform’ ” in 1986, when the rehabilitated leader Deng Xiaoping, courted by the U.S. since meeting Jimmy Carter in 1979, first embarked on liberalizing reforms and artists embraced the whiff of freedom, through the tragedy of the crackdown after the Tiananmen Square revolution of 1989 and to the present embrace of forgetting and economic pragmatism. Before there was 1989, O’Dea reminds us, there was 1976, when an earlier drive for democratic action erupted in Tiananmen Square after the death of Mao Zedong, the earthquake of Tangshan, and the public mourning of the death of Premier Zhou Enlai. Many of the artists who exploded in personal expression in 1976 had been teenage Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution who were inculcated in stamping out “bourgeois liberalism” and terrorizing their teachers. Artists like Huang Rui and Mang Ke, as well as the artists calling themselves the “Stars,” created a newsletter that was eventually shut down by Deng’s regime. The author also looks at the effects of the Sino-Vietnamese War—not often discussed in China—and the “very heaven” conditions that fostered artistic freedom in the 1980s, as people began to pull themselves out of poverty. Like the death of Zhou in 1976, the death of reformer Hu Yaobang in April 1989 sparked widespread demonstrations, and the political consequences were dire, creating essentially another generation of forgetting.

An illuminating chronicle of several generations of resilient and beleaguered Chinese artists, with minibiographies, a helpful timeline, and extensive notes.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68177-527-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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