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INSIDE HANOI'S SECRET ARCHIVE

SOLVING THE MIA MYSTERY

A timely and well-presented work that seeks to dispel the myth that there are still American POWs held in Southeast Asia. Reader's Digest editor McConnell, who often writes on military and governmental affairs (Just Cause, 1991, etc.), provides another in a recent spate of books (see Prisoners of Hope, p. 1246) that convincingly debunk the assumption that Vietnam, for reasons known only to itself, continues to hold US servicemen prisoner more than 20 years after American withdrawal. This assumption has fed a cottage industry that preys on the families of those soldiers still unaccounted for. Today more than 2,000 are officially listed as missing in action. In reality, both sides know that these persons are dead. Using research gathered by Schweitzer, the first American to gain access to Vietnamese army records concerning POWs and MIAs as part of a quasi-official ``backdoor'' intelligence operation known as ``Swamp Ranger,'' McConnell documents a truth that is far more banal than the arcane conspiracy theories peddled by MIA organizations and some members of Congress. The US is unable to declare the remaining missing as lost because of overly stringent identification standards established as a result of intense lobbying by some of the families of those on the MIA list. The Vietnamese government has been unwilling to officially release information in its possession that could resolve matters because it fears a loss of face, since it declared early on that it had made available a full accounting. The situation in Hanoi has been complicated by bureaucratic wrangling between civilian officials and the military over who will control the information. The reality is that truth sells less well than hopeful, provocative fiction. Access to Vietnamese records makes this the definitive closure of a sad chapter in American history and must reading for all those interested in the topic.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 1995

ISBN: 0-671-87118-8

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1994

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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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