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MAKING MONTE CARLO

A HISTORY OF SPECULATION AND SPECTACLE

A well-researched, dramatic rags-to-riches urban tale.

A story of how one city attained spectacular wealth and luxury.

In his first book, about “how we create places largely through the stories we tell about them,” Braude (History and Urban Studies/Stanford Univ.) takes us on a brisk historical tour of the marketing and selling of the small principality of Monaco and its famous city. At just under 500 acres, about half the size of Central Park, it had few resources, but it did have a beautiful mountain setting and a majestic Mediterranean harbor. After being tossed around by the Greeks, Romans, and various tribes, it finally became Monaco in 1297. In 1855, when Princess Caroline decided it might find success with a casino, Prince Florestan legalized gambling—the only country along Europe’s southern coast to do so. When it added a spa resort as a “façade,” it was ready to welcome the world to gambling. After the casino license was sold to the Blanc brothers, successful entrepreneurs from Germany, they had the municipality’s name changed to Monte Carlo. They opened Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo in 1858, and François Blanc did a masterful job of publicizing it, especially via international newspaper print advertising. People first experienced the resort “from a distance, as an abstract idea rather than a reality.” A new railway made the resort’s pleasures easily accessible, and in 1924, Jean Cocteau and Serge Diaghilev’s Le Train bleu added to Monte Carlo’s luster. A sickly Karl Marx, who detested gambling, came because his doctor prescribed it. A famous gambler also came and lost, and the popular song about him, “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo,” added to the resort’s mystique. William Vanderbilt and J.P. Morgan arrived on their yachts, Edvard Munch came to paint, and Oscar Wilde escaped legal woes. A Sporting Club was added, and in 1911, the city had its first Automobile Rally—spectacle indeed.

A well-researched, dramatic rags-to-riches urban tale.

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0969-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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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