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STRIKE SWIFTLY!

THE 70TH TANK BATTALION FROM NORTH AFRICA TO NORMANDY TO GERMANY

During WW II, Jensen served as a cook in the bivouac of a potent tank battalion. His first book is a proud history of the unit and, not incidentally, a tribute to his friends at the front. The men of the 70th Tank Battalion fought from Tunis and Sicily to Normandy on D-Day. Then, through the hazardous Norman hedgerows to the glory of Paris on Liberation Day, from the Seigfried Line into the Battle of the Bulge, often advancing beyond their maps, they were an integral part of bloody, cosmic events. Jensen records the details, including the symbiotic kinship of the tankmen and the infantry. We learn the difference in handling a light tank and a medium one. He notes the functions of quartermaster and ordnance, field kitchen and graves registration. Official records, action reports, citations, and other historical sources are marshaled to record events in the life of the battalion (like the surrender of some 20,000 Germans to its A Company, consisting of just 134 men). But the personal journals and letters and many interviews with veterans of the 70th are the most powerful evidence of military prowess coupled with basic humanity. Jensen's debriefing is almost pedestrian, merging minor events and high drama. Yet it is a matter-of-fact record of unsurpassed comradeship and courage. By the last page, these tales of bravery become a powerful evocation of the world's last good war. For this military history, a feeling for the difference between a squad and a division or a carbine and a howitzer might be helpful but is certainly not required. It's a simple text of a harrowing time when men fought, not for a flag, but for their brothers-in-arms and their honor and then went—those who survived- -home again. (maps and photos, not seen)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-89141-610-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Presidio/Random

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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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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