Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

The Belles of Williamsburg

THE COURTSHIP CORRESPONDENCE OF ELIZA FISK HARWOOD AND TRISTRIM LOWTHER SKINNER 1839-1849

An invaluable glimpse into the people and society (and two young lovers’ hearts) of the antebellum South.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A collection of letters between two young members (future husband and wife) of the landed elite of the South in the decades preceding the Civil War.

When, in 1839, vivacious 12-year-old Eliza Fisk Harwood embarked on a correspondence with her friend Tristrim “Trim” Skinner, a vast epistolary record was set in motion that culminated in their marriage on Feb. 19, 1849. Maillard, the volume’s editor, calls one letter in this collection “a key to Williamsburg’s gentry in the 1840s” but “an interlinear mess, a transcriber’s nightmare.” All give a vivid sense of culture, time, and place. Both Eliza and Trim came from families who were long-standing members of Southern aristocracy, and they were brought together when Trim, coming to Williamsburg to attend his freshman year at the College of William and Mary, took up lodgings at Tazewell Hall, the home of Mary Ann and Dickie Galt and their 11-year-old ward, Eliza, to whom the Galts were “entirely devoted.” Trim and Eliza became close friends, and in a few years, according to Maillard’s persuasive reading of the documents, friendship deepened into romantic love. In 1845, after a series of relationship vicissitudes, the two experienced what Maillard refers to as “the shift from familial friendship to courtship ritual”—and a large part of that ritual consisted of these eloquent and often curiously distant-seeming letters, a correspondence that reads at times like “both a society column and a social register.” We get letter after letter of Eliza’s detailing her social life, her family life, and vacations as well as lively anecdotes about people and the weather. In an 1845 letter, for example, she writes with playful sarcasm about how it makes her eyes “flash fire” to see a friend entertaining more beaus than she herself has; “I try to bear it with Christian fortitude,” she drolly reports. Trim’s slightly plodding responses tend toward more somber reminders to her of his “heart’s first wish.” In one letter from 1846, for instance, he stolidly reflects on a Christmas present he hopes to receive: “One of the blessing[s] which I covet, and which I hope you will not be unwilling for me to attain, is a more regular correspondence with you.” And Maillard throughout performs her editorial duties with an unobtrusive thoroughness that will make this a required reference work for the period.

An invaluable glimpse into the people and society (and two young lovers’ hearts) of the antebellum South.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 497

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

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.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

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

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

Close Quickview