DOUGLASS AND LINCOLN

HOW A REVOLUTIONARY BLACK LEADER AND A RELUCTANT LIBERATOR STRUGGLED TO END SLAVERY AND SAVE THE UNION

A wise and sensitive appreciation of the intersecting careers of two giants of American history.

An insightful look at the sometimes uneasy collaboration, between the agitator and the emancipator, to end slavery and win the Civil War.

Had Lincoln died in 1857, the undistinguished, one-term ex-congressman and prairie lawyer would have been barely a footnote to history. Not so Frederick Douglass. By then, Douglass’s escape from slavery, his autobiography and his extensive lecturing had made him an international figure, perhaps the era’s foremost abolitionist. Amidst threats of Southern secession, Douglass declined to support Lincoln’s 1860 presidential bid, calling him “an excellent slave hound.” Douglass presciently assessed the contours of the coming Civil War (during which he met Lincoln three times) and saw how the “inexorable logic of events” would propel most of his activist agenda. Though slow to emancipate, reluctant to employ black troops and unwilling to make any firm commitment to giving the black man voting rights, Lincoln followed through on all, sometimes with Douglass’s advice and help. By 1864, Lincoln regarded Douglass as perhaps “the most meritorious man in the United States.” Understanding if not approving of Lincoln’s political high-wire act and recognizing that neither emancipation nor military victory was ever preordained, Douglass came to view the president as “swift, zealous, radical, and determined.” The Kendricks (Sarah’s Long Walk: The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America, 2004) beautifully assess the political and moral, and often conflicting, agendas of each man, but they excel, particularly in their treatment of Douglass, at personalizing one of the history’s most unlikely and effective political alliances. Along with James Oakes’s estimable The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (2007), the Kendricks testify to the increasing interest in and historical imperative for linking in the popular imagination these two intensely private, entirely self-made men.

A wise and sensitive appreciation of the intersecting careers of two giants of American history.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8027-1523-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2007

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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

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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