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INDIGENOUS CONTINENT

THE EPIC CONTEST FOR NORTH AMERICA

An essential work of Indigenous studies that calls for rethinking North American history generally.

A vigorous, provocative study of Native American history by one of its most accomplished practitioners.

Finnish historian Hämäläinen, professor of American history at Oxford, is a noted student of Native American systems of governance and commerce. In this follow-up to Lakota America, the author focuses on the long war between Indigenous peoples and alliances with the European colonial powers. “By 1776,” he writes, “various European colonial powers together claimed nearly all of the continent for themselves, but Indigenous peoples and powers controlled it.” That changed following the Revolutionary War, when Americans began to spill over the Appalachians, spreading the American empire at the expense of empires maintained by such various peoples as the Comanche, Lakota, and Shoshone. Hämäläinen uses the idea of Indigenous empires advisedly. With solid archaeological support, he ventures that the great Ancestral Puebloan stone building called Pueblo Bonito could very well have been built by slave labor, while at Cahokia, near present-day St. Louis, the “commercial hinterland extended from the Great Lakes to the Gulf coast and the Appalachians,” constituting a vast, complex trade network. Against railroads and repeating rifles, such empires tumbled; against miscomprehension and assumption, peace was out of the question from the very beginning. The table was barely cleared at the first Thanksgiving when the newly arrived Puritans “thought that the sachem”—the hereditary leader of the Wampanoag Confederacy—“could be reduced to a subject of the king of England.” It didn’t help that these Native empires were often pitted against each other until reservations and small corners of the continent were all that was left—those and the Canadian subarctic, which long after “endured as an Indigenous world.” Even then, however, “it was not an Indigenous paradise; the contest for furs, guns, and merchandise fueled chronic animosities, collisions, and open wars.” Throughout, the author resurrects important yet often obscured history, creating a masterful narrative that demands close consideration.

An essential work of Indigenous studies that calls for rethinking North American history generally.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63149-699-8

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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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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