THE GLORIOUS AMERICAN ESSAY

ONE HUNDRED ESSAYS FROM COLONIAL TIMES TO THE PRESENT

A thoughtfully edited volume that reflects America’s changing social, political, and cultural life.

Four centuries of essays testify to the richness of the form.

In the first of a projected three volumes of collected essays, Lopate offers what he justifiably calls “a smorgasbord of treats, a place to begin to sample the endless riches of the American essay”: 100 essays from the 18th to the 21st centuries, from Cotton Mather to Zadie Smith. Volume 2, The Golden Age of the American Essay, will focus on the years 1945-2000, and Volume 3 will be dedicated to pieces from the 21st century. Many writers included here are likely to be familiar to readers but perhaps not to the students for whom this collection seems aimed, with its informative introduction, succinct headnotes, and contents organized by both theme and form. George Washington is represented by his Farewell Address; Emerson, by “Experience”; Margaret Fuller, by an excerpt from Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Thoreau rings in, predictably, with “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”; Henry James, with “The Art of Fiction”; Jane Addams, with a piece on settlement houses; William James, with “What Makes a Life Significant?” Some essays—such as Dorothy Parker’s musings on people notable for their goodness and James Thurber’s on men’s idealizing of women—seem dusty, if not dated, although Fanny Fern’s dryly satirical “Delightful Men,” from 1870, has lost none of its bite. Essays that consider race, ethnicity, disability, social justice, and sexual orientation make the collection timely. In “The Homosexual Villain,” written for a gay magazine in 1955, Norman Mailer candidly reveals the experiences and readings that transformed his bias against gay men. “My God, homosexuals are people too,” he realized suddenly. Among the many other notable contributors are Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, M.F.K. Fisher, James Baldwin, Rachel Carson, and Jamaica Kincaid.

. A thoughtfully edited volume that reflects America’s changing social, political, and cultural life.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4726-8

Page Count: 928

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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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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A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

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The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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