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MIDNIGHT IN CAIRO

THE DIVAS OF EGYPT'S ROARING '20S

A lively and original story of modern Egypt told through the lives of its first generation of women celebrities.

A vibrant history of Cairo’s women-dominated cultural landscape between the wars.

As Cormack shows in this singular work of scholarship, Cairo in the 1920s and ’30s was a unique milieu in which women could excel as proudly feminist artists and entrepreneurs. Moving chronologically, the author, who holds a doctorate in Egyptian theater and has written extensively about Arabic culture, drills down on the neighborhood of Ezbekiyya, especially along Emad al-Din Street, where bars, restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment establishments flourished from roughly the turn of the 20th century to the 1950s. This is where Europeans—many of whom descended from 19th-century colonizers—mingled with the locals. During the 1919 revolution, “an example of unprecedented national unity,” women played prominent roles. While women artists and performers endured numerous unfair stereotypes, the author ably shows their significance to the cultural scene. Via a dozen or so minibiographies of these fascinating, talented women, many of whom rose from humble beginnings—as well as scores of contextualizing photos—Cormack makes the convincing case that “at its core, this was a group of women demanding to be heard as they asserted their wishes, claimed their rights, and made space for themselves.” Shining examples abound: Munira al-Mahdiya, thriving in the new genre called “taqtuqa” (a light, popular song), was “the first women in Egypt to lead a theatrical troupe.” Rose al-Youssef, “one of the most famous actresses in Egypt,” started a magazine that served as an important source of information on Cairo’s nightlife. Fatima Rushdi became known as the “Sarah Bernhardt of the East.” Oum Kalthoum “is the singer now remembered worldwide as the most popular icon in the history of Arabic music.” Cormack also examines Aziza Amir’s Layla (1927), which was considered “the first Egyptian film.”

A lively and original story of modern Egypt told through the lives of its first generation of women celebrities.

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-393-54113-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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.

Awards & Accolades

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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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