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THE SPIRIT OF '74

HOW THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION BEGAN

The authors shine a light on a dark corner of the struggle for American independence.

A well-conceived work of popular history that fills a gap in the chronology of the American Revolution.

The period between the Boston Tea Party, which took place at the end of 1773, and the first revolutionary battles at Lexington and Concord, which took place in April 1775, is unknown to most general readers and often overlooked even by professional historians’ accounts of the Revolutionary War. Yet they were crucial, as Ray (Founding Myths, 2014, etc.) and Marie Raphael (A Boy from Ireland, 2007, etc.) ably document. Tea, write the authors, was but one of five goods on which Parliament levied taxes, but while it backed off on the other four, it held to tea as a more-than-symbolic gesture of imperial power that “became the symbol of its oppressive policies.” While Parliament debated what to do about the upstarts in Boston, colonial committees and militias formed in more or less open rebellion. More important, during the 16-month gap, the rebels formed the basis of independent government. As the Raphaels write, when their rejection of British suzerainty placed the people of Worcester County, Massachusetts, in a so-called state of nature or mere anarchy, they stepped up and figured out how to rule themselves: “That the Worcester County Convention presumed it could appoint men to government posts, although it possessed no legal claim to do so, was in and of itself revolutionary.” The period also revealed divisions in Colonial society. In Massachusetts, loyalists tended to cluster near fall-line cities while revolutionaries abounded in the western counties. Radicals and moderates argued about what to do with the newly formed militias even as formerly restrained British garrisons began to itch with punitive desire and Colonial governor Thomas Gage came to regard the colonists “for what they now were, near enemies”—and enemies who were better prepared for war than the British authorities imagined.

The authors shine a light on a dark corner of the struggle for American independence.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62097-126-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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