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THE WORLD

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

A valiant attempt, with many fruitful insights, to help fashion citizens capable of sound independent judgments.

The president of the Council on Foreign Relations presents “the basics of what you need to know about the world, to make you more globally literate.”

In a follow-up to A World in Disarray (2017), Haass, a former diplomat and adviser for both George H.W. Bush and Colin Powell, examines “the ideas, issues, and institutions essential for a basic understanding of the world.” Though he focuses primarily on the era beginning with the Thirty Years’ War, the author references ancient history when it sheds light on contemporary circumstances. Haass takes a rather middle-of-the-road approach, trying to describe the mechanics of political science and global affairs in a way that provides context and perspective in writing that moves at a lively clip, both compact and inviting. Although he covers all the regions of the world, the lion’s share of the attention goes to, in descending order, Europe, North America, Asia, and everywhere else. The author explores the way things work, or don’t, in the political sphere: How do various state actors contend with terrorism? Did nuclear proliferation ever serve a positive role? Will cybercrime turn the internet on its head? Where are global health and trade headed? Will alliances and coalitions ever be enough to ensure global order? How do we best navigate the increasing effects of climate change? Throughout, Haass tries to track certain historical trajectories, with mixed success. During a discussion of the post–Cold War era, he writes, “no one would have the ability—and few would have the desire—to challenge the primacy of the United States given its tradition, with some exceptions, of not seeking to impose its will on others.” A strong case can be made for the primacy of “exceptions.” In covering so much territory in so little space, Haass can’t help but do a lot of skimming, though the lacunae are beguiling enough to make readers seek out deeper investigations into certain topics—and the author’s “Where To Go For More” section is a good start.

A valiant attempt, with many fruitful insights, to help fashion citizens capable of sound independent judgments.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-56239-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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.

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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