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THE PURSUIT OF POWER

EUROPE 1815-1914

An immensely readable work that considers incremental continental developments up to the outbreak of war in 1914.

A 100-year survey of European history that moves by transnational themes emphasizing “power”—over industrialization, class, selfhood, wages, and nature.

In this sweeping survey, accomplished British historian Evans (Emeritus, History/Univ. of Cambridge; The Third Reich in History and Memory, 2015, etc.), a winner of the Wolfson History Prize, does not neglect the convulsive changes that occurred among the nonelite across Europe. His forte is his emphasis on how the Republican ideals ignited by the French Revolution, promulgated and corrupted by Napoleon and severely suppressed in many places afterward, never died among a growing class of proletariat and “petty bourgeoisie” (e.g., in France) who were “dissatisfied with the authoritarian policies of the Restoration.” While the European powers were reorganizing after the Congress of Vienna, the revolutionary genie was out of the bottle, as evidenced by the subsequent Decembrist uprising in Russia, the Polish officers’ insurrection, the movement for Greek independence, and the July Revolution of 1830, among others, all creating ramifications that would explode by midcentury. With the emancipation of the serfs—Alexander II’s rationale was that it was “better to abolish serfdom from above, than to wait until the serfs begin to liberate themselves from below”—many faced new economic hardships (e.g., the decline of the sharecropping system) leading to peasant revolts and famine since most people lived on the land and depended on it for survival. Pauperism increased (see: the Irish famine) and, with the conquering of “rail, steam, and speed,” the European working class rose as well. With the advent of the “second Industrial Revolution,” the British imperial lead declined, and the German economy took center stage. With the urbanization of Europe, Evans meticulously follows the accompanying developments in culture—in literature (Charles Dickens’ novels), the adoption of the metric system, the Dreyfus Affair, and the general “shrinkage of space.”

An immensely readable work that considers incremental continental developments up to the outbreak of war in 1914.  

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-02457-5

Page Count: 928

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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