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THE VOTING WARS

FROM FLORIDA 2000 TO THE NEXT ELECTION MELTDOWN

An astute but not terribly encouraging outline of the partisanship of election boards and the jockeying for power among...

Loyola Law School professor Hasen (The Supreme Court and Election Law, 2003, etc.) keeps us current as he catalogs the old horrors and contests and new laws involved in the U.S. election process.

Since the 2000 election, the 24-hour news cycle and computer-driven results have caused more contested elections than ever before. Especially notable are the Minnesota Senate race of 2008 and Wisconsin’s Supreme Court elections in 2011. The Wisconsin election hinged on the returns that the head election official had forgotten on her personal laptop and a local elections board official who didn’t “understand anything about computers.” Minnesota’s Coleman v. Franken took nine months to resolve, but as the author compares it to Florida in 2000, he notes that Minnesota’s superior handling was due to bipartisanship and transparency as well as the “niceness factor.” The cries of voter fraud that accompany every election rarely end in convictions, and Hasen points out that voter fraud is not worth the effort since the advent of the secret ballot. Selling votes only works with absentee ballots; the problem is that many of those ballots are never even counted. Republican demands for fraud prosecution that resulted in the firing of nine sttorneys brought attention to the partisan drive to control voting. The new voter ID laws in multiple states show just how far that control extends.

An astute but not terribly encouraging outline of the partisanship of election boards and the jockeying for power among local, state and federal officials.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-300-18203-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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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