A fresh, compelling read for fans of true crime and slowly unfolding mysteries.

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PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS

THE TRUE STORY OF A YOUNG WOMAN WHO VANISHED FROM THE STREETS OF TOKYO--AND THE EVIL THAT SWALLOWED HER UP

Haunting story of a murder in Tokyo in 2000.

In the summer of that year, a 21-year-old British woman, Lucie Blackman, disappeared while on a date. Seven months later her remains were found in a seaside cave. Times (London) Tokyo bureau chief Parry (In the Time of Madness: Indonesia on the Edge of Chaos, 2005) paints portraits of both the victim and perpetrator, exploring how Blackman’s past led her to Japan to find work as a “hostess,” a little-understood profession with murky boundaries that defies easy explanation. In describing the months spent hunting for signs of the missing woman, Parry gives readers an inside view of the Tokyo police force. The Blackman family was a constant presence in Tokyo during the search. By explaining their unhappy dealings with the police, use of media appearances to keep attention on the case, and increasingly desperate attempts to find answers, Parry gives the story an extra sense of depth and urgency. The account of the trial of Joji Obara, Blackman’s mystery date, serves as a window not just into Obara’s mind, but also into Japan’s legal system. While much of his life remains a mystery, the author sheds some light on Obara’s character through family history and Obara’s participation in his defense. Though Parry is a journalist, this book often has the feel of a memoir. In the beginning, this disturbs the flow of the narrative, but eventually the author becomes one of the characters and the asides become an enjoyable part of the story.

A fresh, compelling read for fans of true crime and slowly unfolding mysteries.

Pub Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-23059-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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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