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THE PARTY

THE SECRET WORLD OF CHINA’S COMMUNIST RULERS

An astute, well-crafted work that should be enormously useful in understanding China’s role in the world.

A remarkably in-depth infiltration of the shadowy organization of Chinese leadership.

Expert observers of China’s astounding economic explosion do not agree on what kind of model the country seems to be following: Is it Western, Eastern or something entirely of its own making? In this careful study, McGregor, former China bureau chief at the Financial Times, asserts that just “under the hood” of the Chinese model is the classic “Leninist playbook” embracing the “three pillars of its survival strategy: control of personnel, propaganda and the People’s Liberation Army [PLA].” The author examines each in turn, using archival material and a skillful deployment of interview subjects, including a provincial member of the “Central Organization Department,” which oversees appointments and maintains files on all top-level officials in the public sector. McGregor manages to penetrate the “pathological secrecy” surrounding the inner workings of Chinese power, exploring how the leadership has managed to loosen and gain control at the same time (“grasp the big, let go of the small”), both in terms of businesses and the private lives of the Chinese people. After the debacle of Tiananmen Square in 1989, which ushered in a nationwide mood of democracy, the PLA was purged and modernized, at huge expense. Emerging as “an instrument of international statecraft for China,” it continues to employ hostility toward Taiwan as a useful way of holding down an anti-imperialist threat. The author delves into corruption—and the accepted belief that one must employ corruption to be successful—the cut-throat “Darwinian internal competition” within the far-flung localities, recent product scandals such as Sanlu’s tainted infant formula and attempts at confronting the tragedy of the Cultural Revolution.

An astute, well-crafted work that should be enormously useful in understanding China’s role in the world.

Pub Date: June 8, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-170877-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2010

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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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