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HELL AND GOOD COMPANY

THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR AND THE WORLD IT MADE

This is not one of Rhodes' major works, but it is an interesting collection of observations on an iconic war that the good...

Readers who pay attention to the preface will look elsewhere for a definitive history of the Spanish Civil War, but there are plenty of good reasons to continue with this one.

Veteran, prizewinning historian Rhodes (Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, 2011, etc.) delivers a fairly superficial account of the fighting as a backdrop for insightful digressions into the war’s medicine, art and journalism. Foreign volunteers organized and staffed dozens of hospitals whose doctors and nurses worked under appalling conditions and then often went on to write about their experiences. The author extols the many medical advances, which vastly benefited wounded soldiers in future wars. A Spanish doctor, Frederic Durán-Jordà, organized the world’s first mobile transfusion service, which, expanded by legendary Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune, collected and distributed blood to the wounded near the front. Rhodes pauses regularly to describe the Spanish artists working at the time (Picasso and others), whose paintings immortalized the suffering of their people. Even more familiar is the flood of foreign supporters of the Republic who came to fight (George Orwell, Andre Malraux) or report (Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Herbert Mathews). Some of the fighters wrote books now considered classics—e.g., George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia (1938). Nowadays, few read the reportage that emphasized the war’s horrors, Franco’s atrocities and the courage of the Spanish people. It produced widespread sympathy among the democracies, save for their governments, which steadfastly refused to get involved. History has not been kind to their version of events.

This is not one of Rhodes' major works, but it is an interesting collection of observations on an iconic war that the good guys lost but which produced important cultural and therapeutic advances.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4516-9621-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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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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