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NO BETTER FRIEND

ONE MAN, ONE DOG, AND THEIR EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF COURAGE AND SURVIVAL IN WWII

Weintraub’s research on the prisoners’ experiences in the camps is remarkable as he narrates Judy and Frank’s heroic tale.

An unusual and moving story of a singular hero among fellow POWs of the Japanese during World War II: a loyal British pointer named Judy.

With bite and substance, Slate columnist Weintraub (The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age, 2013, etc.) chronicles Judy’s incredible life. Two British soldiers initially adopted her as a mascot for the HMS Gnat, which patrolled the Yangtze River, and she went on to a highly dangerous and decorated career with her captured crew. As a puppy at the Shanghai Dog Kennels, Judy (adapted from her Chinese given name, Shudi, meaning “peaceful”) got kicked around by the invading Japanese sailors, so she learned early on aboard the Gnat who her friends were. The men adored her, and although she was not properly trained as a “gun dog,” pointing at game, she became invaluable for her early warnings of danger. In telling Judy’s adventures, as she was moved from Singapore to a stint in several miserable Japanese POW camps in the Dutch East Indies, Weintraub delineates the plight of the British sailors who took care of her and kept her safe. With the fall of Singapore in early 1942, a massive evacuation was undertaken in Keppel Harbor, from which many refugee boats took off but few survived the strafing by Japanese planes. Miraculously, Judy survived, but she was captured by the Japanese. In captivity, she met the man who would become her lifetime master, Londoner Frank Williams, formerly of the Merchant Navy, who was too tall to fly but worked in mechanics and radar. By mutual trust and aid, dog and man survived several brutal Japanese camps together, braving hunger, sadistic guards, snakes, and tigers.

Weintraub’s research on the prisoners’ experiences in the camps is remarkable as he narrates Judy and Frank’s heroic tale.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-33706-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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  • National Book Award Finalist

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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