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FIRE

Deeply affecting stories of a ruthless world, natural and man-made, that will leave you stunned and distraught.

Run-for-cover writing from scary places, by Junger (A Perfect Storm, 1997), a man with an appetite for the ragged edge of life and the ability to write about it with restrained power.

The ten pieces in this collection of magazine articles, one of which won a National Magazine Award for Reporting, have the authentic tang of dispatches from the front. Junger might be considered a bit of an adrenaline junkie because of the situations he puts himself into, but as for being in someone’s gunsight: “there was nothing exciting about it, nothing even abstractly interesting. It was purely, exclusively bad.” What comes across here is the writer’s overpowering sense of awe at the events he describes. He writes with a pressure-cooker urgency, though with the lid firmly in place: no screeching high notes here, but the steady, awful thrum of things going out of control and death standing by. He tells of the intimations that smoke-jumpers feel when the woods they are in are about to explode into flame, and of the survival instincts followed by a man kidnapped with a group of trekkers by Kashmiri guerrillas who allow him alone to live. A good number of the pieces are situated in Kosovo, where the slaughter of Albanians by Serbians is without mercy or bounds. Most remarkable are Junger’s accounts of such places where all moral referents are severely out of alignment, having only hours before shifted from everyday life and begun a whirling descent into madness. Sierra Leone is a good example: being shot by a diamond-smuggling, AK-47–toting, drug-crazed teenager is just a daily precaution one guards against, like typhus or dysentery.

Deeply affecting stories of a ruthless world, natural and man-made, that will leave you stunned and distraught.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-393-01046-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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