TIME OF THE MAGICIANS

WITTGENSTEIN, BENJAMIN, CASSIRER, HEIDEGGER, AND THE DECADE THAT REINVENTED PHILOSOPHY

An exemplary work of scholarship that is comprehensible to everyone.

A readable, expert introduction to some of the most abstruse yet influential philosophical thought of the 20th century.

No quartet of contemporaneous philosophers ever had a greater impact on popular thinking, as well as on formal thought, than the figures whom Eilenberger terms “magicians.” That word is the single slip-up (and a minor one) in this enthralling tale of four men whose fresh consideration of thought, sign, and language—variously termed phenomenology, semiotics, linguistics, and epistemology—revolutionized serious philosophical thought in the decade after World War I. Ably translated by Whiteside, Eilenberger’s book is the kind of limpid presentation of Continental philosophical expression rare in books about the subject. It’s an achievement that has already won plaudits and prizes abroad. That’s no doubt due to the author’s own professional standing as a philosopher, but it also owes much to his approach: a multilayered exploration of the lives and thoughts of four very different thinkers at a time when Western and Central Europe struggled to emerge from war and economic crisis before slipping into the horrors of Nazism. The imposing Ludwig Wittgenstein, the hapless Walter Benjamin, the always troubling Martin Heidegger, and the steady, placid Ernst Cassirer emerge from Eilenberger’s portrait as formidable minds attached to flawed personalities whose sometimes barely comprehensible formulations nevertheless transformed the way human understanding is now seen by philosophers. The book’s special value lies in greatly advancing accessibility to these men’s works and thought. So clear and sometimes jaunty is Eilenberger that no reader will miss out from understanding the narrative. One can complain only that he, too, rarely makes known his own views. Otherwise, his lucid presentation of his characters’ often hard-to-comprehend thinking and the muddy language in which they expressed it make this book invaluable for anyone seeking to learn about these extraordinary figures.

An exemplary work of scholarship that is comprehensible to everyone. (16-page b/w photo insert)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55966-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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