Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon

The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Book - 2017
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

"Disturbing and riveting...It will sear your soul." --Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West--where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the "Phantom Terror," roamed--many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization's first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385534246
0385534248
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 Grann 2017
Characteristics: x, 338 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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m
m0k1m3
Oct 15, 2017

This book! Just gripped me and ripped me. Whew. Great story telling/writing. Kept having to remind myself it was not fiction. Sure shows the "underbelly" of white-folk --- but the good shines through like jewels in a stream.

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EmilyEm
Oct 08, 2017

The Burkhart sisters were among the Osage families with headrights to fabulous wealth in oil-rich Osage County, OK, in the 1920s. They were also targets of unscrupulous behavior by their non-Indian neighbors and local, state and federal government entities. The deaths were a dark, dark conspiracy.

Page-turning good, even if the J. Edgar Hoover plot line sometimes seems to take the book off track. I felt such empathy for Mollie Burkhardt and admiration for dogged Tom White of the FBI who built the case to bring the killers to justice.

b
brangwinn
Sep 19, 2017

Although at times, the book felt drawn out, it remained true to the struggle of the fledgling FBI to solve the mystery of deaths on the Osage nation in Oklahoma. After reading the details of these multiple murders, I’m surprised I’ve never heard of the story before. Just the historical information about the mistreatment of the Osage made the book worth reading.

s
stevie22
Aug 15, 2017

What a well written book. Not one for mysteries and legal writings, I couldn't put this book down. To put it simply I was shocked to learn and read about this "Reign of Terror". The cold calculating implementation of systematic killings of spouses, relatives and generations of Osage. How jealous politicians and others went to such extremes to steal tribal riches. Yet another sadistic and disturbing statement about the treatment and lack of honoring commitments to tribal nations. A must read.

s
stayfocus212
Aug 12, 2017

What an extraordinary read! The sad "truth" is that not much has changed during that past time of events. The murderous acts are still present...more clever and unpredictable (i.e. strategic brain washing, crippling the independecy of the the people in the Western part of the globe, and doing it all for the love and gain of wealth and power which leads to complete control and domination. How many of you celebrate "Thanksgiving Day" and really accept that is represents the sole definition of evil (to lie, steal, cheat, and destroy). The foundation of gaining the so called "American Dream" is to trespass on others property land without permission, be falsely kind in a seductive manner, then murder, rape, and kill for whatever you desire to have in your possession, abuse the remaining that didn't die fighting for their land, families, and lifestyle until their spirit is broken, give them a choice to either choose death or choose your ways,which also means don't allow them to speak their native language, practice their native religion, ect. Inject them with measels and other diseases, give them booze, ect.

Now ask yourself is what you've just read opinionated or factual? Do you want to accept it or not? Wheter you all accept or not, it's still going on and will reamin to until ALL is judged.

PimaLib_MaryG Jul 27, 2017

This well-written account of one of the most appalling chapters in the history of the on-going genocide of Native Americans held my interest from beginning to end. Extremely well researched. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

t
TechWriter1
Jul 22, 2017

The story of the Osage people and the Reign of Terror they suffered at the hands of greedy whites is compelling. It is another slice of American History that we should all be aware of; an example of the horrible treatment Native American people have received through the centuries. The origins of the FBI part of the story is less compelling. There is enough to get a sense of the transitions in law enforcement and justice during the early 20th century but there is not enough to get a complete understanding of the beginning of the FBI.

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eiokeeffe
Jul 20, 2017

This book is not for the faint-hearted. Revealing a story about men who married in order to inherit the oil fortune from the soon to be deceased brides and their relations, it shows us the depths of human depravity and greed. Mr Grann does not skimp on the grisly details and it amazes me that this story was all but forgotten. It was not forgotten, however, by the descendants of the survivors. In focusing on these people at the end of his narrative, the author honors the memory of the victims. Including the haunting portraits of some of them added poignancy.

The triangular structure of the book was an interesting idea. In the first part we learn of the victims, the crimes and the land. In the second the judicial system's activities to bring the perpetrators to justice. And then in the third we learn how much justice was never achieved. This oversight was due largely to institutional racism. And when I reflected on the reluctance of the jury to apply the death penalty to Indian killers, I began to wonder how many of those jurors were killers themselves.

Mr. Grann took the unusual path of including a narrative about his own journey through this thicket of horror. I think this makes the book all the more compelling. A first person account is always more vivid and I am grateful that he took the chance.

r
Rubicat
Jul 15, 2017

Mr. Grann's research is nothing short of phenomenal. So much detail, so many very personal stories. Once more, I am angry and saddened by the treatment of Native Americans by the white majority. I always try to put myself in everyone's shoes to figure out how one can behave as these folks to and try as I might, I cannot understand how someone can knowingly reduce another person or family to poverty and desperation. And of course, in hindsight it's easy to question the naivete of the Native Americans who allowed strangers, and white ones at that, to manage their entire monetary future - were they partially to blame for this horror of theft and cheating on a large scale. Who knows, but I have been very affected by this book.

h
heidiup1
Jul 09, 2017

Meticulously researched saga. Horrifying.
The story seems to be told using the actual words & testimony of the victims, witnesses, family members and authorities--if so, Grann's collation of the many documents and complex threads is simply amazing.

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