KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

by David Grann

The story of a murder spree in 1920s Oklahoma that targeted Osage Indians, whose lands contained oil. The fledgling F.B.I. intervened, ineffectively.

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5 positive comments

16 neutral comments

1 negative comments

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • February’s Book Club Pick: ‘Killers of the #FlowerMoon,’ by #DavidGrann https://t.co/C5taqsKm72
  • @nirne If you're a book reader, I suggest KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
  • This is the answer to a question I began wondering as soon as I started @DavidGrann's book: “Killers of the Flower… https://t.co/cjdt5T8xs7
  • Join us for our November book conversation on “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F… https://t.co/g0DdfTyJgf
  • Soon to be a major motion picture with @LeoDiCaprio, a @nytimes notable book of the year, and a @nationalbook Award… https://t.co/TDvBGaS038
  • 5 positive comments

    8 neutral comments

    17 negative comments

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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • This was/is a very popular book with reviewers and many readers. The story is very important and not well known. It should be. The telling, I think, is not so wonderful. In the 1920s many Osage Indians were murdered for profit in Oklahoma. The details make for a gripping story. For this book, however, David Grann learns a lot of details after he writes the book. Then he goes (back, I assume) to Oklahoma and learns a lot more. Rather than rewrite the book, he just adds these details at the end. The story is a complex one and Grann gives it out like a journalist, in installments. It was clear to me who his main villains would be 200 pages before they were named.Now, if you despise racism, which I hope you do, Gann’s book gives us a look at crimes which were tolerated because their victims were not white. For this reason, the book, easy to read, is worth your time. A much better history of these events will be written, but probably not anytime soon. So, I recommend it. The writing is clear. There is no index. There is a fair amount of padding (an auction scene, for example, is importent only if you do not know how bidding works). However, Americans should know this story. And now you can.
    • I found the book interesting historically. However, it was depressing to read about this chapter in our history. I live in Tulsa so it was close to home for me. There are a lot of characters in the book, so a bit difficult keeping track of all of them. This was a book club suggestion and the club has not met to discuss. I'm expecting an interesting discussion.
    • This is one of the most heartbreaking and terrifying books I have ever read. I hope that it becomes a staple of reading lists for American history classes. It is an incredibly well told story of a staggering real world evil in an America only two or three generations removed from our own. You should read it. It won't take long - it is, though it feels crass to say so, a genuine page-turner. And I at least will likely wrestle with it for a long while. Man o man.
    • Well researched and written. Sadly a true story. A testimonial to greed and arrogance. Well worth reading.
    • Since the 17th century, the Osage tribe claimed land from Missouri west to the Rockies. With the Louisiana Purchase, the tribe was forced to cede land to accommodate the flood of western expansion. In Chronicle One of Grann's book, the history of the tribe is laid out. By the 1870's, what remained of the Osage tribe settled in NE Oklahoma because their chief deemed the land too hilly for white settlers to want to file claims there. The tribe negotiated with the Department of the Interior that any reservation land used for oil drilling or mining, had to be leased from the tribe and that the full blooded Osage would share in any profits from these natural resources. Logs where kept of Osage tribe members and indeed, when oil gushed from leased reservation land, head rights were claimed. The Osage tribe were among the wealthiest people in the country. Starting in 1921, Osage tribal members began to die. Some were shot in the head while others suffered from a mysterious "wasting" disease. Many suspected murder and lived in fear of who might be next.Chronicle Two describes in detail the role of the Bureau of Investigation (the early FBI) to unravel the murders during what became known as "the Reign of Terror." The Bureau was formed under Teddy Roosevelt in 1909. By 1924, J. Edger Hoover became head of the Bureau. He wanted to highlight the expertise of the Bureau by solving the Osage murders. He hired a former Texas Ranger, Tom White, to lead the investigation. The reader discovers clues along with White as he methodically collects evidence and interrogates witnesses and suspects . This is the most exciting part of the book. Many, but not all of the culprits are brought to justice.How are the Osage doing now? This is the gist of Chronicle Three and it is, unfortunately, the weakest part of the story. Grann checks in with the descendants of some of the murdered Osage. Their sense of unease and lack of justice is palpable. The oil has dried up and the tribal population has diminished. Some press Grann to help them bring closure to the holes in their family histories. But the ancestors are in their graves along with the murderers and the paper trail is weak or inconclusive. As Grann runs out of answers, this reader ran out of interest. It is a compelling and important story up to this point. Now that wind turbines dot the prairie of the Osage reservation, their future seems as bleak as their past and the lack of justice seems as limited as their future. Despite Grann's extensive notes and lists of resources, the reader is left, like the Osage themselves, with more questions than answers.