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)

  • This year we enjoyed David Grann's "Killers of the Flower Moon" for #OneRead. What book shall we read in 2019? Subm… https://t.co/ll0aXRC8ZF
  • @timcasteel and a sad but fascinating book, Killers of the Flower Moon- about the mistreatment of the Osage in Oklahoma.
  • @nirne If you're a book reader, I suggest KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
  • oin us for a chance to two free tickets to see Eddie Money at our November book conversation on “Killers of the Flo… https://t.co/R4oJszN7ye
  • 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)

    • I loved Grann's The Lost City of Z so I was eager to try this. Unfortunately, it was drab in its telling. I’m glad I’ve finished it, though. It’s a fascinating & important story, that shows the appalling extent of exploitation that Native Americans endured.The first three quarters of the book are spent in minute details. That was interesting, but too long. That case had little to do with the birth of the FBI, other than it was one of their first (if not the first) investigation and coincided with the rise to power of J Edgar Hoover. The final quarter rushes through the implications and unsolved mysteries of the murders, then the book abruptly ends.In short, far too much detail about one case, then not enough detail about what it all meant and the larger picture.Not terrible, but unlike The Lost City of Z, not great.Larry Nocellaauthor of Razor Wire Karma: a novel, available on Amazon
    • 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.
    • This is a story of greed, death, and evil. The book starts out slow as the author describes several mysterious deaths involving members of an Osage Indian family. Keeping track of the many characters and untimely deaths makes the early goings a little hard to follow. But once Federal Investigator Tom White arrives on the scene, everything starts to come together.While many of the deaths trace back to a single individual, there are more than enough bad guys to go around. Is a mass murderer at large? Are the deaths connected? The answers to these questions become apparent as Tom White conducts his investigation. Along the way, the author gives a lot of background on the Osage Indians, mineral rights, and J. Edgar Hoover and the beginnings of what would become the FBI.The string of deaths recounted in this story take place in the 1920s, but the root cause of the murders is one that has occurred throughout history as well as present time: a belief that an entire class of people are expendable.If you're a fan of true-crime dramas, you will enjoy this historical whodunnit. The book is a detailed account of the machinations of more than one individual to acquire wealth at the expense of others.
    • Frankly, the first 50%-75% of this historical account is nothing but an uninteresting maze of details, people, and facts. The book gets interesting and a page turner once the F.B.I. enters the picture and systematically solves the mystery of the murders. I think that the whole account of the Osage murders was poorly editied and should have started with the ending instead of filling the beginning of the account with meaningless and seemingly unrelated details and people which any reader would find difficult to keep track of until things really started falling into place. Granted, the way the book is written puts the reader in the position of the those experiencing the murders who did not have a clue of why they were happening. However, these real people knew the people being killed and their relationships with other people which the reader doesn't know at that time of his reading the book. Still, I think this story could have been more interestingly told by letting it begin with logic rather than chaos, because the chaos could have still been experienced as it related to a story moving toward a logical conclusion. Then, we could see how the events and people fit together from the beginning.
    • I loved reading this book. I was unaware of the tragedy that befell the Osage Tribe in Oklahoma. The book read like a murder mystery, but it was devastatingly true. The tribe had come into financial wealth due to the US government's underhandedly robbing the tribe's initial landholdings. The Indians were compensated for this thief by being moved to Oklahoma where the land held rich oil deposits. The Osage became incredibly wealthy leasing their land to the likes of Sinclair Oil, the Phillips Brothers and Gulf Oil. The tribe rode around in expensive automobiles. They indulged their every financial whim. Then, incredibly, 2 perhaps connected murders took place. Law enforcement was in its infancy and made little progress in solving the murders. Both victims had been shot to death in the back of the head.The woman whose life was the focus of this story lost her sister and actually had other unexpected deaths in her family in years past. Her name was Molly Burdock. She enlisted the help of her husband, her brother-in-law and private eyes to help find justice for her sister. Many years passed without resolution to the crime. Amazingly more unexplained deaths occurred which also were not solved. Another of Molly's sisters and her brother-in-law were killed in a bomb explosion that destroyed their home. Eventually J. Edgar Hoover was appointed to head the investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was created. Hoover picked a former Texas Ranger to handle the case in Oklahoma and through a series of leads and clever interrogations of the suspects the culprits were brought to justice. One suspect turned out to be Molly Burdock's husband. He was in league with the one of the main masterminds who was tried and convicted of only one murder. He served 22 years in jail and was the community's least likely criminal. The story doesn't end there. A newspaperman was brought in to discover if some other members of the tribe lost their relatives in a similar fashion. The newspaperman estimated that nearly 200 Osage tribe members were murdered for their oil leases by their family, by their guardians, by their lawyers out of sheer unadulterated greed. If you like history, you'll love this book. Many fine photographs of the Osage tribe, law enforcement and other participants.