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)

  • Ready for some great reads to inspire your #giving? Our friends & partners gave us book recs, including @RaikesFdn,…
  • @DavidGrann I liked your previous book: Killers of the Flower Moon, so I think White Darkness will also be great.
  • Just finished "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders & the Birth of the FBI" by @DavidGrann. Brilliant book…
  • @JackieandLaurie @jackiekashian @anylaurie16 @kyleclarkisrad Is the book you lost 'Killers Of The Flower Moon'? Tha…
  • Carnegie-Stout Public Library’s bi-monthly book discussion group for adults will meet at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov…
  • 5 positive comments

    8 neutral comments

    17 negative comments

    # of reviews over time


    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 book is essentially another chapter in the all too familiar American story where powerful local interests exploit and victimize those of lesser social standing and without resources to fight back against egregious injustice. In this case, it is the Osage Indians in the 1920s, in a barren part of OK, who fortunately had rights to the oil under their land and thereby became targets of a ruthless band that would stop at nothing to steal those rights from the Indians. As is often the case the sheer audacity of the exploiters led to their downfall.The author starts the book with the deaths of many related to an Osage female. From there the killings multiply and seem to be related to the rights of the Indians to oil. However, there is so much corruption among all officials in the area that no one is held accountable. In the mid-20s Hoover became the head of the FBI. He obsesses over the Osage Indian situation and picks a tough Texas Ranger Tom White to head the investigation. With White’s persistence, eventually local boss William Hale is found to be behind much of the violence, although far too late for the victims. The book is hardly much in the way of an early history of the FBI.The book as written is not compelling. It tends to repetitive, tedious, yet confusing. The individuals in the story, good or bad, with few exceptions, do not stand out. Even though the author returns to the area in the last few years, there still is little sense of a clear wrap-up to the story. It remains a very small blip on the radar of Am history.
    • 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.
    • I decided to read this book after seeing an episode of Mysteries at the Museum where the birth of the FBI was talked about and it was because of the murders happening to the Osage indians. It is fascinating in a heartbreaking way as it tells the story of the government uprooting native americans and moving them west. The Osage were given a bad area of land in the not yet state of Oklahoma which was found to be rich in oil.White citizens felt that the Osage shouldn't be allowed to become rich as it was just a fluke that the government put them on oil rich land. Change oil rich land for casino and it's the same thing you hear today.The U.S. government didn't allow the Osage to manage their money, they had to have a trustee, who was usually white, who gave them an allowance & if they wanted more $$, they had to petition their guardian who could say no.Of course this led to corruption of the system. White guardians would either marry or bring in family members to marry the Osage so they could inherit the wealth. The succession of inheritance was solely through the Osage family so a spouse couldn't inherit which lead to families being murdered down the line and their death being blamed on alcohol, diabetes or accident.The author gives you the story of the Osage and the deaths to lead up to the FBI which until then was just the Bureau of Investigation with almost no power. Men were sent to investigate, but no one wanted to talk. The Osage were afraid to leave their homes as they might be the next to die.The story of the former Texas rangers who were tasked by new director Hoover as they investigated and went under cover is fascinating. Their work on the Osage murders gave Hoover and the bureau the opportunity to become a Federal agency with real power to investigate and arrest bad guys.Well worth the read, you won't be disappointed or bored. I spent the majority of the book with my mouth open at the shennigans going on to the Osages and the lengths people went to cover it up.