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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  • Carnegie-Stout Public Library’s bi-monthly book discussion group for adults will meet at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov…
  • @nirne If you're a book reader, I suggest KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
  • Soon to be a major motion picture with @LeoDiCaprio, a @nytimes notable book of the year, and a @nationalbook Award…
  • @DavidGrann I liked your previous book: Killers of the Flower Moon, so I think White Darkness will also be great.
  • Goodness GRACIOUS @DavidGrann’s book “Killers of the Flower Moon” is an unbelievably excellent and horrifying read.
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    17 negative comments

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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • 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.
    • The Osage murder spree is one of the least known outrages in American history. David Grann, author of the LOST CITY OF Z, insists that the FBI only scratched the surface.The Osage Indians were one of the largest tribes in the Midwest. When events got intolerable in Kansas, they purchased land from the Cherokee in Oklahoma, 1.5 million acres at 70 cents per acre. It was worthless agricultural land, but beneath the ground was one of the largest oil reserves in the country. Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. Many of the Osage began spending money like it was going out of style. Of course, whites were jealous and outraged. Soon most of the Osage were deemed too childish to handle their own affairs and given a guardian, usually a white businessman. That's when the poisoning started. Most were misdiagnosed, and sometimes the doctors were implicated.Grann centers on the Burkhart family. Mollie Burkhart was a source and the only survivor. Three of her sisters and her mother were murdered, one of them was so frightened she convinced her husband to move to town where they built a big house. Soon after someone blew it up, killing them both.Meanwhile, the Bureau of Investigation and its new director, J. Edgar Hoover, got wind of the case. Hoover needed a win after earlier misfirings. The best thing he did was hire Tom White, a former Texas Ranger, to investigate the murders, some of which were more overt than the poisonings. For instance Anna Brown, Mollie's sister, was shot in the back of the head. The best thing White did was to hire former criminals to go undercover. They made inroads in what was still the wild west and some of the gangs that cause lawmen a lot of grief. That's when he began to uncover information that pointed at one of the elite businessmen in the area.We need to go back for a minute. I think most people with an interest in history know that the government tried to get the Native Americans to assimilate into American society. They took children from their families and sent them to vocational schools as they did Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest athletes to ever play a game, was sent to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which became a football dynamo. They also divided up a tribal society into 160 acre allotments. The danger there was that whites would cheat the Indians out of their land, and they did with the Cherokees. James Bigheart, wary of what had happened to the Cherokee in the Oklahoma land rush, negotiated larger allotments, almost a section for each member of the tribe, and insisted on keeping mineral rights, “the underground reservation.” The Osage might lose their allotments but it was impossible to steal their mineral rights, or so Bigheart thought. Indian women and some men married white spouses. Sometimes that person would be after the “headright” or mineral rights the woman or man owned. Some of the guardians had several Osage wards. Grann did research on what happened to them. In many cases, the ward died an early death.Tom White got little recognition or appreciation from J. Edgar Hoover but he was picked to be the new warden at Leavenworth. A similar story is that of his father who was a Texas sheriff. As sheriff it was his job to serve as hangman when a criminal was sentenced to death. White's father asked the man if he could do anything for him before the sentence was carried out. The man asked for a new suit of clothes. White's father got it for him. Tom White learned from his father. When the two culprits who broke open the case arrived at Leavenworth he shook hands with them and treated them like any other inmate. Here was one Christian who truly lived by the golden rule.
    • "What is gone is treasured because it was what we once were. We gather our past and present into the depths of our being and face tomorrow. We are still Osage. We live and we reach old age for our forefathers.”..To live in a constant state of fear and death all around...The events in this book are unfathomable. How can this be true? And yet, it is. It's disgusting what people will do out of greed and hatred. Grann uncovering even more murders that will never get solved is hard to comprehend...I hear there will be a movie...that's going to be difficult to watch. My blood boils at the treatment of Native Peoples and this book just about pushes me over the edge...A must read!!! This needs to be taught in high school history classes.Review from: Instagram @keisha_cole_writer
    • There are available on youtube some "drive through" videos of Osage County, Oklahoma. If you haven't had the chance to drive through the county yourself, take a few minutes and watch one of those videos just to understand what it looks like now. Then start this book remembering that the events depicted in it are now almost a hundred years in the past. It will make you appreciate all the more the masterful description given by David Grann.This is a tough story about a tough area that had seen nothing but tough times until oil was discovered in what seemed to be endless quantities.With the oil came money, lots of it. And the struggle to control that money turns deadly. Exploitation of people by gender, social class and national origin runs rampant; with the biggest irony being that it is the Native Americans who are exploited by the "Anglo" Americans.Throw in some brave Texas lawmen, an already eccentric and inconsistent young J Edgar Hoover, and some remarkably strong women who managed to tell their stories to their daughters and granddaughters and this story just crackles with excitement and emotion.Mister Grann is a graduate of what used to known as Connecticut College For Women. One of the intended consequences of having that venerable institution become a coeducational college is that the male graduates have tendencies to write well about the women's point of view. The women leaders connected to CC such as Jane Addams, Mary Morrisson, Rosemary Park, and the Wright and Larrabee sisters would all be proud.Read this book because it needs to be part of your Education with a capital E.
    • Pretty awful story about yet another way we destroyed the lives of Native Americans. The pacing was slow and added too much irrelevant data. The book seemed as though it was a thesis fluffed up to book length.