Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon

The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Book - 2017 | First edition
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Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies 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's description
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385534246
Branch Call Number: 976.6004975 Grann 2017
Characteristics: x, 338 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Feb 09, 2019

A very sad part of our history. The old "follow the money" was so true. Very well written, kept my attention throughout the book. So many people murdered for rights to oil. if you enjoy history and sleuth you will enjoy this read.

Feb 05, 2019

I could not put this book down. Finished it in two days. One of the best true-life mystery stories. Excellent read. A must read for fans of history and mystery.

Jan 28, 2019

This is an interesting bit of true crime and seemed well researched. If you normally love investigative non-fiction or true crime I think you will probably really enjoy this.

Jan 12, 2019

Interesting book about greed and the systematic abuse and murder of the Osage natives. This is what happens when someone thinks what you have should be theirs.

IndyPL_SteveB Jan 03, 2019

A fascinating but grim look at hidden American history. Writer David Grann is the perfect example of an obsessive reporter, willing to do years of research on an incident that was a major story a century ago but which most people have never heard of. In the 1800s, the Osage Indian tribe was forcibly moved from its ancestral homeland in Missouri, first to Kansas, then in the 1870s to a rocky part of Oklahoma that no one else wanted. But in the 1900s oil was found there and the Osage owned the mineral rights. By 1920, the Osage were, per capita, the richest people on earth.

Legally, these mineral rights were called “headrights.” The law included a stipulation that no Osage could sell his or her headrights. They could only change hands by inheritance. Suddenly a lot of white bankers, lawyers, and cattle barons became “best friends” to the Osage. And in 1921, the murders started, possibly as many as 600. Local doctors, sheriffs, judges, bankers, etc. seemed to be locked up in the plot to eventually concentrate ownership of the headrights in the hands of a few young survivors, who could be controlled and embezzled blind.

When you think about the Old West and what you were told as a child about who were the “good guys”, a book like this will make you reconsider, “Who were the savages?”

Dec 04, 2018

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON examines a dark and little known chapter in American history. Author David Grann relates a sensational tale of greed, corruption, betrayal, and murder in 1920s Oklahoma, but surely he could’ve done this in fewer pages and with better prose.

Nov 16, 2018

This is an incredible true story that, thanks to David Grann's untiring research, shed light on a series of murders that are almost beyond comprehension. As commented just below, I too am stunned by man's inhumanity to man. Money is not the root of all evil; greed is. To say that David handled the matter in an unvarnished and straight-forward manner would be an understatement. He did an excellent job and God love his research if for no other reason than to comfort a group of American's - American's mind you - that by and large have been ignored since the founding of this great country. Also agree that any Holly-Duh effort to put this on film would fall way short. Still, I hope Hollywood does make the attempt, for even a rotten effort on their part would bring this story to the country's doorstep and perhaps someone (if even one person) would see it and understand how much of a raw deal American Indians got.

Nov 09, 2018

An important addition to the history of Oklahoma, no matter how savage and evil.

Nov 04, 2018

Very well done, lot of research, interviews, etc obviously went into this book. It's now getting a lot of attention since HollyWEIRD found out about it and are making a movie. I don't have much faith they'll do a good job.

This atrocity should be taught in EVERY school in Oklahoma but I don't have much faith it ever will be, like a lot of things which don't paint our country, state, etc in a good light. So it's up to us to discover some history and/or another version of history different from propaganda pieces we've been taught. This is one of those books every American should read or at least hear a summary of, so that history doesn't get repeated as that old adage says.

There are a LOT of skeletons in the closet, a lot of crimes committed, many of which the FBI elected not to pursue. Find a fall guy, in this case, William Hale, who no doubt was responsible for many of the murders, but he was hardly the only one. Yet J. Edgar Hoover, what a piece of work he was, elected not to have his Bureau investigate any further once Hale was successfully prosecuted as author David Grann points out later in the book. Kudos for Grann for doing further research on this...after speaking to some of the Osage members whose family members were murdered. RIP to those who perished, and sincere condolences to all who lost loved ones!

Oct 20, 2018

Killers of the Flower Moon is incredible. I was speechless and heartbroken when I finished. It is hard to imagine the fear that the Osage must have felt during this time period. This is definitely a book that everyone should read.

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Jan 31, 2018

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Dec 04, 2018

“Yet an ugliness often lurked beneath the reformist zeal of Progressivism. Many Progressives—who tended to be middle-class white Protestants—held deep prejudices against immigrants and blacks and were so convinced of their own virtuous authority that they disdained democratic procedures. This part of Progressivism mirrored Hoover’s darkest impulses.” - p. 178


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