Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon

The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385534246
Characteristics: x, 338 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Recommended by Mary K (Collection Support)


Nonfiction finalist

This true crime murder mystery exposes one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. I couldn't put this book down, as the author unveiled more and more of this awful exploitation of native Americans set in 1920's Oklahoma. - Georgi

"In the 1920s, members of Oklahoma's Osage Indian nation were the world's richest people per capita, for oil had been discovered beneath their land. Then they began dying mysteriously in what proved to be a test for the newly formed FBI."

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Apr 12, 2021

Prior to reading this book, I knew nothing about this part of American history.

Mar 23, 2021

Killer of the Flower Moon was very interesting. Good read.

BostonPL_JordanD Nov 13, 2020

Title/Author: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/sub-genre: Nonfiction/True Crime
Book Format: Hardcover
Length: 359 pages
Violence: Yes
Well written/Editor Needed: Very well written. This kept me turning pages and was an easy read, as it wasn’t dry writing. I’m not sure if this is entirely narrative nonfiction, but I appreciated his writing style. It felt like a western mystery novel for much of it.
Would I Recommend?: Yes, I believe more people need to know what happened, so that it doesn’t get forgotten, and so that we can avoid it happening ever again.
Personal thoughts: So, writing style-wise, this was a very easy read, and I couldn’t put it down. Topic-wise, it was a bit more difficult to get through. I went into it assuming a mass conspiracy on a grand level never before seen, only to have the case pinpoint one or two lead guys. Then, in the final section, my worst fears were, in fact, confirmed. The ending mad me sad and angry that this could happen; that men could talk so casually about marrying a woman just to murder her for her money as soon as possible. The fact that so many murders went uninvestigated, that those perpetrators got away with so much, and are now dead so that no justice can be found, or closure for their families, it’s horrifying and terrible and sad.

If this had been happening to white people, investigations would have happened and justice would have been found. I can’t even put into words how terrible this is. Between 1907 and 1923, 605 Osages died. Think about that. 605 Indians died within 16 years, and almost nothing was done about it. WTF.

Oct 26, 2020


Oct 08, 2020

A very sad, poignant story of a band of people who were taken full advantage of by greedy politicians and ones out to take advantage.

Jul 04, 2020

So Cool! This book is SO great actors Leonardo DiCaprio. Robert DeNiro “Bobby D” and director Martin Scorsese are making a movie out of it right now in 2020 & now 2021, pandemic. JFaulk

Jun 28, 2020

This book os an incredibly hauting, well-researched look at the Osage tribe mass murders in the 1920s and 1930s. I learned so much about reservations and the cruelty thag Native Americans has to endure for so long, and that the community still endures today. A must read.

Hillsboro_RobP Jun 09, 2020

Read it and remember, lest we all forget.
Excellent account and re-visitation of an important time in American history.

May 14, 2020

There have been plenty of rave reviews about this book but I found it a bit slow and sometimes had trouble keeping track of characters. It is meticulously researched and plenty of what happened with the Osage will leave you amazed and furious. Worth a read but to me a little dry.

May 09, 2020

Killers of the Flower Moon exposes a history of systematic murder of native Americans by white Oklahomans who coveted the wealth of Osage Indian families, whose fortunes came from those hereditary rights to oil revenues from their reservation lands. The murderous campaign was born of prejudice. To be sure, greed was involved, but underlying all is the belief that the Osage were inferior and undeserving. Newspapers ran stories about profligate spending, but “rarely, if ever, mentioned that numerous Osage had skillfully invested their money or that some of the spending…reflected ancestral customs that linked grand displays of generosity with tribal stature.” Through the Department of the Interior, the federal government declared many Osage “incompetent” based on whether they were full-blooded or mixed. Government-assigned financial guardians oversaw the expenditures by adult Osage, as if they were children. Invoking fire-and-brimstone, biblical condemnation, Congressmen gave these guardians full control over how tribe members could spend their oil revenues. David Grann attributes many of the Osage murders to these guardians.

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JCLLizW Oct 21, 2019

“The U.S. government, contending that many Osage were unable to handle their money, had required the Office of Indian Affairs to determine which members of the tribe it considered capable of managing their trust funds. Over the tribe’s vehement objections, many Osage, including Lizzie and Anna, were deemed ‘incompetent,’ and were forced to have a local white guardian overseeing and authorizing all of their spending, down to the toothpaste they purchased at the corner store.” - p. 58

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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Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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