Killers of the Flower Moon is the thrilling but deeply disturbing history of the Osage murders of the 1920s. Forced onto a reservation in an inhospitable corner of Oklahoma, the Osage Indian tribe became unwitting benefactors of the vast, untapped oil riches beneath their new home. Catapulted from being one of the nation's poorest communities to the world's richest, the Osage became targets for racist politicians and criminals, who envied and despised the tribe's new wealth. Only after the suspicious deaths of dozens of Osage Indians did the federal government step in to investigate, under the auspices of the cowboy lawman Tom White and the newly minted FBI. Equal parts murder mystery and scathing exposé of the U.S. treatment of Native Americans, David Grann has crafted a true crime history that entertains even as it forces the reader to confront the evils of our national past and the uncomfortable parallels visible today. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Killers of the Flower Moon tells the shocking story of a horrible series of crimes. In the 1920s after oil was discovered on their land, the members of Osage Indian Nation became the richest people per capita in the world. Soon thereafter, they began to be slowly and systematically murdered. The newly formed FBI became involved, and its young ambitious director, J. Edgar Hoover, sought to make a name for the bureau (and himself) by solving this case. The story is thoroughly researched and told with compassion and empathy by New Yorker staff writer David Grann. It’s utterly mind-blowing that these terrible events have mostly gone unknown… until now. Recommended By Shawn D., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes 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.
"New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Lost City of Z) burnishes his reputation as a brilliant storyteller in this gripping true crime narrative which revisits a baffling and frightening—and relatively unknown—spree of murders occurring mostly in Oklahoma during the 1920s. From 1921 to 1926 at least two dozen people were murdered by a killer or killers apparently targeting members of the Osage Indian Nation who at the time were considered “the wealthiest people per capita in the world” thanks to the discovery of oil beneath their lands. The violent campaign of terror is believed to have begun with the 1921 disappearance of two Osage Indians Charles Whitehorn and Anna Brown and the discovery of their corpses soon afterwards followed by many other murders in the next five years. The outcry over the killings led to the involvement in 1925 of an “obscure” branch of the Justice Department J. Edgar Hoover’s Bureau of Investigation which eventually charged some surprising figures with the murders. Grann demonstrates how the Osage Murders inquiry helped Hoover to make the case for a “national more professional scientifically skilled” police force. Grann’s own dogged detective work reveals another layer to the case that Hoover’s men had never exposed. Agents: Kathy Robbins and David Halpern Robbins Office. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime
thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by
dozens of period photographs. Dogged original research and superb
narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless
evil." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Revew)
"Grann employs you-are-there narrative effects to set readers right in
the action, and he relays the humanity, evil, and heroism of the people
involved. His riveting reckoning of a devastating episode in American
history deservedly captivates." Booklist (Starred Review)
"A spellbinding book about the largest serial murder investigation you've
never heard of, which will be enjoyed by fans of the Old West as well
as true crime aficionados." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Killers of the Flower Moon brings shattering resolve to a story
that resonates now. As Native Americans fighting to protect resources on
the remnants of our lands, we confront the same paternalism, hypocrisy,
and greed that destroyed Osage lives and culture in the early 1920's.
David Grann has a razor keen instinct for suspense. He shapes outrage
into a principled steady insistence that voice be given to the victims
and their descendants. He creates deeply human portraits of every
character in this drama the evil, the just, the innocent, the doomed.
Through meticulous detective work, Grann rescues unbearable truth. As
with all of his books, this is a mesmerizing read." Louise Erdrich, National Book Award-winning author of The Round House and LaRose
Killers of the Flower Moon were a novel, one would marvel at
David Grann's skill in constructing such a taut, driving narrative with
so many stunning plot twists. But it is a true story, based on years of
meticulous reporting, making the book both a fiercely entertaining
mystery story and a wrenching exploration of evil."
Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of A God in Ruins and Life After Life
"Killers of the Flower Moon is a magnificent book a riveting true
story of greed, serial murder, and racial injustice that exposes an
extremely disturbing episode of American History. David Grann is a
terrific journalist, and this is maybe the best thing he s ever
Jon Krakauer, New York Times bestselling author of Missoula and Into Thin Air
"Quite simply, this is a remarkable book, by a remarkable author an
exhumation of a shockingly brutal series of historical murders, that I
for one knew nothing about. Utterly original; completely compelling." Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and Devil in the White City
"Killers of the Flower Moon is an exceedingly rare book: at the
same time a riveting, page-turning mystery and a deeply researched,
serious work of nonfiction. This stunning story had been lost to time.
Now, thanks to David Grann, it will never again be forgotten."
Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of Hero of the Empire
"A fascinating account of a tragic and forgotten chapter in the history
of the American West. As in all his work, David Grann digs deep, and
this powerful story reveals the unimaginable scale of theseshocking
murders almost a hundred years ago." John Grisham, New York Timesbestselling author of The Whistler
"Loyal readers of David Grann's books have come to expect jaw-dropping
set-ups and brilliantly crafted narratives. Both are on full, dazzling
display here. There is an unexpected bonus in the book's final section,
when Grann puts on his deer-stalking hat and proceeds to solve several
85-year-old, unsolved crimes."
S.C Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Rebel Yell and
Empire of the Summer Moon
David Grann on PowellsBooks.Blog
My newest book is called Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
. It’s about the Osage Indians who, in the early 20th century, became the richest people per capita in the world after oil was discovered under their reservation in Oklahoma. Then they began to be mysteriously murdered off...