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Killers of the Flower Moon : The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann


Overview - Click Here For the Autographed Copy
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.
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More About Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
 
 
 
Overview
Click Here For the Autographed Copy
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, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage 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 such as Al Spencer, the Phantom Terror, roamed virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern 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. 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 Native Americans that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. "Killers of the Flower Moon" is utterly riveting, but also emotionally devastating."

From our buyer, Jordan Weinmann: "In the 1920s, the Osage Indian Tribe in Oklahoma were some of the wealthiest people in the world after oil was discovered on their land. However, members of the tribe are being killed off one-by-one. As the death toll rises the new director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, assigns Tom White to investigate the Bureau’s first major homicide case. Together White and his team descended on the territory to discover what was happening.
David Grann, author of Lost City of Z, presents a fascinating and horrifying piece of American history. I was unable to put this book down, reading it feverishly over a weekend. Any person who likes narrative nonfiction or mysteries is sure to enjoy this book. I can’t recommend enough."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780385534246
  • ISBN-10: 0385534248
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - 20th Century
Books > True Crime > Murder - General
Books > Law > Indigenous Peoples

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-10-10
  • Reviewer: Staff

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 frighteningand relatively unknownspree 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 Hoovers 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. Granns own dogged detective work reveals another layer to the case that Hoovers men had never exposed. Agents: Kathy Robbins and David Halpern, Robbins Office. (Apr.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Terror in the American West

According to the Osage American Indians, when May’s full moon shines and the Earth warms, taller plants overtake April’s tiny flowers, “stealing their light and water” until they die. This is bestselling author and journalist David Grann’s fitting metaphor for what befell the Osages in Oklahoma, beginning in May 1921. His thoroughly researched account, Killers of the Flower Moon, is a chilling tale of unfettered greed, cruel prejudice and corrupted justice.

When the U.S. government drove the Osages from their territory in Kansas to northeastern Oklahoma, no one knew about the rich oil deposits below the surface of their new land. Soon the oil would make the Osages incredibly rich—and their white neighbors incredibly jealous.

Since only a tribe-enrolled Osage could claim the profits from their allotted lands, a law was conveniently passed requiring that guardians be appointed to “manage” the Osages’ considerable wealth. The fraud and treachery that ensued, referred to as “Indian business” by anyone involved, deprived the Osage people of their money, property and even their lives. Families victimized by shootings, bombings and poisonings found no justice at the hands of corrupt lawmen, bankers and judges.

However, the travesties and tragedies unfolding in Oklahoma coincided with the rise of the ambitious J. Edgar Hoover and the new Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was the detective work of agent and former Texas Ranger Tom White that helped Hoover transform the formerly inept and ridiculed FBI into a powerful agency. The FBI was finally able to deliver a measure of justice to the Osages, albeit too late for many victims.

Grann’s tale could have ended there and served its purpose well, revealing this “Reign of Terror” that was, until now, largely forgotten by most. But he goes on to reveal the many unresolved murders that preceded 1921 and the ongoing disenfranchisement of present-day Osages, adding to the sheer power of truth in Killers of the Flower Moon.

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews