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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"Disturbing and riveting...It will sear your soul." --Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review


Named a best book of the year by Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR's Maureen Corrigan , NPR's "On Point," Vogue , Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub's "Ultimate Best Books ," Library Journal, Paste, Kirkus, and Book Browse

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.
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385534246
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 G766k 2017
Characteristics: x, 338 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

#1 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.

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DBRL_DanaS Feb 05, 2018

A detailed, well-written account of the suspicious murders of many wealthy young Osage Indians during the early 20th century and the investigation that followed. A truly disturbing account of a lesser- known event that speaks to the extent of human greed and exploitation of minority groups in the US. Despite the subject matter, Grann's writing and storycrafting makes this a page turner. Highly recommended for readers interested in true crime, US history, and the frontier west.

Jan 29, 2018

A chilling investigation into the seemingly unconnected deaths of members of the Osage tribe in the 1920s. David Grann focuses his story from 3 primary perspectives, Mollie Burkhart, Tom White, and Grann himself. These three perspectives provide the fear that Mollie Burkhart and members of the Osage tribe felt as their families were being killed, the struggle and integrity that Tom White put into his investigation, and the time Grann put into uncovering the details of this long forgotten case and his due diligence to dig a little further. Grann's writing allows readers to experience the reign of terror, and face the dark truth that plagued the Osage tribe.

Jan 28, 2018

Well-written account of the Reign of Terror - the years-long effort to assassinate particular Indian members to gain access to their wealth due to mineral rights. A compelling read which poses the unsettling question: will we ever know how dark and broad this conspiracy was?

Jan 26, 2018

Story about dozens to hundreds of murders that happened to the Osage in the beginning of the 20th century, in an attempt to steal mineral headrights. The murders continued undersolved and underprosecuted until a team from the newly formed FBI under Hoover arrived in the mid-late 20s.

Grann does a fantastic job of digging deeply into the past, not just to tell the story of the most famous of victims, but bringing to light the many more unconfirmed murders for Osage headrights.

Jan 06, 2018

An excellent book about a piece of history most of us had ever heard of. The author did a good job of researching facts for this captivating book which I found hard to put down.

AL_LESLEY Dec 10, 2017

Another glaring example of why the European white settlement of the Americas should never be glorified. The multitude of ways that native people were and are exploited is shocking. A great nonfiction for nonfiction novices. Honestly I would have liked this to be a bit longer with more information!

Nov 27, 2017

Interesting part of history that is not well known. I learned a lot about this terrible part of American history.

Nov 10, 2017

Really enjoyed this book. Had never heard of the Osage Terror, even though I grew up in nearby Tulsa. I honestly couldn't put this book down. The history is captivating, transporting readers to the wild west, and the beginning of the oil boom years in Oklahoma. At its heart this book is also a thrilling murder mystery, with the foundations of the FBI being explored as well. What occurred in Osage County, OK at the turn of the century is hard to believe, if it weren't for the copious amounts of research, including many photos, done by the author. This was certainly a captivating exploration on a much-forgotten era, place and event in American history. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is history that needs to be taught in high school history classrooms, and the pain of the victims and the tenacity and focus on justice of Tom White and his team need to be remembered. If you are looking for a fast-paced, easy-to-read murder mystery with plenty of interesting American history to boot, I strongly recommend this book for you.

PimaLib_NormS Nov 08, 2017

“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann works as a murder mystery, and it works as an informative, interesting bit of historical writing, as well. The events described in this book took place in the early 1900’s, at a time when the Indian wars were over, and the remaining tribes had been herded on to reservations, which were generally viewed by the government as land having little or no value. When the Osage Indians agreed to live on the land chosen for them, they shrewdly negotiated to keep the rights to any minerals, such as oil, gas, and coal, located under their land. So, when oil was discovered beneath the Osage reservation, the tribe members became very rich, sort of. Many of the Osage could not do as they pleased with their money because of a federally imposed system of guardianship. The Department of the Interior would declare a rich Osage Indian as “incompetent” and appoint a white person as the “guardian” of the Osage and his or her money, because some people in the area considered the Osage incapable of managing their wealth, and undeserving of such riches in the first place. Which, of course, led to corruption, embezzlement, and thievery. And murder. All caused by greed and venality, and exacerbated by racism. In hindsight it is easy to see how this was outrageous, ridiculous, stupid and unfair. And, if not for Tom White, a dedicated lawman working for what became the FBI, this evil story would have remained hidden in the shadows of neglect.

Nov 02, 2017

This lost piece of American history is compelling on its own. David Grann definitely does it justice in spinning this tale for us. The Osage tribe was cornered in a small piece of Oklahoma by the results of Manifest Destiny. Their small piece of land was rich in oil and the tribe found their fortunes turning dramatically early in the 20th century. Before 1920, Osage members were dying and their headrights were changing hands -- and not always to benefit their families. The investigations seem to go nowhere until J.Edgar Hoover appoints Tom White to look into the mysterious string of dead Indians. You have to read the book to get the whole story -- it is a pageturner. There are also photos spread throughout to draw us into the narrative. Highly recommended.

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Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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