Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
David Grann's masterful account of the Osage Murders is one of the most horrifying histories I have read. Uncovering layer after layer of murders, Grann exposes an entire society in which (supposed) upstanding pillars of society committed horrendous crimes then orchestrated a massive cover-up.
The Osage had been savvy enough to reserve the mineral rights to the land they bought and became rich leasing the rights to oil companies. White society did everything to limit the natives' access to their own money, requiring them to find trustees to handle their affairs. When the Osage began to die--of poison, guns, and bombs--their money landed in the hands of white trustees and spouses.
What kind of person raises children with a spouse and then participates in their murder---for money? One would think only a rare sociopath, but Grann discovers a whole was society complicit.
I commend Grann for his amazing research and his determination to find the truth and for his sensitivity and compassion toward the Osage and their heirs.
I received a book from my Goodreads friend Allen. Thank you!
“[C]lose to impeccable. It’s confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet…. The crime story it tells is appalling, and stocked with authentic heroes and villains. It will make you cringe at man’s inhumanity to man.”
—The New York Times
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A New York Times Notable Book
Named a best book of the year by Amazon, Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR, Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub, and Slate
From the #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 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, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.
As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.