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

by David Grann

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,7541783,605 (4.07)246
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. 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.… (more)
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» See also 246 mentions

English (176)  French (2)  All languages (178)
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
Excellent on audio at 1.5x. A little tough to keep track of all the different players, but not so difficult that I felt lost. And now I just want to know more! ( )
  mmsmcetc | Sep 17, 2020 |
A riveting, unimaginable & utterly astonishing look into Native American history that will hold you in suspense till the last page.
What Grunn reveals thanks to his research of primary and unpublished materials is the sinister web of plots that lead to the mysterious and brutal deaths of the Osage by the hands of those that were there to protect their wealth. ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
A riveting, unimaginable & utterly astonishing look into Native American history that will hold you in suspense till the last page.
What Grunn reveals thanks to his research of primary and unpublished materials is the sinister web of plots that lead to the mysterious and brutal deaths of the Osage by the hands of those that were there to protect their wealth. ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
Meticulously researched, this is a fascinating insight into a dark and oft-overlooked chapter in 20th C American history. It’s great journalism, but for me it felt more like a brilliant dissertation than the thrilling novel I, perhaps mistakenly, hoped for. ( )
  DavidArrowsmith | Sep 12, 2020 |
For several reasons I found this a very interesting true story. David Grann put together a very interesting and in depth account of an early 20th Century nightmare in Osage County Oklahoma. Rather than a dry repeating of obscure historical data he managed to bring a needed human element into this rather disturbing story of white mans total disregard for Native Americans and how they profited by the sorrow they inflicted. Grann took on bringing to the forefront a story of murder and deceit that decimated the Osage people, who at that time were some of the wealthiest individuals in the country. Their government (Federal, State and local) failed them, the law failed them, the judicial system failed them and even the medical system failed them. Even with immense wealth hardly any one cared what happened to these people and simply reading this account you have to wonder about the heartlessness of the white population at the time. No sin was to great not to be easily ignored. The Osage people were used and abused financially and physically then tossed over to the side by a greedy uncaring immoral white population. It makes one ashamed to be a white American.

One of the reasons I bought this book was that during the time I lived in Oklahoma I became friends with two brothers who lived in Pawhuska and were the children of one of the families who had a family member killed during the reign of terror their people lived through. While somewhat stoic nevertheless when they discussed this time of their childhood they conveyed the feelings of fear and insecurity that prevailed among their people at that time. They never wanted people to forget what was heartlessly done to their people and the travesty of justice they endured.

Any one who has an interest the historic relationship between the white man and Native American should read this as it will help your understanding of the total and abject failure of America to ever give the consideration and respect that the Native Americans deserve. But you better be ready to discover we are the bad guys. ( )
  can44okie | Aug 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
De maand van de bloemendoder is een fascinerend en tegelijkertijd gruwelijk boek over de moordpartijen, discriminatie en uitbuiting van Osage indianen aan het begin van de 20e eeuw in Oklahoma. Nadat de Osage, zoals zoveel indianen in de Verenigde Staten, waren verjaagd naar een reservaat in Oklahoma, bleek hier olie gevonden te worden. Hierdoor werden de Osage opeens rijk. Echter dit betekende ook uitbuiting, discriminatie en vele moordpartijen. David Grann is jarenlang bezig geweest met onderzoek naar misstanden die plaatsvonden en De maand van de bloemendoder is het zeer boeiende eindresultaat hiervan...lees verder >
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Grannprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carella, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patton, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Jeffrey L.Cartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There had been no evil to mar that propitious night, because she had listened; there had been no voice of evil; no screech owl had quaveringly disturbed the stillness. She knew this because she had listened all night.
--John Joseph Mathews, Sundown
A conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. It's the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off to us. We are the flawed ones, the innocents, trying to make some rough sense of the daily jostle. Conspirators have a logic and a daring beyond our reach. All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act.  ---Don DeLillo, Libra
We have a few mouth-to-mouth tales; we exhume from old trunks and boxes and drawers letters without salutation or signature, in which men and women who once lived and breathed are now merely initials or nicknames out of some now incomprehensible affection which sound to us like Sanskrit or Chocktaw; we see dimly people, the people in whose living blood and seed we ourselves lay dormant and waiting, in this shadowy attenuation of time possessing now heroic proportions performing their acts of simple passion and simple violence, impervious to time and inexplicable. ---William Faulker, Absalom, Absalom!
Dedication
For my mom and dad
First words
In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma.
Quotations
Page 141
Perhaps because he witnessed this—and other executions—or perhaps because he had seen the effect of the ordeal on his father, or perhaps because he feared the system could doom an innocent man, Tom grew to oppose what was then sometimes called “judicial homicide.” And he came to see the law as a struggle to subdue the violent passions not only in others but also in oneself.
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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. 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.

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