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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (edition 2018)
by David Grann (Author)
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
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No current Talk conversations about this book.
Incredible (if infuriating) story, told in a compelling manner. ( )
Very disturbing, sadly enlightening, extensively researched in primary sources, this narrative relates the story of the murders of the Osage to gain access to their wealth... another sad commentary of the treatment of Native Americans.
Summary: The true crime account of a series of murders of Osage tribal people motivated by money and the FBI agent who arrested some of the major figures involved in the deaths.
In the 1920’s, members of the Osage Nation were among the richest people on earth. They held the rights to the oil beneath their land and each tribal member had “headrights” that resulted in growing payments and wealth. That wealth was the object of numerous unscrupulous actors from those who sold vehicles for far more than their worth to “guardians” who siphoned off proceeds for themselves. Then a number of Osage began dying, some mysteriously wasting away, others dying from “hits,” a bullet in the head.
The book centers around the deaths surrounding Mollie Burkhart. Her former husband, Roan, was murdered with a bullet through his head. Her mother and sister appeared to be poisoned. Another also died of a bullet into the head, never found by the doctor doing the autopsy. And one died in a spectacular house explosion. Then Mollie’s own health began deteriorating, even though she was under a doctor’s care for diabetes.
Local and state investigators failed to find the killers, and at points may have been in league with them. Finally, the case landed on the desk of a young J. Edgar Hoover, trying to build what would become the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Failure could deal a blow to his ambitions. He turned to Tom White, a former Texas Ranger, who didn’t fit the mold of the Bureau, but knew the territory. White, in turn, recruited a team of undercover agents who were crucial to the success of the investigation.
The book details White’s determined pursuit of those responsible, despite the death of witnesses and other intimidation tactics. He saved Mollie’s life, getting her different medical care, under which she immediately improved, raising questions about her own husband’s part. The book traces the trail to a powerful figure in Osage country, seemingly upstanding, but truly evil, who was lining his pockets with Osage wealth.
While White was able to see the killers of Mollie’s family to justice, David Grann also tells a darker story of many other deaths and other killers never convicted. He concludes the account with his meetings of descendants of the families who had suffered loss as he attempts to provide some account to satisfy the “blood that cried out.”
I found this an engaging, page turning account of a monumental injustice, one more of a litany injustice done to the First Nations of North America. Grann shows the ruthless and unscrupulous efforts to deprive the Osage of what was rightfully theirs. It is too bad that Tom White did not head up the FBI. The contrast between him and Hoover is striking. It would have been a very different agency. White and his family treated their work as a sacred calling worthy of their excellence and courage, defying a corrupt version of “the machine.”
In this non-fiction, true-crime book, the author looks into the the Reign of Terror which hit the Osage Nation in Oklahoma during the 1920s. The Osage were extraordinarily wealthy in owning the headrights to oil on their land and became the target of systemic targeting by Whites for those riches. As the rights to the oil could only be passed down through the family, those who sought to defraud the Osage worked the system through intermarriage, becoming wardens of individual Osage, filing false insurance claims... and murder. The book initially focuses on the murder of Osage citizen Anna Brown and the investigation by the fledgling FBI headed by the protocol-oriented J. Edgar Hoover. The final sections of the book expand the remit a bit beyond as Grann digs through his papers to posit the criminal parties involved in other related murders during the same period. Overall, a well-researched book that includes black-and-white photos, but lacking a certain energy and tension. Reading like a well-prepared classroom project, there is no sense of immersion in the time or place despite the author actually having travelled to the locations and spoken to relatives of the victims; nor were there any surprises in terms of who was ultimately involved as the villain of the piece was flagged early on. A movie adaptation (directed by Martin Scorsese; produced and starring Leonardo diCaprio and also starring Robert De Niro) is slated for showing at Cannes 2023. This might actually be an instance where the movie is better than the book as the book is basically reportage without internal dialogue.
Had to put this aside. 158 pages in, this book gives zero narrative, and is basically a thrown together list of various biographies. There is no connection made between anyone and the actual storyline is abandoned pretty early on.
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 >
Has as a student's study guide
Summary: Killers of the Flower Moon - Summarized for Busy People: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI: Based on the Book by David Grann by Goldmine Reads
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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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)976.6004History and Geography North America South Central U.S. Oklahoma
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