Title: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Author: David Grann
Publish Date: April 18, 2017
What's the Story?:
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 to 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 sinister conspiracies in American history.
My Two Cents:
of the Flower Moon" is the story of the birth of the Federal Bureau of
Investigations (FBI) and how the agency got its reputation as the
premier investigation entity of the U.S. government. I love books that
uncover some of the hidden stories of history and this book certainly
does that. After oil is discovered under the Osage Native Americans'
land, they begin to die unexplained deaths. No one can figure out what
is happening or why it is happening. I had never heard of this event
before and loved Grann's telling of this event.
I do read
non-fiction but I like when it feels more like a story. It feels more
immersive to me and is more enjoyable. This book definitely feels more
like fiction - I had to keep reminding myself that it really happened
and all of the twists and turns in the case are really real. Grann takes
us right to the characters on the ground. They definitely pop off the
pages. I felt for the Osage, particularly ones like Mollie who basically
sees her entire family picked off for no reason at all. She can't get
much traction on getting help at first. You really feel for everything
that she has been through.
Now we take the work of the FBI for
granted. They are simply there when they need to be as events happen
around our country. It is hard to remember that this was once not so.
This case was one of the first that the FBI really got to stretch its
legs. It was interesting to see how things used to be to what they are
like now. I really enjoyed this book!