Killers of the Flower Moon
The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Disturbing and riveting…Grann has proved himself a master of spinning delicious, many-layered mysteries that also happen to be true…It will sear your soul.
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.
More praise for Killers of the Flower Moon
A marvel of detective-like research and narrative verve.
A shocking whodunit…What more could fans of true-crime thrillersask?
A master of the detective form…Killers is something rather deep andnot easily forgotten.
David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon is unsurprisingly extraordinary.
A masterful work of literary journalism crafted with the urgencyof a mystery…Contained within Grann's mesmerizing storytelling lies somethingmore than a brisk, satisfying read. Killers of the Flower Moon offers up the Osage killings as emblematic of America's relationship with its indigenous peoplesand the 'culture of killing' that has forever marred that tie.
Close to impeccable. It's confident, fluid in its dynamics, lighton its feet…The crime story it tells is appalling, and stocked with authenticheroes and villains. It will make you cringe at man's inhumanity to man.
Grann digs deep. He spent years on the research, examining FBI files,court testimony, private correspondence, field reports from the Bureau of IndianAffairs, diary entries and scores of other documents. The result is a powerfulbook—not entertaining, no, but fascinating; an outrageous, devastating read
First and foremost, Killers of the Flower Moon is a great whodunit, a murder mystery as good as any piece of pulp fiction.
This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs. Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come togetherin this gripping account of pitiless evil.
Grann employs you-are-there narrative effects to set readers rightin the action, and he relays the humanity, evil, and heroism of the people involved. His riveting reckoning of a devastating episode in American history deservedly captivates
Grann burnishes his reputation as a brilliant storyteller in thisgripping true-crime narrative…Grann's own dogged detective work revealsanother layer to the case that Hoover's men had never exposed.
An incredible story, stirring and impossible to put down, by a writerwhose true-life mysteries always go deeper than the reader expects.
Quite simply, this is a remarkable book, by a remarkable author—an exhumation of a shockingly brutal series of historical murders, that I for one knew nothing about. Utterly original; completely compelling.
A fascinating account of a tragic and forgotten chapter in the historyof the American West. As in all his work, David Grann digs deep, and this powerful story reveals the unimaginable scale of these shocking murders almost a hundred years ago.
Killers of the Flower Moon brings shattering resolve to a storythat resonates now. As Native Americans fighting to protect resources on the remnantsof our lands, we confront the same paternalism, hypocrisy, and greed that destroyed Osage lives and culture in the early 1920s. David Grann has a razor keen instinct for suspense. He shapes outrage into a principled steady insistence that voicebe given to the victims and their descendants. He creates deeply human portraitsof every character in this drama—the evil, the just, the innocent, the doomed. Through meticulous detective work, Grann rescues unbearable truth. As with all of his books, this is a mesmerizing read.
Loyal readers of David Grann's books have come to expect jaw-dropping setups and brilliantly crafted narratives. Both are on full, dazzling display here. There is an unexpected bonus in the book's final section, when Grann puts on his deer-stalking hat and proceeds to solve several eighty-five-year-old, unsolved crimes.
Killers of the Flower Moon is a magnificent book—a riveting truestory of greed, serial murder, and racial injustice that exposes an extremely disturbing episode of American history. David Grann is a terrific journalist, and this is maybe the best thing he's ever written.
The best book of the year so far.