Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI PDF AZW3 EPUB MOBI TXT Download

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST• NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history, from the author of The Lost City of Z.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.

David Grann
April 3, 2018
400 pages

File Size: 81 MB
Available File Formats: PDF AZW3 DOCX EPUB MOBI TXT or Kindle audiobook Audio CD(Several files can be converted to each other)
Language: English, Francais, Italiano, Espanol, Deutsch, chinese

A New York Times Notable BookNamed 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, andSlate“The best book of the year so far.”—Entertainment Weekly“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.”—Dave Eggers, New York Times BookReview“A marvel of detective-like research and narrative verve.”—Financial Times“A shocking whodunit. . . . What more could fans of true-crime thrillers ask?”—USA Today“A master of the detective form. . . . Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten.”—Wall St. Journal“David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon is unsurprisingly extraordinary.” —Time“A masterful work of literary journalism crafted with the urgency of a mystery. . . . Contained within Grann’s mesmerizing storytelling lies something more than a brisk, satisfying read. Killers of the Flower Moon offers up the Osage killings as emblematic of America’s relationship with its indigenous peoples and the ‘culture of killing’ that has forever marred that tie.” —The Boston Globe“[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 TimesNew York Times bestseller (April 2018) About the Author David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, which was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. He is also the author of The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. His work has garnered several honors for outstanding journalism, including a George Polk Award. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Chapter 1 The VanishingIn April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma. There are Johnny-­jump-­ups and spring beauties and little bluets. The Osage writer John Joseph Mathews observed that the galaxy of petals makes it look as if the “gods had left confetti.” In May, when coyotes howl beneath an unnervingly large moon, taller plants, such as spiderworts and black-­eyed Susans, begin to creep over the tinier blooms, stealing their light and water. The necks of the smaller flowers break and their petals flutter away, and before long they are buried underground. This is why the Osage Indians refer to May as the time of the flower-­killing moon.On May 24, 1921, Mollie Burkhart, a resident of the Osage settlement town of Gray Horse, Oklahoma, began to fear that something had happened to one of her three sisters, Anna Brown. Thirty-­four, and less than a year older than Mollie, Anna had disappeared three days earlier. She had often gone on “sprees,” as her family disparagingly called them: dancing and drinking with friends until dawn. But this time one night had passed, and then another, and Anna had not shown up on Mollie’s front stoop as she usually did, with her long black hair slightly frayed and her dark eyes shining like glass. When Anna came inside, she liked to slip off her shoes, and Mollie missed the comforting sound of her moving, unhurried, through the house. Instead, there was a silence as still as the plains.Mollie had already lost her sister Minnie nearly three years earlier. Her death had come with shocking speed, and though doctors had attributed it to a “peculiar wasting illness,” Mollie harbored doubts: Minnie had been only twenty-­seven and had always been in perfect health.Like their parents, Mollie and her sisters had their names inscribed on the Osage Roll, which meant that they were among the registered members of the tribe. It also meant that they possessed a fortune. In the early 1870s, the Osage had been driven from their lands in Kansas onto a rocky, presumably worthless reservation in northeastern Oklahoma, only to discover, decades later, that this land was sitting above some of the largest oil deposits in the United States. To obtain that oil, prospectors had to pay the Osage for leases and royalties. In the early twentieth century, each person on the tribal roll began receiving a quarterly check. The amount was initially for only a few dollars, but over time, as more oil was tapped, the dividends grew into the hundreds, then the thousands. And virtually every year the payments increased, like the prairie creeks that joined to form the wide, muddy Cimarron, until the tribe members had collectively accumulated millions and millions of dollars. (In 1923 alone, the tribe took in more than $30 million, the equivalent today of more than $400 million.) The Osage were considered the wealthiest people per capita in the world. “Lo and behold!” the New York weekly Outlook exclaimed. “The Indian, instead of starving to death . . . ​enjoys a steady income that turns bankers green with envy.”The public had become transfixed by the tribe’s prosperity, which belied the images of American Indians that could be traced back to the brutal first contact with whites—­the original sin from which the country was born. Reporters tantalized their readers with stories about the “plutocratic Osage” and the “red millionaires,” with their brick-­and-­terra-­cotta mansions and chandeliers, with their diamond rings and fur coats and chauffeured cars. One writer marveled at Osage girls who attended the best boarding schools and wore sumptuous French clothing, as if “une très jolie demoiselle of the Paris boulevards had inadvertently strayed into this little reservation town.”At the same time, reporters seized upon any signs of the traditional Osage way of life, which seemed to stir in the public’s mind visions of “wild” Indians. One article noted a “circle of expensive automobiles surrounding an open campfire, where the bronzed and brightly blanketed owners are cooking meat in the primitive style.” Another documented a party of Osage arriving at a ceremony for their dances in a private airplane—­a scene that “outrivals the ability of the fictionist to portray.” Summing up the public’s attitude toward the Osage, the Washington Star said, “That lament, ‘Lo the poor Indian,’ might appropriately be revised to, ‘Ho, the rich redskin.’ ”Gray Horse was one of the reservation’s older settlements. These outposts—­including Fairfax, a larger, neighboring town of nearly fifteen hundred people, and Pawhuska, the Osage capital, with a population of more than six thousand—­seemed like fevered visions. The streets clamored with cowboys, fortune seekers, bootleggers, soothsayers, medicine men, outlaws, U.S. marshals, New York financiers, and oil magnates. Automobiles sped along paved horse trails, the smell of fuel overwhelming the scent of the prairies. Juries of crows peered down from telephone wires. There were restaurants, advertised as cafés, and opera houses and polo grounds.Although Mollie didn’t spend as lavishly as some of her neighbors did, she had built a beautiful, rambling wooden house in Gray Horse near her family’s old lodge of lashed poles, woven mats, and bark. She owned several cars and had a staff of servants—­the Indians’ pot-­lickers, as many settlers derided these migrant workers. The servants were often black or Mexican, and in the early 1920s a visitor to the reservation expressed contempt at the sight of “even whites” performing “all the menial tasks about the house to which no Osage will stoop.”Mollie was one of the last people to see Anna before she vanished. That day, May 21, Mollie had risen close to dawn, a habit ingrained from when her father used to pray every morning to the sun. She was accustomed to the chorus of meadowlarks and sandpipers and prairie chickens, now overlaid with the pock-­pocking of drills pounding the earth. Unlike many of her friends, who shunned Osage clothing, Mollie wrapped an Indian blanket around her shoulders. She also didn’t style her hair in a flapper bob, and instead let her long, black hair flow over her back, revealing her striking face, with its high cheekbones and big brown eyes.Her husband, Ernest Burkhart, rose with her. A twenty-­eight-­year-­old white man, he had the stock handsomeness of an extra in a Western picture show: short brown hair, slate-­blue eyes, square chin. Only his nose disturbed the portrait; it looked as if it had taken a barroom punch or two. Growing up in Texas, the son of a poor cotton farmer, he’d been enchanted by tales of the Osage Hills—­that vestige of the American frontier where cowboys and Indians were said to still roam. In 1912, at nineteen, he’d packed a bag, like Huck Finn lighting out for the Territory, and gone to live with his uncle, a domineering cattleman named William K. Hale, in Fairfax. “He was not the kind of a man to ask you to do something—­he told you,” Ernest once said of Hale, who became his surrogate father. Though Ernest mostly ran errands for Hale, he sometimes worked as a livery driver, which is how he met Mollie, chauffeuring her around town.Ernest had a tendency to drink moonshine and play Indian stud poker with men of ill repute, but beneath his roughness there seemed to be a tenderness and a trace of insecurity, and Mollie fell in love with him. Born a speaker of Osage, Mollie had learned some English in school; nevertheless, Ernest studied her native language until he could talk with her in it. She suffered from diabetes, and he cared for her when her joints ached and her stomach burned with hunger. After he heard that another man had affections for her, he muttered that he couldn’t live without her. It wasn’t easy for them to marry. Ernest’s roughneck friends ridiculed him for being a “squaw man.” And though Mollie’s three sisters had wed white men, she felt a responsibility to have an arranged Osage marriage, the way her parents had. Still, Mollie, whose family practiced a mixture of Osage and Catholic beliefs, couldn’t understand why God would let her find love, only to then take it away from her. So, in 1917, she and Ernest exchanged rings, vowing to love each other till eternity.By 1921, they had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was two years old, and a son, James, who was eight months old and nicknamed Cowboy. Mollie also tended to her aging mother, Lizzie, who had moved in to the house after Mollie’s father passed away. Because of Mollie’s diabetes, Lizzie once feared that she would die young, and beseeched her other children to take care of her. In truth, Mollie was the one who looked after all of them.May 21 was supposed to be a delightful day for Mollie. She liked to entertain guests and was hosting a small luncheon. After getting dressed, she fed the children. Cowboy often had terrible earaches, and she’d blow in his ears until he stopped crying. Mollie kept her home in meticulous order, and she issued instructions to her servants as the house stirred, everyone bustling about—­except Lizzie, who’d fallen ill and stayed in bed. Mollie asked Ernest to ring Anna and see if, for a change, she’d come over to help tend to Lizzie. Anna, as the oldest child in the family, held a special status in their mother’s eyes, and even though Mollie took care of Lizzie, Anna, in spite of her tempestuousness, was the one her mother spoiled.When Ernest told Anna that her mama needed her, she promised to take a taxi straight there, and she arrived shortly afterward, dressed in bright red shoes, a skirt, and a matching Indian blanket; in her hand was an alligator purse. Before entering, she’d hastily combed her windblown hair and powdered her face. Mollie noticed, however, that her gait was unsteady, her words slurred. Anna was drunk.Mollie couldn’t hide her displeasure. Some of the guests had already arrived. Among them were two of Ernest’s brothers, Bryan and Horace Burkhart, who, lured by black gold, had moved to Osage County, often assisting Hale on his ranch. One of Ernest’s aunts, who spewed racist notions about Indians, was also visiting, and the last thing Mollie needed was for Anna to stir up the old goat.Anna slipped off her shoes and began to make a scene. She took a flask from her bag and opened it, releasing the pungent smell of bootleg whiskey. Insisting that she needed to drain the flask before the authorities caught her—­it was a year into nationwide Prohibition—­she offered the guests a swig of what she called the best white mule.Mollie knew that Anna had been very troubled of late. She’d recently divorced her husband, a settler named Oda Brown, who owned a livery business. Since then, she’d spent more and more time in the reservation’s tumultuous boomtowns, which had sprung up to house and entertain oil workers—­towns like Whizbang, where, it was said, people whizzed all day and banged all night. “All the forces of dissipation and evil are here found,” a U.S. government official reported. “Gambling, drinking, adultery, lying, thieving, murdering.” Anna had become entranced by the places at the dark ends of the streets: the establishments that seemed proper on the exterior but contained hidden rooms filled with glittering bottles of moonshine. One of Anna’s servants later told the authorities that Anna was someone who drank a lot of whiskey and had “very loose morals with white men.”At Mollie’s house, Anna began to flirt with Ernest’s younger brother, Bryan, whom she’d sometimes dated. He was more brooding than Ernest and had inscrutable yellow-­flecked eyes and thinning hair that he wore slicked back. A lawman who knew him described him as a little roustabout. When Bryan asked one of the servants at the luncheon if she’d go to a dance with him that night, Anna said that if he fooled around with another woman, she’d kill him.Meanwhile, Ernest’s aunt was muttering, loud enough for all to hear, about how mortified she was that her nephew had married a redskin. It was easy for Mollie to subtly strike back because as one of the servants attending to the aunt was white—­a blunt reminder of the town’s social order.Anna continued raising Cain. She fought with the guests, fought with her mother, fought with Mollie. “She was drinking and quarreling,” a servant later told authorities. “I couldn’t understand her language, but they were quarreling.” The servant added, “They had an awful time with Anna, and I was afraid.”That evening, Mollie planned to look after her mother, while Ernest took the guests into Fairfax, five miles to the northwest, to meet Hale and see Bringing Up Father, a touring musical about a poor Irish immigrant who wins a million-­dollar sweepstakes and struggles to assimilate into high society. Bryan, who’d put on a cowboy hat, his catlike eyes peering out from under the brim, offered to drop Anna off at her house.Before they left, Mollie washed Anna’s clothes, gave her some food to eat, and made sure that she’d sobered up enough that Mollie could glimpse her sister as her usual self, bright and charming. They lingered together, sharing a moment of calm and reconciliation. Then Anna said good-­bye, a gold filling flashing through her smile.With each passing night, Mollie grew more anxious. Bryan insisted that he’d taken Anna straight home and dropped her off before heading to the show. After the third night, Mollie, in her quiet but forceful way, pressed everyone into action. She dispatched Ernest to check on Anna’s house. Ernest jiggled the knob to her front door—it was locked. From the window, the rooms inside appeared dark and deserted.Ernest stood there alone in the heat. A few days earlier, a cool rain shower had dusted the earth, but afterward the sun’s rays beat down mercilessly through the blackjack trees. This time of year, heat blurred the prairies and made the tall grass creak underfoot. In the distance, through the shimmering light, one could see the skeletal frames of derricks.Anna’s head servant, who lived next door, came out, and Ernest asked her, “Do you know where Anna is?”Before the shower, the servant said, she’d stopped by Anna’s house to close any open windows. “I thought the rain would blow in,” she explained. But the door was locked, and there was no sign of Anna. She was gone.News of her absence coursed through the boomtowns, traveling from porch to porch, from store to store. Fueling the unease were reports that another Osage, Charles Whitehorn, had vanished a week before Anna had. Genial and witty, the thirty-­year-­old Whitehorn was married to a woman who was part white, part Cheyenne. A local newspaper noted that he was “popular among both the whites and the members of his own tribe.” On May 14, he’d left his home, in the southwestern part of the reservation, for Pawhuska. He never returned. Read more <div id="

  • Since the 17th century, the Osage tribe claimed land from Missouri west to the Rockies. With the Louisiana Purchase, the tribe was forced to cede land to accommodate the flood of western expansion. In Chronicle One of Grann’s book, the history of the tribe is laid out. By the 1870’s, what remained of the Osage tribe settled in NE Oklahoma because their chief deemed the land too hilly for white settlers to want to file claims there. The tribe negotiated with the Department of the Interior that any reservation land used for oil drilling or mining, had to be leased from the tribe and that the full blooded Osage would share in any profits from these natural resources. Logs where kept of Osage tribe members and indeed, when oil gushed from leased reservation land, head rights were claimed. The Osage tribe were among the wealthiest people in the country. Starting in 1921, Osage tribal members began to die. Some were shot in the head while others suffered from a mysterious “wasting” disease. Many suspected murder and lived in fear of who might be next.Chronicle Two describes in detail the role of the Bureau of Investigation (the early FBI) to unravel the murders during what became known as “the Reign of Terror.” The Bureau was formed under Teddy Roosevelt in 1909. By 1924, J. Edger Hoover became head of the Bureau. He wanted to highlight the expertise of the Bureau by solving the Osage murders. He hired a former Texas Ranger, Tom White, to lead the investigation. The reader discovers clues along with White as he methodically collects evidence and interrogates witnesses and suspects . This is the most exciting part of the book. Many, but not all of the culprits are brought to justice.How are the Osage doing now? This is the gist of Chronicle Three and it is, unfortunately, the weakest part of the story. Grann checks in with the descendants of some of the murdered Osage. Their sense of unease and lack of justice is palpable. The oil has dried up and the tribal population has diminished. Some press Grann to help them bring closure to the holes in their family histories. But the ancestors are in their graves along with the murderers and the paper trail is weak or inconclusive. As Grann runs out of answers, this reader ran out of interest. It is a compelling and important story up to this point. Now that wind turbines dot the prairie of the Osage reservation, their future seems as bleak as their past and the lack of justice seems as limited as their future. Despite Grann’s extensive notes and lists of resources, the reader is left, like the Osage themselves, with more questions than answers.
  • I loved Grann’s The Lost City of Z so I was eager to try this. Unfortunately, it was drab in its telling. I’m glad I’ve finished it, though. It’s a fascinating & important story, that shows the appalling extent of exploitation that Native Americans endured.The first three quarters of the book are spent in minute details. That was interesting, but too long. That case had little to do with the birth of the FBI, other than it was one of their first (if not the first) investigation and coincided with the rise to power of J Edgar Hoover. The final quarter rushes through the implications and unsolved mysteries of the murders, then the book abruptly ends.In short, far too much detail about one case, then not enough detail about what it all meant and the larger picture.Not terrible, but unlike The Lost City of Z, not great.Larry Nocellaauthor of Razor Wire Karma: a novel, available on Amazon
  • I’ll keep it simple.I’m horrified and ashamed of the atrocities people will commit to gain extra cash in their pockets. This story needed to be told, and it fascinating the amount of detail that went into describing the horrors of that period of time. Certainly a lot of jumping off points into further readings from history.Reads quickly, easily, and is highly thought provoking. Worth the time. I highly recommend it.One aspect that had it been included, would have really helped solidify some of the information is a time line with events and people. There are so many people involved, and so many connections and mysteries, that I was beginning to forget when something happened and who was involved, or how someone was related, or what their role was. Its not that I forgot, but I would love to refer back to that in conversations about the book. I suppose I could have taken notes, but that didn’t occur until later. And so I just leave that as a suggestion. A couple of pages at end of book with a quick who’s who.
  • Well researched and written. Sadly a true story. A testimonial to greed and arrogance. Well worth reading.
  • This book kept putting me to sleep. I usually love non-fiction but this was a yawn. I felt like I was reading a paper written by a college kid (freshman not senior) (community college not Ivy League) with disjointed quotes and references loosely strung together begging for cohesion. I never knew anything about the Osage murders and injustices, so it was eye-opening from that perspective. But the author made zero effort to elicit emotion from the reader and made not attempt to develop a story line or plot, per se. This is literally just a bunch of factoids pulled from old documents strung together and thrown into a book. I think the author bit off way more than he could chew. It’s a shame that the writing quality (or lack thereof) did not do justice to a topic of this magnitude.
  • Bad things happen, and this was certainly a terrible outcome of the era examined. But it would have been more meaningful if approached his subject from the values of that era. Context matters, and the historical analysis would be more helpful if some explanation of the attitudes of the time had been explained. While the author clearly was critical of the private investigation system which prevailed in the 19th century when he wrote of his brief references about Detective Burns, he gave J. Edgar Hoover a free pass! In my opinion, the book was shallow and built upon a preconceived modern opinion of the author, and it shows.
  • Firstly I would state that this is a very well written book – it isn’t till you read such examples you realize what a difference it makes to your overall enjoyment! I did not find it too journalistic like some other reviewers (though David Grann is a staff writer) and the author as the footnotes and Appendices show, has great command of voluminous historic paper data.Secondly, the tale it tells works so well because while it is at heart a 1920s crime story it uses the backdrop of the history of Native Americans and their treatment at the hands of the US government and white settlers to provide a much wider panorama to the events and the crimes. In this case the sudden growth of the domestic US oil industry at the turn of the century, created the situation that one of the largest oil reserves was found on the reservation of the Osage Indian nation in recently established Oklahoma. Ironically the tribe had only ended up there because of being forced off its original tribal lands by the government but had wisely in negotiating its purchase preserved its mineral rights. This quickly led to untold wealth and inevitably attracting interest from numerous white persons keen to acquire a share of the new wealth, given the historic approach in the USA to Native Americans.While the attempts by politicians in Washington, early oil magnates and local business and financiers in such a corruptible frontier environment to acquire personal gain provides the backdrop, the central story is the increasing use of cross marriage and murder to try and inherit family interests and ownership of such wealth which takes up the first two thirds of the book. Add into that mix the foundling National Bureau of Investigation (later to morph into the FBI) under its first appointed head Edgar J. Hoover and a scandal that in 1920s USA could not be tackled by openly corrupt local and state law enforcement was a heaven sent opportunity to prove the new national policing approach.The real hero of the tale is Tom White, originally a Texas Ranger who had recently joined the Bureau and was in retrospect the wise choice by Hoover that by his team’s success helped make the reputation of his Bureau in leading the investigation. Sadly as with all such examples Hoover’s autocratic approach reflected little subsequent gratitude but what moves the story beyond its crime plot is the final third where without giving the details away the proving of a wider conspiracy many years later after events had been forgotten is the real revelation.
  • The Osage Indians lived in Kansas until the 1870s when the government decided that their land was too valuable for them to own, and the Osage Indians were being forced off their land. The Osage Indians were moved to Northeastern Oklahoma on a patch of ground that was deemed worthless – until oil was discovered beneath the reservation land in the 1920s, those dirt scratching Indians became extremely wealthy. The federal government, due to the Osages’ inherent racial weakness, deemed them incapable of managing their own affairs and appointed guardians to manage their affairs, white guardians. Guardians who controlled their money for their own benefit – buying a car for $250, and selling it to their appointed dependee at $1,250 for a healthy profit. However, the tale of greed escalates to one of murder and a devilish plot to murder its womenfolk one by one, in a coldly calculated order, as would gradually bequeath their riches to white speculators in the end by the only viable means: inheritance. And here lies the macabre intimacy that marks this out from other stories of mass killing of American Indians: inheritance, of course, entailed marrying Native women, raising children with them while knowing the plan’s murderous outcome. Every effort is co-ordinated by the wealthy and the institutions of white settlersto hamper investigations until the fledgling FBI steps in.This is a well written – factual but in a flowing narrative, which takes you on a journey of first hand experience of how the First Nation people have been shamefully treated by the American’s and their institutions and legal systems.David Grann has done a wonderful job of investigating these murders. Though some people were incarcerated for the crimes back in the 1920s, the more Grann dug, the more threads he found that led to other guardians who should have been investigated more thoroughly as well.
  • Years ago, back in the Stone Age, I remember seeing a James Stewart movie called “The FBI Story”, and episodic – and somewhat hagiographic – history of J Edgar Hoover’s decades long expansion of the then Justice Department Bureau of Investigation. One of the episodes covered the Bureau’s investigation of the systematic murders of a large number of very rich members of the Osage Nation, a native American tribe living in Oklahoma. At the time, I was sure this was made up. I mean, based on what we hear about the mistreatment and exploitation of the native peoples, whoever heard of a rich Indian?Imagine then, my great surprise when I ran across this book and realized the story was actually true. The Osage were indeed a very wealthy tribe, based on their ownership of mineral rights on their land in Oklahoma which is, if you know your geology, oil country. Since the idea of rich Indians offended the sensibilities of the right-thinking folk in old Oklahoma, there followed a long drawn out campaign to separate the Osage from their money, ultimately culminating (but not actually ending) in at least two dozen savage murders between 1921 and 1925, a period referred to by the Osage as the “reign of terror”.It’s a shocking and almost unknown story, and the full extent of what happened during that period is not fully and publicly known to this day. Grann, a staff writer at the New Yorker, does make a manful attempt to let the light in, and to be fair, he does a good job on that aspect of the case. He covers the background of the terror, how the Osage came to be in the position they were and how local forces conspired to relieve them of what was theirs, by any means. It should be a mesmerizing read, and yet, it isn’t. It’s good, and you’ll finish it, but somehow it doesn’t grip like a book of this nature should. Perhaps it’s the sheer, jaw-dropping extent of the conspiracy against the Osage, requiring the reader to keep track of large numbers of people in their minds. Perhaps it’s the autonomous actions of different groups and individuals which makes for a somewhat incoherent narrative. Whatever it is, I couldn’t go above three stars for this one. Maybe three and a half. A pity, because this is an important story which should be out there, and Grann has done a decent job bringing all the facts to light.
  • I don’t normally read crime books but this was part of a book club and I was interested enough to purchase a copy. I’m glad I did.The book is a mix of crime, who dunnit and history, both of the time in the US and also the development of the FBI. Most of my problem with popular history books, and I would put this book in that genre, is that the author writes with confidence about private conversations and thoughts that they cannot possibly know about. This book keeps that to a minimum as the archives provides lots of information so, while there is a bit of poetic license taken in places, on the whole you do feel like you are reading about the facts rather than the author’s imagination.The actual events desribed are interesting and shocking, particularly when you think about how recently these events took place.I would recommend this book to a lot of different readers as it is well paced and certainly brings out the human drama in these historic events and covers lots of different subject areas.
  • A disturbing and excellent account of the plight of Native Americans who found themselves the unwitting beneficiaries of a financial boom in the 1920 after oil was discovered under the previously barren and worthless reservation they were moved to.It provides some fascinating insight into the early workings of the FBI (not least Hoover’s nascent megalomania) for whom this was a celebrated case and a valuable reminder for folk who thought the persecution of American Indians ended in the late 19th century.
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