Killers of the Flower Moon The Osage murders and the birth of the FBI

David Grann

Large print - 2017

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. --Publisher

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LARGE PRINT/364.15232/Grann
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1st floor LARGE PRINT/364.15232/Grann Due Aug 29, 2022
True crime stories
[New York] : Random House Large Print [2017]
Physical Description
512 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
Main Author
David Grann (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* During the early 1920s, many members of the Osage Indian Nation were murdered, one by one. After being forced from several homelands, the Osage had settled in the late nineteenth century in an unoccupied area of Oklahoma, chosen precisely because it was "rocky, sterile, and utterly unfit for cultivation." No white man would covet this land; Osage people would be happy. Then oil was soon discovered below the Osage territory, speedily attracting prospectors wielding staggering sums and turning many Osage into some of the richest people in the world. Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, 2010) centers this true-crime mystery on Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman who lost several family members as the death tally grew, and Tom White, the former Texas Ranger whom J. Edgar Hoover sent to solve the slippery, attention-grabbing case once and for all. A secondary tale of Hoover's single-minded rise to power as the director of what would become the FBI, his reshaping of the bureau's practices, and his goal to gain prestige for federal investigators provides invaluable historical context. Grann employs you-are-there narrative effects to set readers right in 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. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* There is currently a wave of telling history as it truly was—of reinking erasures and repairing narratives to their less glamorous but more honest selves. This young-reader's adaptation of Grann's adult best-seller fits this trend perfectly. The author not only exposes the covert but systematic murders of Osage Native Americans living in Oklahoma during the 1920s, he overturns stereotypical views of Indigenous communities by highlighting the extreme wealth of the Osage due to their oil-rich land and brings to light the outrageous levels of corruption operating at every level of the white-established government and justice system. It is upsetting, to put it mildly, to see how the Osage were oppressed, swindled, and killed with ease and how the "Osage Reign of Terror" has been blotted from history books. Grann gives these historical figures new life, painting a clear picture of victims and villains alike—aided by many archival photos and an appended "Who's Who" list (bookmark it!)—while maintaining the story's intrigue and suspense. Adding to this is his incorporation of the newly formed FBI's role in cracking the case. Grann also includes an eye-opening section about his experience researching the book, adding yet another perspective to this story and how history is documented. An eye-opening, challenging, and thoroughly sourced saga that will open the door to many necessary conversations. Grades 6-9. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In the 1920s, members of Oklahoma's Osage Indian nation were the world's richest people per capita, for oil had been discovered beneath their land. Then they began dying mysteriously in what proved to be a test for the newly formed FBI. A story both chilling and shameful; from author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling The Lost City of Z.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In the 1870s, the Osage Indians were herded onto a small tract of land in Oklahoma—land that unexpectedly held vast reserves of oil, rendering the tribe incredibly rich overnight. By law, the Osage had mineral rights outright, although they were still treated like children, requiring a white "guardian" to manage their assets. In 1921, there was a sudden upsurge in deaths of the Osage on the reservation—accidents, bad whiskey, and outright murder. Author Grann (The Lost City of Z) writes of these crimes, where at least 18 Osage and three nontribe members met suspicious deaths by 1925, many of them members of the same family. The Osage pleaded for the federal government to help, and J. Edgar Hoover, head of the fledgling FBI, sent agent Tom White to investigate. White discovered that many of the victims were connected to a single man, an upstanding community leader who stood to profit handsomely from the murders. The long, drawn out investigation finally resulted in convictions and good publicity for the agency, but some unanswered questions remain. VERDICT A spellbinding book about the largest serial murder investigation you've never heard of, which will be enjoyed by fans of the Old West as well as true crime aficionados. [See Prepub Alert, 10/17/16.]—Deirdre Bray Root, MidPointe Lib. Syst., OH Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Lost City of Z) burnishes his reputation as a brilliant storyteller in this gripping true-crime narrative, which revisits a baffling and frightening—and relatively unknown—spree of murders occurring mostly in Oklahoma during the 1920s. From 1921 to 1926, at least two dozen people were murdered by a killer or killers apparently targeting members of the Osage Indian Nation, who at the time were considered "the wealthiest people per capita in the world" thanks to the discovery of oil beneath their lands. The violent campaign of terror is believed to have begun with the 1921 disappearance of two Osage Indians, Charles Whitehorn and Anna Brown, and the discovery of their corpses soon afterwards, followed by many other murders in the next five years. The outcry over the killings led to the involvement in 1925 of an "obscure" branch of the Justice Department, J. Edgar Hoover's Bureau of Investigation, which eventually charged some surprising figures with the murders. Grann demonstrates how the Osage Murders inquiry helped Hoover to make the case for a "national, more professional, scientifically skilled" police force. Grann's own dogged detective work reveals another layer to the case that Hoover's men had never exposed. Agents: Kathy Robbins and David Halpern, Robbins Office. (Apr.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

In 1920s Oklahoma, many members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation were dying untimely and suspicious deaths. The widespread crimes against the Osage and the inability to identify those responsible led to the establishment of what is now known as the FBI. Grann, author of the best-selling The Lost City of Z, makes a complex web of violence and deception easy to follow by keeping the focus on one Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, whose family members were murdered one by one. This gripping title uncovers a baffling level of corruption. The author points his investigative lens at the perpetrators of the murders, reveals cover-ups by authorities all the way up to the national level, and illustrates that the deception continued almost a century later. There are plenty of curriculum connections: Native American and Osage tribal history, economics, law enforcement, and journalism. A varied selection of photographs help to set the scene for readers. End pages include comprehensive source notes, citations, and a bibliography. VERDICT This thoroughly researched, suspenseful exposé will appeal to followers of true crime programs such as the podcast Serial and the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, as well as to fans of Louise Erdrich's The Round House.—Tara Kehoe, formerly at New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center, Trenton Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—A young readers treatment that is just as imperative and enthralling as its parent text. Celebrated journalist Grann unfolds an account of terrible fascination and poignancy, illuminating a darkened corner of American history while throwing the shadowed sins of the past into stark relief. In the prosperous days of the 1920s, the Osage Nation of Oklahoma found itself sitting atop a treasure trove of "black gold" in the form of oil reserves. This "underground reservation" led the American Indians of this area to amass vast quantities of wealth—and to attract the fatal attentions of those who sought to gain control of that wealth by any means necessary. The narrative reads like a masterful mystery and epic tragedy all in one, with Grann as the thorough investigator who reports all the facts while underlining the lived humanity of every moment. Comparing the original text to this young reader's edition, the modifications are deftly handled. A scene containing an autopsy, for example, excises the graphic details without losing a trace of the information most valuable to the story. This standard is upheld throughout. This version also contains helpful appendices, including a "who's who" of notable figures as well as a glossary. The foreword by Dennis McAuliffe, Jr. sadly divulges some of Grann's most shocking revelations far ahead of their appearances. Regardless, this version and any other remains an essential read. VERDICT A must-buy for being just the kind of absorbing, gut-wrenching work of narrative nonfiction that readers will breathlessly page through to the conclusion.—Jose Cruz, Shannon Staub P.L., North Port, FL Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The best-selling author of The Lost City of Z presents a true account of the early 20th-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. (true crime). Simultaneous.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

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. --Publisher

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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.Look for David Grann’s new book, The Wager, coming in April 2023!