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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

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Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell

9 Hours 5 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

April 2017

Audio Book Summary


'Disturbing and riveting...It will sear your soul.' —Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review


Named a best book of the year by Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR's Maureen Corrigan, NPR's 'On Point,' Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub's 'Ultimate Best Books,' Library Journal, Paste, Kirkus, and Book Browse

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.

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  • Harry L

    Fascinating look at evil and power and shame. The only consolation from the heartbreak is that we live in a different world. For now.

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  • Heather L

    I found the book to be very interesting and eye opening. I am sorry to say that I knew nothing of the Osage murders. The amount of research that must have been done for this book is remarkable.

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  • Margaret G

    Wonderfully written account of the historical events and perspectives. As an Osage tribal member and family who was impacted by these murders, this book was well researched and caught the emotion of the times.

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  • Claudia S

    I liked this book and believe it's a story that needed to be told, and heard. Very interesting, however the author went on a 2 hour long rant about J. Edgar Hoover and how horrible he was, even though the only Osage murders solved were those solved by the FBI.(under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover) If it weren't for this I probably would have given it a four or five. Good book, but the rant bogged it down for quite a while.

    Book Rating

  • Ryan F.

    Incredible story with a great narator. A story everyone should know. These type of stories are the forgotten foundation of this country and is important that all people know how this nation was really built.

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  • Steel_Magnolia

    Absolutely heartbreaking story of how greed and racism destroyed a family and tribe.

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  • Anonymous

    This book started out a little slow. I did not care for the first narrator, and the author was setting up the story with so many characters and facts that it was tough to follow. However, when the second narrator started, I really began to enjoy this book. It was great to learn about the origins of the FBI and how they were dedicated to solving the Osage murders. The third narrator was also really good and I enjoyed hearing about the continued investigation long after the initial one started. Overall very good read...just need to get past the first part.

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  • Rachel D.

    Such an important read.. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this treacherous chapter of American history. Perfectly combines my loves of history, true crime, and social justice. You won’t regret listening!

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  • Nicki R.

    The topic of this book is interesting and well researched. However it is a bit dramatic in parts and the narrators are even more dramatic.

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  • Kristyn L.

    Wow this book was amazing!! I learned so much about the history of the frontier and American Indians in the 20th century. The narrators were fabulous and the story kept me so captivated with suspense I couldn’t stop listening. Even to the last hour I was in awe that this was all true and a part of our horrible unspoken history! I would recommend this to everyone!!

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