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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.

    Book Rating

  • 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.

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  • Mark Trevithick

    "Killer's of the Flower Moon" is the story of the Osage murders in the early 20th Century. It is well researched, unearthing details missed by the many investigative teams, including the fledgling FBI. Tom White, the agent whose persistence, tenacity, and sense of fair play made him a fordable enemy of the many conspirators. In general, this is one more gut wrenching, tragic story of man's evil towards his fellow man, and specifically, against another Indian Tribe, the Osage.

    Book Rating

  • Mark S.

    None of us in our book club were familiar with this piece of history before we read this book. It is horrifying that one segment of humanity reduced another segment of humanity so that it was okay to murder them, and we were never taught this in history class. None of us knew that it was this crime that made the FBI’s reputation. The hero of the story is as good as any western hero that came out of Hollywood. I often tell friends that the history of the west is even more compelling than western fiction. This book is such an example. The narrators did justice to the material. If you want to learn about how the Osage were treated after oil was discovered on their land, what happens when we dehumanize people who are not like us, the true story of a western hero we never heard of and one of the earliest FBI cases, give this book a try.

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  • Lisa D.

    Enjoyed each and every moment.

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  • Anonymous

    narrator a disappointment.

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  • Lynn H.

    A lot of great historical info, I was not aware of the plight of the Osage!

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  • 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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