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

About three months ago, I was tuning in to the local NPR station and I caught a small portion of an interview with journalist and author, David Grann. There was discussion of a conspiracy against the Osage people, a Native American tribe. Honestly, I had never heard of them and I remember being appalled at my ignorance during the portion of the NPR interview. There was discussion of cover-up, murder, embezzlement and more.

I literally made it my mission to get my hands on a copy of David Grann’s most recent book, entitled Killers of the Flower Moon, because I was so engrossed in the short blurb I had heard that I wanted to know more.

I went to my local library to see if they had a copy and to my delight, they did! Unfortunately I was third in line to reserve the book, but that was fine, I was willing to wait.

When I got the call to check out the book, I started reading and I found it hard to put it down. I finished the book in about three days (or nights as that is really the only time I find to read anything…while the Honey Badger is sleeping).

I was equally appalled at the end of the book as to the plight of these beautiful people during the history of our young nation. They were literally treated like animals and systematically murdered one by one in quite horrific ways.

I will say that my public school education was by and large wonderful in many respects, but did a rather poor job in including education curricula on Native Americans, and what was included, if any, was watered down in such a pathetic manner. However, I will also take responsibility and say that I never chose to educate myself on the subject, either.

The story itself is centered around a particular Osage family and more specifically Mollie Burkhart. After being pushed off their land, twice, the Osage ended up settling in a portion of Oklahoma, which was discovered after their resettlement of large quantities of petrol/oil. The Federal Government required that any full-blodded Osage had to have a “white man” as an appointed trustee to ensure the handling of the unexpected monetary windfall. The government deemed the Osage and other full-blooded Native Americans to be lower than human and therefore too stupid to handle so much money (these are not my words but a paraphrase of actual quotes of those during that era…these are documented in the book with references and sources).

I don’t want to spoil too much of the story line, because if you read this book, and I truly hope that you do, you will discover a complete cover-up by our country unlike anything you can imagine.

In fact I enjoyed the author’s writing style and story-telling of factual details so much that I decided to read his two his other books: “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” and “The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession.” Both books were wonderful and easy page-turners, however, I truly enjoyed Grann’s non-fiction work about the Osage and Mollie Burkhart.

If you are able to take the time to read his works, I would love to hear your thoughts on this book or any of his other works. I hope that you find a little enlightenment from Grann’s stories like I did.

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