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Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI Kindle Edition
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‘A magnificent book – a riveting true story of greed, serial murder and racial injustice. David Grann is a terrific journalist, and this is maybe the best thing he’s ever written’ -- Jon Krakauer
‘Killers of the Flower Moon brings shattering resolve to a story that resonates now. As Native Americans fighting to protect resources on the remnants of our lands, we confront the same paternalism, hypocrisy, and greed that destroyed Osage lives and culture in the early 1920's. David Grann has a razor keen instinct for suspense. He shapes outrage into a principled steady insistence that voice be given to the victims and their descendants. He creates deeply human portraits of every character in this drama -- the evil, the just, the innocent, the doomed. Through meticulous detective work, Grann rescues unbearable truth.’ -- Louise Erdrich
‘If Killers of the Flower Moon were a novel, one would marvel at David Grann’s skill in constructing such a taut, driving narrative with so many stunning plot twists. But it is a true story, based on years of meticulous reporting, making the book both a fiercely entertaining mystery story and a wrenching exploration of evil.’ -- Kate Atkinson --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B0112OONZA
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK (20 April 2017)
- Language : English
- File size : 44694 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 354 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 38,977 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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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.
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.
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.
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.